We'll start with the fastest processor and then work our way down. Armed with a 3.0 GHz base clock frequency that can Turbo to 3.5 GHz, today a new six-core processor is launched. It is AMD's 3rd six-core processor that sits in-between the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T and AMD Phenom II X6 1055T.
AMD really pushes the 45nm node to manufacture the newer model Phenom II X6 processors. When the original Phenom processors launched, first up was the transition from 65nm towards 45nm, if you look at this from a distance it pretty much means that they were able to make this processor smaller compared to the first generation Phenom (I) products. And that has advantages, often to be found in lower voltages and higher clock frequencies.
The flagship AMD processor product right now remains the Phenom II X6 1090T, this processor runs at 3.2 GHz at a full bi-directional 2.0 GHz HT 3.0 speed.
Tagged at an MSRP of just 245 USD the Phenom II X6 1075T processor will be clocked at a base frequency of 3.0 GHz, it turbos to 3.5 depending on thread activity. Its voltage range is 1.125-1.40V.
Model Number & Core Frequency: X6 1075T / 3.5GHz (Turbo) / 3.0GHz (Base)
L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (768KB total L1 per processor)
L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (3MB total L2 per processor)
Fab location: GLOBALFOUNDARIES Fab 1 module 1 in Dresden, Germany (formerly AMD Fab 36)
Process Technology: 45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
Approximate Die Size: 346mm2
Approximate Transistor count: Similar to Istanbuls ~904 million
Max TDP: 125 Watts
AMD Codename: Thuban
The Thermal Design Power (TDP) is the average maximum power a processor can dissipate while running commercially available software. TDP is primarily used as a guideline for manufacturers of thermal solutions (heatsinks/fans, etc.) which tells them how much heat their solution should dissipate. TDP is not the maximum power the CPU may generate - there may be periods of time when the CPU dissipates more power than designed, in which case either the CPU temperature will rise closer to the maximum, or special CPU circuitry will activate and add idle cycles or reduce CPU frequency with the intent of reducing the amount of generated power.
The six-core processors have a fair TDP (peak Wattage at 125W) but overall much better power management thanks to the fact that hardware C1E is implemented in the CPU, allowing the processor to throttle up and down real fast, core independent. And that makes it an interesting change as it does allow for faster switching of power states, making it more efficient whilst consuming less power and heat.
Let's go inside the processor then. This Phenom II X6 part is based on AMD's 45nm Silicon On Insulator process technology and has a total of 3MB L2 cache; that's 512KB per core. The Phenom II X6 can address 6MB L3 cache shared among the cores as a buffer, so it can exchange data in-between the six logical cores. So that's 9 MB of cache and we have not even accounted for another 768KB total L1 per processor. So all the variables are exactly the same as the latest generation Phenom II processors, just multiplied per core. Here's the bullet on that:
768KB L1 Cache (Instruction + Data): 128KB x6 (64KB + 64KB for each core)
3MB L2 Cache: 512KB x6 (hexacore)
6MB L3 Cache: 6MB Shared L3
L3 is where a lot of the magic happens and is probably the reason for Phenom II's success. Well, that and the flexible and high clock frequencies of course.
The T in the model number indicates the product supports Turbo Core. AMD's Phenom II X6 series is equipped with a Turbo feature much like Intel's Core i5/7 series has. The new feature will be called Turbo Core. Turbo Core will be able to increase the operational frequencies of three active cores by up to 500MHz (depending on the processor) if an application can't use all six cores.
All monitoring and clock/voltage management is exclusively handled by the CPU, so this is not a quick software fix. Turbo Core is triggered based on operating conditions and application load demand. When power consumption is below the CPU's TDP, the technology puts the three used cores in a boost-enabled P-state.
This means that, should the application demand it, those cores will be able to increase their clocks by an amount dependent on the processing workload. This approach has more than one advantage. Since cores don't need to operate at the same frequency, each will only be pushed higher if the application demands it. As such, no extra power will be spent on unnecessary overclocking.
The 125W TDP AMD Phenom II X6 1090T @ 3.2 GHz with AMD Turbo Core @ 3.6GHz
The 125W TDP AMD Phenom II X6 1075T @ 3.0 GHz with AMD Turbo Core @ 3.5GHz
The 125W TDP Phenom II X6 1055T @ 2.8GHz with AMD Turbo Core @ 3.3GHz.
When Turbo Core is activated the clocks of the three unused cores can be lowered to even 800MHz. The voltage needed normally is now diverted to the other cores. This allows dynamic overclocking to be achieved without exceeding the 125W thermal design power (TDP).
Phenom II X6 processor (Thuban architecture) die (258mm x 346mm). You can see the six cores clearly with the L2 cache in-between them. To the right you can spot the shared L3 cache. And all the way to the left you can spot the 128-bit memory controller.
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