AMD Turbo CORE Technology Revealed - HotHardware
AMD Turbo CORE Technology Revealed

AMD Turbo CORE Technology Revealed

When it announced the 890GX chipset early last month, AMD also let a juicy tid-bit of information slip out regarding the company's next-gen 6-Core desktop processor. In our coverage of the 890GX, we were able to reveal the AMD Phenom II X6 brand name, that the chips would fall within the same power envelope as current quad-core designs, and that they would work in many current socket AM3-based motherboards.

Today, we're able to reveal yet another piece of information regarding AMD's upcoming 6-Core Phenom II X6 processors, a feature aptly dubbed Turbo CORE.


AMD's 6-Core Instanbul Die; Click For Larger View

Since the introduction of their Nehalem microarchitecture, Intel's processors have been outfitted with a feature called Turbo Boost that in essence overclocked one or more of the processor's cores under certain workload conditions, power and thermals permitting. Turbo Boost afforded the processors the ability to enhance the performance of lightly-threaded workloads by increasing the performance of active cores. AMD's new Turbo CORE technology functions in a similar way.

AMD's Turbo CORE technology automatically increases the frequency of three active CPU cores by up to 500MHz, without the need for any special software or drivers. The technology will be enabled on upcoming Phenom II X6 processors and will work with all AM3-based motherboards.

 
AMD Turbo CORE Technology Explained; Click For Larger View

The technology works by putting three cores into a boost-enabled P-state when power consumption is below the processor's rated TDP. Being in the boost-enabled P-state doesn't necessarily mean the three cores are overclocked by 500MHz, but rather that they are ready to have their frequencies increased based on the processing workload. When Turbo CORE is active, Cool 'n' Quiet still functions, so each core could be operating at anywhere up to that maximum clock, but is not necessarily at the absolute maximum. And the individual cores don't necessarily have to be operating at the same frequency either. Essentially, when three or more of a Phenom II X6's six cores are at low utilization, the processor determines that it is in a boost-eligible state, and the active cores are put into a Turbo-enabled state to increase performance. According to AMD, the active cores must be in software P0 state for transition to boost and the processors will fully utilize available TDP budget to maximize performance, while remaining within electrical limits.

More news regarding the Phenom II X6 will be available in the not too distant future. So stay tuned to HotHardware for the full scoop, once the embargo lifts. it won't be long now.

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Captain to the engine room please enable Turbo readiness, and set the afterburners to warm stage for time warp preboost! We will be going to warp speed in 30,20,28,27,26,25........................!

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The thing I really like about about what AMD has done is they have made their processors all compatible from AM2 to AM3 you could argue that they had to do this to keep customers from switching to Intel as they still deliver better performance, I just call it doing the right thing. I wish Intel would follow suit, like they did with the X58 chipset being compatible with the i7 980X. This Turbo Core feature though is a nice addition as now no power will be wasted, all cores will be utilized to the fullest for any application. I am pulling for AMD, I would like to see them take back the lead here as it has been awhile since they lead in performance. It was Core 2 Duo when things turned in Intel's favor I just like competition its good for us all.

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I think there might be less competition overall if AMD wins with this processor. Nvidia will probably be left out in a snowstorm because SLI won't work on AMD boards. I would rather have competition between ATI and Nvidia because prices for processors seem fine to me.

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Sounds like rapid1 is speaking Klingon LOL.

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I hope the price/performance comes out in AMD's favor. Intel could use the competition.

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3vi1:

I hope the price/performance comes out in AMD's favor. Intel could use the competition.

Me too. I have been thinking of moving Jen over to AMD for a while. She is in bad need of a new CPU(E4300)

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@ RyuGTX ou make a valid point, the problem here is as you state no crossfire and if Intel has its way no SLI.  Intel and AMD are both moving toward a hybrid CPU/GPU on a single die and having no X86 license means unless someone throws them a rope, things will not improve for them much on the GPU front as far as PC's are concerned. With that said I would like to see competition in this space as well just so prices will stay in line and innovation will not take a back seat.

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la_guy_10:

@ RyuGTX ou make a valid point, the problem here is as you state no crossfire and if Intel has its way no SLI.  Intel and AMD are both moving toward a hybrid CPU/GPU on a single die and having no X86 license means unless someone throws them a rope, things will not improve for them much on the GPU front as far as PC's are concerned. With that said I would like to see competition in this space as well just so prices will stay in line and innovation will not take a back seat.

 

I think moving towards a hybrid/gpu design is more of an improvement in onboard graphics. At least for now. A discrete gpu has pretty much been a niche market and is aimed at enthusiasts. I'm not really hoping for things to improve. I just wanted a more level playing field between Nvidia and ATI video cards. Competition between them is where I (a gamer) will get the most benefit because games or way more gpu intensive than cpu.

As far as competition in the processor arena, I think that there is enough. Even though Intel has held the lead since the launch of the Core 2 series, they haven't shown signs of letting up. Their prices aren't bad (in my opinion). It isn't like they are asking for $400 for an entry quad core. I don't think innovation is taking a back seat at all. If it was, then we would probably be seeing Intel settling for just clock increases. Even though it seems one-sided, there is a lot of competition.

 

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Competition inthe market is more illusion then anything else right now -- but that is a rant for another time. I'm curiouse to see how the phemon x6 compare to an intell i7 900 series. Particularily because I am comtemplating building a new machine, and have budgetted enough for an i7 930 but if a x6 from AMD is equivalent, or better for about the same....

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Yeah Rapid1! Don't Bogart the Trek man.

Although you have to call engineering now instead of going there, because of Scotty's creepy little love troll :P

I was hoping that AMD was going to up the game a bit. I kept reading about how much the I7's Turbo boost is really good for rendering. Only problem is trying to get its structure to work well with an ATi card. Since the ATI's dont play nice with the Intel MoBo's.

I keep waiting because I keep hoping AMD will make a good reasonably priced solution to topple the I7's, and still be able to use a FirePro.

AMD definitely needs to do more about their promoting of the future technologies. If they do end up loosing anything it is because Nvidia beats them on marketing. I am not talking about going on a multi million dollar campaign. just let us know what we should wait for instead of moving to Intel. This just like the 8800, I only found out about it because of HH :)

If they needed to avoid the whole Turbo confusion then they should have called this the AMD Superchargers :) That would have put intel in its place, since everyone wants a Supercharger instead of a Turbo. Phenom II X6-SC :)

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I'm actually kind of disappointed in how discrete this system is. Two states, and the idle processors don't even turn off.

Though I'm sure there's a good reason for the lack of granularity, Intel's Turboboost allows much more flexibility.

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