AMD is planning to create a desktop implementation of its Opteron "Istanbul" monolithic six-core processor. Codenamed "Thuban" (named after a star in the Draco constellation, which means Dragon), the new processor will be based on the socket AM3 package for compatibility with existing and future desktop core logic. It features six cores, 9 MB of total cache (6 x 512 KB L2 + 6 MB L3). Thuban is aimed to make for AMD's high-end desktop processor, as the company prepares to face competition from a near-complete lineup of processors based on the Nehalem/Westmere architectures from Intel. It is expected to be the posterboy for AMD's "Leo" high-end consumer desktop platform that succeeds its current Dragon platform.
Some of the key components that make up AMD Leo platform are the upcoming AMD 890FX and 890GX chipset, companion SB800 series southbridge chips, and members of AMD's Evergreen family of DirectX 11 compliant graphics processors. On the software front, AMD will give its Fusion and Overdrive utilities some big updates. The SB800 series southbridge chips will feature native support for SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0; connectivity is further enhanced by integrated Broadcom MAC Ethernet interfaces. While the Leo platform is expected to launch almost simultaneously with the 8-series chipsets, the six-core Thuban processor on the other hand comes later. It is due only in Q3 2010. Thuban will have come out an year after its enterprise implementation in the form of Opteron "Istanbul".