updated 08:30 am EST, Mon November 19, 2007
AMD Phenom and Spider Ship
AMD today began shipping its Spider platform, a combination of a processor and chipset that it hopes will sway gamers from Intel. The architecture earns its nickname through the multi-core approach to processors and graphics allowed by the company's new 7-series chipset: an increased bandwidth of up to 14.4GB per second allows it to support both the four-core Phenom 9000-series processor and the company's new CrossFireX technology found in the Radeon HD 3800 line. With the extra speed of the 7-series chipset and PCI Express 2.0, up to four of the cards can be used at once to greatly improve 3D performance, AMD claims.
The platform has the side benefit of being particularly energy-efficient and draws just 32W of power on average for a complete system with a Phenom processor, Radeon HD 3850 video card, and every other essential component. Experienced users also have readily-made overclocking utilities to push the clock speed of the main CPU past its warranty-supported rating.
All of the Spider platform should be available today from online vendoers. The price of the 7-series chipset on a finished mainboard varies depending on the third-party vendor's equipment level. The Phenom line is currently available in 2.2GHz (Phenom 9500) and 2.3GHz (9600) models for $251 and $283 respectively in batches of 1,000 for system vendors; the Radeon HD 3800 line varies between $179 and $219 depending on the model and built-in memory.
Phenom 9000-series CPU