by Anton Shilov
02/05/2010 | 07:30 AM
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.