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The Phenom II X4 970 BE processor


The Phenom II X4 970 BE processor

In an attempt to produce AMD's fastest quad-core processor, they release the Phenom II X4 970, which comes with a very high 3.5 GHz clock frequency.

Explaining Phenom II X4 processors can be best done by looking at what the first generation Phenom really was. First there was the transition from 65nm to 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 last generation Phenom (I) products. And that had advantages, often to be found in lower voltages and higher clock frequencies.

The flagship product was the Phenom II X4 965BE with BE short for Black Edition, this processor runs at 3.4 GHz at a full 2.0 GHz HT 3.0 speed. This is now being replaced by the Phenom II X4 970 BE that runs at 3.5 GHz and has a voltage range of 0.875 to 1.5V.

Though the extra 100 MHz means another bump in performance, the latest batch includes the latest process technology improvements based on the C3 revision. As such the CPU might run a bit cooler + OC slightly better than its predecessor. This new revision processor has a maximum peak wattage of 125 Watts (TDP).

  • Model Number & Core Frequency: X4 970 / 3.5GHz
  • L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (512KB total L1 per processor)
  • L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (2MB total L2 per processor)
  • L3 Cache Size: 6MB (shared)
  • Total Cache (L2+L3): 8MB
  • Memory Controller Type: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller
  • Memory Controller Speed: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
  • Types of Memory Supported: Unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)
  • HyperTransport 3.0 Specification: One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
  • Total Processor-to-System Bandwidth: Up to 37.3GB/s total bandwidth [Up to 21.3 GB/s memory bandwidth (DDR3-1333) + 16.0GB/s (HT3)]
  • Up to 33.1GB/s total bandwidth [Up to 17.1 GB/s memory bandwidth (DDR2-1066) + 16.0GB/s (HT3)]
  • Packaging: Socket AM3 938-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA)
  • 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: 258mm2
  • Approximate Transistor count: ~758 million
  • Max TDP: 125 Watts
  • AMD Codename: Deneb

All processors today are based on the AM3 package, the processor is both motherboard Socket AM2+ and AM3 compatible.
As this is a BE model this processor caters much more for overclocking as it will have its multiplier and voltages unlocked. Black Edition processors support software-selectable increases to memory controller, HyperTransport, DDR3 and CPU core frequency. This Phenom II part is based on AMD's 45nm Silicon On Insulator process technology and has a total of 2MB L2 cache; 512KB per core. However -- a big change in Phenom II architecture was a large increase in L3 cache. Phenom II can address 6MB L3 cache shared among the cores as a buffer, so it can exchange data in-between the four logical cores. That's 8 MB of cache and then there is another 512KB total L1 per processor.

  • L1 Cache (Instruction + Data): 128KB x4 (64KB + 64KB for each core)
  • L2 Cache: 512KB x4 (quad-core)
  • L3 Cache: 6MB Shared L3
  • L3 is where a lot of magic happens and is probably the reason for Phenom II's success. Well, that and the flexible and high clock frequencies of course.

AMD Phenom II X4 920 and 940 test
AMD Phenom II X4 (Deneb architecture) processor die

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