Not surprisingly, AMD is preparing a desktop version of its Istanbul six-core server CPU. Istanbul is an extension of the Shanghai 45nm core, and includes the same 6MB L3 cache as with the quad core versions. Due to six cores, the total L2 cache is 3MB. Codenamed “Thuban” which means Dragon in Arabic (possibly a nod to Abu Dhabi government’s investment in Globalfoundries), the desktop six-core is expected to be branded AMD Phenom II X6 and manufactured on the same 45nm SOI process as the current AMD Phenom II processors.

Thuban is expected to arrive with the Leo platform as previously reported. Thus, it might release in the late Q2 ’10 timeframe.

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Not surprisingly, AMD is preparing a desktop version of its Istanbul
six-core server CPU. Istanbul is an extension of the Shanghai 45nm core,
and includes the same 6MB L3 cache as with the quad core versions. Due
to six cores, the total L2 cache is 3MB. Codenamed “Thuban” which means
Dragon in Arabic (possibly a nod to Abu Dhabi government’s investment in
Globalfoundries), the desktop six-core is expected to be branded AMD
Phenom II X6 and manufactured on the same 45nm SOI process, fitting the AM3 socket, as the
current AMD Phenom II processors.

Thuban is expected to arrive with the Leo
platform as previously reported.
Thus, it might release in the late
Q2 ’10 timeframe.

What is surprising, however, is that AMD is waiting an entire year to unveil the desktop version of its six-core, considering the server versions have been selling since June 09. In fact, AMD will have 8/12 core server CPUs out before desktop hits 6 cores. Thus far, AMD have held a competitive position on a price/performance scale against Intel, but the arrival of Lynnfield Core i5/i7 will surely shake up the mainstream/performance CPU market. Perhaps AMD is waiting for DirectX 11’s multithreading optimizations, and further developments and support for multithreaded applications, which might give its 6 cores an edge against Intel’s 4 cores.

Intel is also preparing its 32nm six-core CPU, codenamed “Gulftown”, expected to be branded Core i9. It will release in the Q2 ’09 timeframe as well. However, Thuban will surely lose to Gulftown on performance – which will be monopolizing the enthusiast segment. Thuban is expected to compete against Core i5/i7 CPUs.

While this rumour was not confirmed by AMD, it seems inevitable, considering AMD has virtually no new products till the next-generation architecture Bulldozer in 2011.

Reference: Xbitlabs