AMD launches high-end gaming platform

AMD launches high-end gaming platform

Spider guns for 'enthusiast' users with four graphics cards

AMD unveiled a new platform designed for high-end consumers and serious gamers.

The Spider platform incorporates AMD's Phenom processor, its 7-series chipset, and up to four high-end ATI Radeon HD 3800 graphics cards.

The result, claims the company, is "the most sophisticated multi-GPU enthusiast platform ever."

The Spider platform allows motherboard and system manufacturers to combine the processor, chipset and cards on a board and maintain an adequate level of cooling. In doing so, AMD has made it easier for system-builders to construct a reliable high-end system with its components.

Insight 64 principal analyst Nathan Brookwood said that the graphics capacity of the platform was especially impressive.

"As far as I know, this is the only off-the-shelf platform that can accommodate 4 PCI graphics cards," he said.

Brookwood explained that normally Windows Vista supports just two graphics cards. ATI, however, has been able to configure their drivers to reliably run four cards on the operating system.

The analyst notes that the ability to easily integrate four cards could give AMD an advantage over rival Intel. While Intel maintains an advantage in clock speed, the extra graphics power will satisfy the needs of all but the most demanding users, said Brookwood.

Still, amongst serious gamers who pay close attention to clock speeds, Intel remains ahead.

"Intel still has an advantage on the classic compute-intensive games," said Brookwood.

"If AMD really wants to beat Intel in benchmarks, they have their work cut out for them."