3GHz desktop quad-core processor shown by AMD

Despite the 3GHz demo, AMD's Phenom quad-core chip is expected to launch at just 2.4GHz

AMD has demonstrated its upcoming Phenom X4 quad-core desktop CPU running at 3GHz to journalists in the US. AMD showed the Phenom X4 CPU operating at 3GHz courtesy of a standard AMD heatsink. The move was clearly designed to distract attention from the success of Intel's new 3GHz quad-core desktop chip. AMD's key rival Intel released its first 3GHz quad-core desktop processor earlier this month.

However, the jury remains out on exactly how well Phenom will perform. The demo did not include benchmarks or comparative performance figures.

AMD recently announced that its first quad-core server and workstation CPU, known as Barcelona , will only hit 2GHz at launch later in August. It's therefore likely the demonstration was also intended to reassure journalists and investors that AMD's quad-core processor will eventually be capable of scaling to more competitive clockspeeds.

3.0GHz Phenom processors

But it's also worth noting that the first Phenom chips will not hit 3GHz when they appear towards the end of 2007. In fact, the latest leaked AMD roadmaps suggest Phenom is expected to be released with a maximum frequency of 2.4GHz.

3.0GHz Phenom processors, meanwhile, are not due to arrive until mid 2008. By then Intel will no doubt have raised the bar even further.

The Phenom CPU is based on essentially the same 65nm quad-core CPU die as AMD's long-awaited Barcelona server and workstation chip. It therefore boasts a similarly enhanced feature set, including 2MB of shared cache memory, a big boost in floating point performance and improved power management.

Phenom X4 processors will be backwards compatible with many existing Socket AM2 PC motherboards.