AMD Tri-Core Drama

Ever since AMD has announced its tri-core, most of the drama has been around the fact that it is most likely a defective quad-core, with one disabled unit. It is obvious that it would save AMD money to resell chips that would otherwise go to the trash bin andthis might be a hint that AMD’s yields (the percentage of functional chips manufactured) aren’t that good compared to Intel, but quite frankly, selling partially functional parts it’s not new: Intel did this successfully with the 486 SX (a 486 CPU with the math co-processor disabled). Memory makers also build redundancy in their chips. The end goal is to improve the yields.

Now, should anyone expect AMD to come forward and beg for mercy for selling chips with a disabled core? I don’t think so. Branding it as “The AMD Three-Core Processor. It’s a Quad-Core, only broken” processor would be plain stupid from AMD’s part – nobody wantsto buy something with“broken” in it. If they did that, they might as well shoot themselves in the head.

The word “broken” here is confusing at best – the processor is fully functional, simply slower.What matters is the value that consumers get per dollar spent and if a Tri-Core creates a new market segment that is decently priced, it’s not bad. There’s no need for additional drama.

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