The Dragon platform is aimed at enthusiasts and gamers, and combines new Phenom II quad-core processors with AMD's 790 chipset and support for up to four ATI Radeon 4800 series graphics cards.
Available initially as the Phenom II X4 940 at 3GHz and the 920 at 2.8GHz, the new quad-core design is the highest performance processor ever launched by AMD, according to the firm's vice president of worldwide product marketing, Leslie Sobon.
Dragon offers "better multi-tasking, better visuals and better power efficiency", Sobon said, with the Phenom II capable of delivering more instructions per clock at half the idle power consumption of earlier chips.
The processors will also feature in a new business desktop platform codenamed Kodiak due in the second half of 2009, which will add greater manageability and power efficiency.
Previously codenamed Deneb, the Phenom II chips feature a unified 6MB L3 cache plus a 512KB L2 cache dedicated to each core and support for DDR2 memory up to 1066MHz.
In the Dragon platform, the Phenom II chips fit into AMD's AM2+ socket infrastructure, but a planned transition to the AM3 socket later in the first quarter of 2009 will add support for DDR3 memory up to 1,333MHz, AMD said.
However, while rival chipmaker Intel already markets chips that support the faster DDR3 memory, Sobon questioned whether consumers would be better off beefing up other areas of the system first. "Is your money better spent on DDR3, or on buying a better GPU?" she commented.
AMD also said that the Phenom II is backwards-compatible with the earlier Spider gaming platform, so that anyone who bought such a system can simply drop in a Phenom II to get a performance upgrade.
To coincide with the AM3 launch, AMD said it will release a new version of its Overdrive utility, designed to make it easier for enthusiasts to overclock and tweak the performance of their system.
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