Semiconductor manufacturer AMD today demonstrated its upcoming Phenom processor at its 2007 Technology Analyst Day. At the event, Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of the graphics product group, showcased a 3GHz Phenom FX system running three Radeon HD 2900 XT GPUs on the RD790 chipset.
Phenom will be the first consumer processor line based on AMD's new K10 microarchitecture technology, and will replace the long-lived Athlon as AMD's high-performance processor brand. AMD will keep the Athlon brand for its mainstream processor lineup, but Phenom will become the choice for gamers.
Current AMD desktop platforms can only support up to two video cards in CrossFire configuration, but the upcoming RD790 chipset will be able to support up to four cards in CrossFire as demonstrated by Bergman's three-GPU Phenom FX system.
AMD expects to ship the first Phenom processors in the second half of the year. Phenom processors will use the same X2 and X4 suffixes used in the Athlon line to differentiate between dual- and quad-core processor variants, and the flagship FX moniker will move over to the top-performing Phenom processor.
AMD hasn't announced pricing yet, but representatives have indicated that the Phenom will be an exceptional price/performance processor, which likely means that prices will be affordable. The Phenom FX will almost certainly be less expensive than past Athlon FX processors that typically debuted at $1,000. According to Ian McNaughton, product manager for the FX processor line, "the days of the $1,000 processor are over."