Hot off the back of the recent Barcelona launch, AMD's singing about its up-coming desktop line of Phenom processors. The company has said it will be bringing a three-core version to the market early 2008.
Yes, that's right, an odd*, prime number of cores will be coming to a desktop near you, next year.
So what's a three-core CPU good for? Well, when four's too much and two ain't enough, would be the obvious answer.
AMD's reasoning, of course, is a little more detailed than that.
The company cites a Mercury Research paper in which it is said quad-core CPUs only accounted for 2% of desktop CPU shipments in Q2 2007. AMD reckons "this suggests a need for greater choice and wider selection of multi-core solutions".
The 65nm based chips will contain three cores on the same die - a point AMD is pushing as an advantage over some of Intel's "multiple die on a package" chips. They'll sit on the proven Hyper Transport interconnect and have access to an on-die DDR-2 controller, much like current offerings.
Beating the triple-core Phenom's out of the gate, however, will be their quad-core brethren, AMD saying it's still on target to get that particular variant out of the door this year.
Any number of cores greater than 1 will give a boost in multitasking, multithreaded scenarios, and with an increasing number of apps getting better at the latter, the increased granularity in "number of cores offered" amongst SKUs could be a win for AMD, particularly when shooting for particular price points.
Expect larger prime numbers of cores, along with CPUs that have cores divisible by zero, or are expressible as the sum of two primes, in the coming months.
*Not odd as in strange, but odd as in not exactly divisible by 2. Reason being, of course - as some of the HEXUS.community pedants pointed out - is that 2 is a prime number, but the only even prime, so we had to add in that little condition.