AMD Sneak Peeks Phenom II, Overclocks To 5+GHz

**Update:  We have just added new images that were taken live at the event. - We’ve been spending some quality time with the folks at AMD today in sunny Austin, TX.  The team here has been giving us a run-down on their upcoming Phenom II processor along with the enthusiast platform they’re calling “Dragon”.  In short, the Dragon platform is a combination of an AMD Phenom II X4 processor, Radeon 4800 Graphics cards and an AMD 7 series chipset based motherboard.

However, today’s discussion was keenly focused on AMD's upcoming Phenom II X4 processor, two models of which will launch in early January that will be socket AM2+ compatible.  In addition, some time in Q1, AMD will launch new AM3 socket Phenom II X4 processors with support for DDR3-1333 memory.  In the short term, (read CES ’08 time frame release) specifically, there will be two chips available with clock speeds starting at 2.8GHz but with a lot of headroom for future clock speed ramps as well as some heavy duty overclocking.  In addition, with the transition to 45nm fab process technology for Phenom II, AMD is claiming a 30 – 40% power consumption reduction under full load and up to a 50% reduction under idle conditions. 


Beyond that, from a clock-for-clock performance perspective, optimizations have been made to the CPU pipeline, including improvements to branch prediction, pre-fetch mechanisms and TLB (translation look-aside buffer) optimizations.  In total, along with larger cache sizes (now 512KB L2 cache per core with a 6MB L3 cache) and higher clock speeds, AMD claims the new Phenom II X4 should offer a 30 – 40% performance increase over all.


What was perhaps most impressive was AMD’s demonstration of the product and their overclocking prowess with the chip.  On display were several machines setup to overclock with everything from standard air cooling to water, phase change refrigeration and finally Liquid Nitrogen.   On air, the Phenom II X4 was able to hit around 4GHz  at 1.55V with 32ºC temps.  With water cooling at 1.6V the new Phenom II X4 broke 4GHz with a 39ºC core temp and in a Vapochill setup we saw 4.4+GHz. The final icing on the cake, so to speak, was the LN2 setup where the Phenom II ran stable at speeds well in excess of 5GHz and booted at speeds in excess of 6GHz.


Things certainly seem to be heating up in Austin and the transition to 45nm for AMD seems to be progressing quite well.  We’ll be offering a full performance evaluation and showcase of AMD’s new Phenom II processor in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned.