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.

Tags:  AMD, CPU, Core, processor, Phenom, AM3, turbo