Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is sitting pretty with strong graphics card sales and better than expected sales of its lightweight, power efficient fusion CPU+GPU systems on a chip (SoC). The company is now profitable after years in the red.
Looking to continue its success, AMD previewed [press release] "Scorpius" at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) in Los Angeles. Scorpius is AMD's answer for the high-end gaming market.
The design will feature an octacore, unlocked Zambezi processor dubbed "FX", reviving AMD's old enthusiast CPU branding. Zambezi, codenamed after a river in Africa, is AMD's high performance 32 nm SOI process upcoming desktop CPU based on the company's new Bulldozer architecture.
The new platform will also feature a Radeon 6xxx HD graphics card from AMD and an AMD 9-series chipset motherboard (socket AM3).
Leslie Sobon, AMD's vice president of worldwide product marketing, comments, "AMD’s FX brand will enable an over-the-top experience for PC enthusiasts. By combining an unlocked, native eight-core processor, the latest in chipset technology, and AMD’s latest graphics cards, FX customers will enjoy an unrivalled feature set and amazing control over their PC’s performance."
The obvious competitor of Scorpius will be Intel Corp.'s (INTC) Sandy Bridge, possibly paired with GeForce 5xx series GPUs from NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA). With eight physical cores, Scorpius will arguably have the edge over single-socket Intel designs, though, which currently only feature four cores (eight threads). Intel will bump its core count to six cores in the near future, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough.
Performance numbers on Bulldozer are still lacking, so it remains to be seen exactly how powerful this octacore gaming rig will be.
One thing that may excite some is AMD's growing array of HD3D partners. HD3D, AMD's proprietary 3D technology works fully with the company's EyeFinity firmware, which supports up to six displays driven by a single graphics card.
AMD claims over 400 current and upcoming titles support the 3D gaming tech, including, Eidos Montreal's upcoming "Deus Ex: Human Revolution", Bioware's "Dragon Age II", Creative Assembly's "SHOGUN 2: Total War", and Codemasters' "DiRT 3."
Regardless of who comes out on top performance wise, it's refreshing to see a reinvigorated AMD challenging both Intel and NVIDIA in the CPU and GPU sectors. A competitive market should push all three PC hardware makers to quicken the release of powerful new hardware that will delight PC gamers and enthusiasts -- few as they may be, these days.