Wednesday, 29 August 2012

AMD Turbo CORE Technology on Phenom II X6 CPUs

AMD Turbo Core Technology Introduction

AMD Turbo CORE Technology

This morning we got word from AMD that they would be announcing some more details on AMD Turbo CORE technology, which will be found on select AMD Phenom II Processors. With the AMD Phenom II X6 processor series launching later this month we wanted to cover this new technology as all AMD six-core 'Thuban' processors will use Turbo CORE technology.

AMD Turbo CORE Technology

AMD Turbo Core technology was explained to LR in four marketing slides, so we have included them for you to look at and we will use them to briefly go over the new technology.  For starters Turbo Core sounds like an answer to Intel's Turbo Boost technology that was introduced with the Nehalem processor series. AMD's Turbo CORE is automatically enabled by default and should work on all AMD AM3 capable motherboards after a BIOS update. The BIOS update is needed as obviously the settings for this technology were not available when Socket AM3 motherboards came out.

AMD Turbo CORE Technology

AMD's Turbo CORE is enabled on a six-core processor when three or more cores are not being heavily used. When Turbo CORE enables three of the processor cores get up to a 500MHz boost in performance, while the three at an idle state drop down to 800MHz. Turbo core mode doesn't disable Cool'n"Quiet, which means the cores can still throttle like normal. When Turbo CORE is enabled the increased voltage goes across all the cores, so no voltage gating is taking place on the remaining cores in an idle state.  If you start using a multi-threaded application that calls for more than three physical processors then Turbo CORE disables and all six cores are run at the processors rated clock frequency. AMD informed us that running Turbo CORE keeps the processor within the advertised power envelope the entire time, so it is no different when it comes to power consumption than running all six cores at full clock speeds.

AMD Turbo CORE Technology

The Turbo CORE technology is based off power use and you can see the sequence of performance transitions in the chart above.

AMD Turbo CORE Technology

AMD's Turbo CORE technology is a step in the right direction from what we can tell from these slides and should improve consumers computing experience by increasing performance when lightly using your system. The Turbo CORE technology is handled by the CPU and is all done automatically, so there is no extra work that needs to be done be the end user to use this feature on a daily basis. Below is a table of the rumored upcoming parts from AMD that we complied with information we found online.

AMD Phenom II X6 Processor Lineup
CPU Clock Speed Turbo Clock L3 Cache TDP Price
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2GHz 3.6GHz 6MB 125W ~$295
AMD Phenom II X6 1075T 3.0GHz 3.5GHz 6MB 125W -
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz 3.3GHz 6MB 125W/95W ~$199
AMD Phenom II X6 1035T 2.6GHz 3.1GHz 6MB 95W -
AMD Phenom II X4 960T 3.0GHz 3.4GHz 6MB 95W -

 AMD's Phenom II X6 'Thuban' processors look like they will be interesting when they launch later this month and that they will benefit from a 400MHz to 500MHz boost in performance thanks to Turbo CORE technology.  It will be interesting to see how they do against the Intel Core i5/i7 processors! At the ~$295 price point the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition will be squared off against Intel's Core i7-930 processor that comes with Assassin's Creed II PC game for $289.99 shipped.

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