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In an attempt to provide maximum possible performance for enthusiasts, Advanced Micro Devices plans to implement a dynamic performance boost technology into its six-core processors known as Phenom II X6 “Thuban”.

There is a clear trend towards increase of the number of cores inside central processing units (CPUs), just five years ago a dual-core chip was a dream, whereas now we are approaching six-core microprocessors. The software is, unfortunately, seriously behind the hardware and many applications still cannot take advantage of additional cores, but fully depend on clock-speeds. In order to provide maximum possible performance in such programs, developers of CPUs implement special dynamic performance boosting technologies that disable certain cores and overclock the rest.

At present only select Intel Corp.’s microprocessors feature Turbo Boost technology that can accelerate certain cores when they are needed while slowing down the unneeded cores. However, with the introduction of AMD Phenom II X6 “Thuban” processors similar capability will also be available on chips from Advanced Micro Devices, sources close to the company revealed to X-bit labs.

Die shot of AMD Opteron "Istanbul" processor, the father of AMD Phenom II X6 "Thuban" chip

There are not a lot of details available at this point, but what we do know is that when single-thread performance is needed most, Thuban processors will automatically disable idle cores and overclock the remaining engines to the maximum possible level that is determined by general thermal design power. The technology will be completely hardware-based, hence, will work in any operating system that supports six-core chips. The technology is presently called “C-state performance boost”, however, it is more than likely that AMD will introduce a better sounding marketing name when it launches six-core chips in the second quarter of the year.

It is clear that the new AMD Phenom II X6 “Thuban” processors will be compatible with AM3 and AM2+ platforms, however, we do not know whether performance booster of the six-core chip will work on all of them.

The introduction of dynamic performance accelerator with the six-core CPUs is a completely logical step from AMD. It is well known that even quad-core chips from the company cannot run at extreme clock-speeds necessary to successfully compete against processors from Intel. Since six-core chips will work at even lower default clock-speeds and not all the programs will utilize all six cores, implementation of a dynamic overclocking technology is the best way to get performance of AMD Phenom II X6 “Thuban” processors to the levels higher compared to that of the currently available quad-core CPUs.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: AMD, Phenom, 45nm, Thuban


Comments currently: 12
Discussion started: 02/05/10 08:09:25 AM
Latest comment: 07/13/16 11:16:17 AM
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Funny, just today I wrote something about such a possibility on my blog (

Some of AMD's patents back this possibility, like

(see http://www.semiaccurate.c...?p=18671&postcount=13 for some more thoughts)

Together with HKMG this might become an interesting CPU for enthusiasts.

0 0 [Posted by: Dresdenboy  | Date: 02/05/10 08:09:25 AM]
- collapse thread

Thuban is made using 45nm SOI process technology, only future chips will be made using 32nm SOI HKMG tech.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 02/05/10 09:18:19 AM]
See my answer below. This could make sense, just there is no proof so far.
0 0 [Posted by: Dresdenboy  | Date: 02/05/10 11:11:15 AM]
I've updated my blog already. Now it looks like the "product result presentation" mentioned in the brochure is linked to Llano. This week we'll know more about that.
0 0 [Posted by: Dresdenboy  | Date: 02/08/10 12:46:11 AM]

Where did you hear about Thuban having HKMG dresdenboy?
0 0 [Posted by: jimbo75  | Date: 02/05/10 08:57:08 AM]
- collapse thread

There still is no direct link or confirmation, but at least this statement from GF:

"Proof #5
Customer Product Introductions in Q1 2010: GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ customers will begin to announce HKMG product results in early 2010 - not test chips, not 64M SRAMS, not IP shuttle results, but full products. As with the 45/40nm ramp, this will be far ahead of any other pure play foundry."

(see http://www.globalfoundrie..._HKMG_TrifoldBrochure.pdf)

This was just a bit further down in my blog. Candidates are Magny Cours, Lisbon and Thuban. For desktop, Thuban (being at the top of AMD's desktop offerings) is enough of a low volume part to introduce HKMG for the desktop.
0 0 [Posted by: Dresdenboy  | Date: 02/05/10 11:09:47 AM]

Self OC sounds interesting,we will see gain from this tehnology soon.Probaly AMD give warranty for this.
0 0 [Posted by: Blackcode  | Date: 02/05/10 03:38:06 PM]

Re Anton "however, we do not know whether performance booster of the six-core chip will work on all of them"

Probably bios update for motherboard.I supose min SB for AM2+ must be 7xx.
0 0 [Posted by: Blackcode  | Date: 02/06/10 12:48:55 AM]

If these CPUs would be manufactured on 32nm, it would be the biggest surprised AMD pulled off since introducing the Athlon in 1999. Making a 6 core CPU smaller, faster and cooler than the Quad Core dies, it would be great but I just can't believe AMD has the capacity to do this in H1 2010. Anyway, as I've said before, this dynamic overclocking feature is exactly what AMD needs to get some better results in single or dual threaded benchmarks. They need this for their image. It’s ok if you have a slower CPU that’s half price. But it’s not ok if it’s 30% slower. This way, even if all the 6 cores wouldn't be used, the performance gap between the Phenom II and the i7 series would be reduced by another 10% to 15%. And when multi threaded benchmark come into place, the 6 core will always win. Nice one AMD ... even without 32nm tech.
0 0 [Posted by: East17  | Date: 02/07/10 04:00:13 PM]

It's interesting that people think of this as self overclocking. I see it more likely as speed-binning individual cores. In the same way a single core CPU gets speed binned based on the quality of the unit, they can speed bin each core.

It's quite likely that out of 6 cores, one will run a decent amount faster than the others. So especially if it's the only one running, and the overall heat output isn't such an issue, it's a relatively small amount of hardware to control it, and this feature is almost a freebie for the manufacturer.
0 0 [Posted by: asc99c  | Date: 02/27/10 03:39:15 AM]

This technology is licensed from IBM to both Intel and AMD/ATI. Dynamic real time clocking of individual cores was first featured & developed by STI for the Cell BE. It's on chip neuro networking coupled with sensors can accelerate or decelerate, on the fly clocking of it's Rambus designed XDR memory, Ring Bus, onboard memory caches and internal communications, disable cores, etc. dynamically according temperature, processing demands, etc!!!

Nothing new except I'm glad that AMD has also licensed this technology as well as Intel!
0 0 [Posted by: kroneage  | Date: 02/28/10 11:07:18 PM]


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