The Inquirer has picked up the news that AMD will be developing a three-core processor.
Bizarre as it may sound, AMD may be developing it simply because it is something that Intel is not able to do. Bear in mind that unlike AMD's separate cores, the current generation of Intel's quad-core processors are really two dual-core clobbered together.
AMD is probably doing this for two reasons; the lesser being salvage, the more important one being that Intel can't do it. Intel would have a far harder time making a tri-core part until Nehalem next September - it is easy to fuse off a core, far harder to MCM disparate cores.
... This will allow AMD to come out with a lot of mid-range SKUs, having a complete 1-4 core range servicing every market. It also allows for complete market differentiation with a year or so's window into a place where Intel is not.
Another advantage is on the thermal side, since three cores obviously generate less heat than four cores. Given how few games use a second core fully, this might actually be a real win.