Part of AMD's multi-core Phenom blast today is the Phenom X3 8000, "the world's only triple-core x86 processor," which we heard about a few months ago. They're supposed to bargain chips for budget consumers, but they're a nicer bargain for AMD, actually, since it lets them dump bug-plagued quad-core Phenomsby disabling a core. But if performance is your top concern, you might want to steer clear of the whole Phenom batch anyway. We're still waiting for AMD's 45nm chippies, personally. [Hard OCP, Anandtech]
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I think the real question is, if they sold a quad core and only three cores were working, would anyone but uber-geeks notice?