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AMD takes gaming market offroad with 4x4

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--AMD on Thursday announced a new setup for PC gamers that combines two dual-core processors and two graphics processors, which should keep plenty of processing power supplied to even the most demanding games.

The "4x4" platform combines two dual-core Athlon 64 FX processors and connects them through a PCI Express link to dual graphics cards. The platform will work with either ATI's Crossfire or Nvidia's SLI graphics technology, Phil Hester, AMD's chief technology officer, said during the company's analyst day. It will also support AMD's quad-core desktop chips when those are released in 2007.

Pricing and availability were not disclosed, but this thing won't be cheap. Chipmakers and PC vendors don't sell very many of these types of configurations, but they help attract influential PC gamers. AMD enjoys an advantage over Intel in the gaming community, and "they need to protect that territory," said Richard Shim, an analyst with IDC.