AMD's six-core Phenom II X6 CPUs will underclock three cores and automatically overclock the other three

AMD's six-core Phenom II X6 CPUs will underclock three cores and automatically overclock the other three

Summary: More details have emerged about how AMD's forthcoming six-core desktop CPUs, the Phenom II X6 lineup (a.k.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Processors, Hardware
10

More details have emerged about how AMD's forthcoming six-core desktop CPUs, the Phenom II X6 lineup (a.k.a. Thuban), plan to handle all that processing power when most applications still can't make use of four cores.

The chip company has devised what it calls Turbo Core technology, which will overclock the remaining cores by 400MHz to 500MHz when it detects that three or more are idle. In order to get that boost, the idle cores will be reduced to just 800MHz (from 2.6GHz-3.2GHz, depending on the specific processor, according to AnandTech). If those cores aren't idle, the six cores will operate at their standard frequencies. Turbo Core is designed to keep the processor running within its thermal design power limits (125 watts or 95 watts, depending on the processor). Turbo Core is AMD's answer to Intel's Turbo Boost, which offers a somewhat different solution for providing auto-overclocking when it's needed most.

Current AM3 and AM2+ motherboards will support these new CPUs, though they may need a BIOS update. We still don't know basics like pricing and availability (though the end of April is a rumored date) for the Phenom II X6 parts, though they'll probably cost far less than Intel's $999 hexa-core Core i7 980X Extreme Edition. Whether they'll perform as well with features like Turbo Core will be the subject of much scrutiny from Intel and AMD fanboys alike.

Topics: Processors, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

10 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Windows kernel update?

    Windows (Vista and 7, and possibly even XP) attempts to keep running threads in all cores to enhance performance.

    This may have the undesired effect of rapid up/down shifting of a Turbo Core processor for menial tasks that could be more efficiently handled concurrently within active cores running at higher clock speeds.

    For many background tasks the latency involved in the up/down shifting process will outweigh the multitasking cost within the three active cores.

    Performance programmers need the ability to forcibly idle three of the cores when they see fit. Otherwise Turbo Core will not be fully utilized and overall system performance will be less than optimal for applications that fit within three cores.
    Programmer1028
  • Bring on the competition

    I hope this dramatically reduces Intel's prices. I need a 980 but I ain't paying $1k.
    tlwalker1962@...
  • RE: AMD's six-core Phenom II X6 CPUs will underclock three cores and automatically overclock the other three

    So this is a processor that goes out of it's normal duties to maintain and adjust a separate and self focused functionally? Folly.
    TruXter
  • RE: AMD's six-core Phenom II X6 CPUs will underclock three cores and automatically overclock the other three

    They probably melt boards at wafer probe too...;-)
    dca@...
  • 40 years on.....

    and when i went to post, I was required to log in and on return, the entire message had been lost.

    I'll just say the multiprocessor architecture/parallel processing problem has been around a long time, and dodsn't look any closer to a solution.

    A tiny MHz boost to the busy processor (and there usually is only one) is not a solution to all the idle cores. It' a band aid at best.

    The big difference now is the sheer number of multiprocessor systems in use. Now there is a real need for a parallel processing paradigm, and until then multiprocessor systems will remain little more than a con, and of no benefit to most people. Most would be better off with one really fast core than any number of slower cores.
    redking44
    • You Never Read The Article, You Never Came To This Site

      Are you crazy? Are you trying to destroy the
      world's economy? If people knew they didn't
      need multiple cores, the entire industry would
      collapse. We can't make these singles cores
      much faster. Multi-core is are only solution
      to convince people to buy new computers until
      we switch to an entirely different paradigm or
      have some amazing physics breakthrough. You
      sir are worse than the banks. Now delete your
      post and pretend you were never here. :)
      StupidTechZealots-23432415690276115908309621553360
    • Not quite true

      While I agree that software lags behind the hardware, to state that it is a waste to have a multicore processor is simply not true. I am typing this on a quad core system running Vista Business 64 bit, and I regularly see all four of my cores in use. My old machine was a single core P4 running at a higher clock rate, yet this system easily runs circles around the old one.

      Current desktop software may not be very well optimized for multiple cores (that will come with time), but to state that there is no benefit does not fit the facts.
      itpro_z
      • Not so fast....

        While your new box runs circles around the old
        one, it may be due to more and faster memory,
        faster hard drives, and faster buss speeds as well
        as the multi-cores.
        FXEF
    • NOT TRUE

      Its called multitasking. Just because not all programs can take advantage of one car doesnt matter. I do alot of things on my machine at one time. If they were all using all the cores, then the computer would be slow, just like it was in the days of single core CPU's. Because every core is bombarded with shit from every process. The way it is now, its very easy to multitask with multiple heavy processes because each one can just use one core.
      Jimster480
  • Why Mandate?

    As stated here http://truxtertech.com/news/2010/04/10/amd-new-six-core-cpu/ on tech news site, why does Amd not leaves the processors at their default readings and leave it up to us to over/underclock them as we feel?

    I mean that's what got AMD famous anyway. Right>?
    TruXter