While we await the forthcoming $99 Opteron 4000 Quadcore processor, AMD has whet our appetite with the cheapest six-core desktop processor currently on the market.
The Phenom II X6 1055T runs at 2.8GHz and costs $199 while its faster brother, the 1090T is clocked at 3.2GHz and costs $295. Intel's equivalent model, the Core i7-980X Extreme can be had for a whopping $999 although it is clocked at 3.33GHz and comes with more cache.
Both chips come with a TDP of 125W and include 3MB of L2 cache, 6MB of L3 cache and run on AMD's own 4GHz Hypertransport bus; in addition, they integrate the Turbocore technology that allows the processors to overclock dynamically by up to 500MHz.
AMD says that the chips will run best with AMD's own 890FX chipset, as part of the Leo Platform, and will be compatible with any AMD AM3 socket motherboard. The first benchmarks show that AMD's offerings are significantly slower than Intel's top end offer.
Whether customers are ready to pay three times extra to get 40 percent more performance is something that remains to be seen. Indeed, AMD seems to have pitted its six core processors against the Intel i5-661 and the i7-930 instead.
Surprisingly, the 1055T is already in stock at popular online retailer Aria where there are currently 16 on sale for £154, complete with three year warranty while the 1090T Black Edition costs a mere £228. In comparison, Aria sells the Intel i7 980X on its own for £817.
Intel is very unlikely to come up with a cut-down version of its six-core processor to match AMD's since it would erode its own margins and compete with dual and quad core processors. For AMD, it's a different game altogether.