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Technical Details

AMD Phenom II X4: 45nm Benchmarked
By , Frank Voelkel

In switching its production processes over from 65 nm to 45 nm, AMD was able to increase the transistor count in the chip core markedly, while reducing the surface area of the die from 285 mm2 down to 258mm2. Its overall device count went from roughly 450 million to 758 million.

Beyond simply shrinking the transistors in its Phenom II core, AMD made some notable silicon enhancements that, individually might not be game-changers, but cumulatively enable some of the performance and efficiency increases we'll be exploring further in this story. Most obvious is the 45 nm immersion lithography that minimizes current leakage. The L3 cache, which is up to 6 MB from 2 MB, is also two cycles faster than the previous generation's L3. 

In light of AMD's Cool'n'Quiet 3.0 enhancements, which introduce extra power states and slash idle power (more on that shortly), each core's L1 and L2 caches now flush into the shared L3 after the core enters a halt state, allowing lower speeds. Our sample quickly scaled down to 800 MHz during periods of inactivity.

Finally, improved brach prediction, bigger buffers, and optimizations to the way certain instructions execute also give Phenom II significant advantages over the older Phenom.

CPU Model
Athlon X2
Phenom
Phenom II
Dimensions
230 mm2285 mm2258 mm2
Transistor Count
227 M
450 M
758


The following table compares technical details of processors from both AMD and Intel:


AMD Phenom
AMD Phenom II
Intel Core i7
Intel Core 2
Core
Agena / Toliman
Deneb
Bloomfield
Yorkfield / Wolfdale / Kentsfield / Conroe / Allendale
Manufacturing Process
65 nm
45 nm
45 nm
65 nm, 45 nm
Top Clock Speed
2.6 GHz
3.0 GHz
3.2 GHz
3.2 GHz
L1 Cache
64 + 64 KB
64 + 64 KB
32 + 32 KB
32 + 32 KB
L2 Cache
512 KB
512 KB
256 KB
4 MB
L3 Cache
2 MB
6 MB
8 MB
N/A
Max Power (TDP)
140 W
125 W
136 W
136 W
CPU <-> Northbridge
HyperTransport
HyperTransport
Quick Path Interconnect
Front Side Bus
CPU <-> CPU
HyperTransportHyperTransport
Quick Path Interconnect
Northbridge Internal
Max Clock
3.2 GHz (25.6 GB/s)3.2 GHz (25.6 GB/s)6.4 GT/s (12.8 GB/s) 400 MHz (12.8 GB/s)
Min Clock
800 MHz (6.4 GB/s) 800 MHz (6.4 GB/s) 4.8 GT/s (9.0 GB/s) 200 MHz (6.4 GB/s)
Reference Clock
200 MHz
200 MHz
133 MHz
400 MHz, 333 MHz, 266 MHz, 200 MHz
64-bit Support
x86-64
x86-64
EM64T
EM64T
Hyper-Threading
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
Multimedia Extensions
MMX 3DNow! SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSE 4a MMX 3DNow! SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSE 4a MMX SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSSE3 SSE4.1 SSE 4.2 MMX SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSSE3 SSE4.1
Virtualization
Pacifica
Pacifica
VT
VT
Energy Saving
Cool’n’QuietCool’n’Quiet 3.0
Enchanced Halt State (C1E), SpeedStepEnchanced Halt State (C1E), SpeedStep
Thermal Protection
Thermal Diode
Thermal Diode
Thermal Monitor 2
Thermal Monitor 2
Virus Protection
XD bit
XD bit
XD bit
XD bit
Trusted Execution
Presidio
Presidio
LaGrande Technology
LaGrande Technology
Active Management
No
No
iAMT2 (V-Pro) iAMT2 (V-Pro)


Display all 31 comments.
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  • 1 Hide
    mi1ez , 8 January 2009 16:05
    A fantastic result for AMD on the same core. Well done! Looking a lot more competitive now, all you need to do is price it right...
  • 1 Hide
    tinnerdxp , 8 January 2009 16:26
    If they could only do it in 32nm... That would be fantastic...
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 January 2009 16:59
    where's the £ prices? this is a .co.uk?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 January 2009 19:12
    Go on to Overclockers.co.uk

    they have them around 210-250
  • 0 Hide
    KlamathBFG , 8 January 2009 20:21
    AMD releases a brand-new processor which can barely compete with a two year old 65nm processor and you slap a "Recommended Buy" sticker on it.

    COME ON... I'm not an Intel fan but you need to be pushing AMD rather them making allowences for them. They can and must do so much better than this, Intel is not far off its next Tick, which will probably leave AMD barely competing with processors 3 cycles old.

    COME ON AMD BRING OUT SOMETHING WORTH A RECOMMENDED BUY AWARD
  • 2 Hide
    matthewslt , 8 January 2009 20:32
    Some one obviously missed the power/performance, cost/performance and upgradability aspects of the new AMD offering VS intel.....
  • 2 Hide
    KlamathBFG , 8 January 2009 21:07
    I agree Power / Performance is better than a 2 generation old model but doesn't match current or last generation models.

    The only reason why Price / Performance is so good is AMD is having to discount its processors. They should be able to charge $999+ for a brand new top of the line processor, not having to discount it down to < $250.

    Look I want AMD to be winning on price / performance charging $999+ and power / performance vs current generation processors the problem is articles like this keep letting them get away with being YEARS, not months, not weeks YEAR behind.

    Come on AMD catch-up or preferable over-take, introduce some competition and get Intel back on their toes, the whole market will improve as a result.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 January 2009 22:27
    I have to agree with KlamathBFG. I would love AMD to be kicking Intel's ass right now. They really NEED to be doing this before it all goes down the pan for them. Intel is all over AMD right now with both desktop and netbook processors.

    At least their ATI arm are performing well!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 January 2009 22:44
    I can't help feel they have only just caught up with the year old intel Q6600! :- (
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 January 2009 23:47
    Wow, they just barely beat my trusty Q6600.
  • 1 Hide
    salem80 , 9 January 2009 03:50
    i think will see amazing change with new 880G chipset
  • 1 Hide
    tmj , 9 January 2009 04:54
    The ONLY time to judge AMD is when the AM3 boards come out and a direct comparison to intel can be made.

    I maybe a fanboy, but I think (and hope) AMD will surprise one or two dissenters..... AMD - if you're reading this, i'd appreciate rewarding my optimism (i work in the NHS - overworked underpaid and waiting waiting waiting for those AM3 boards and chips to come out!!!!)

    TMJ
  • 1 Hide
    Jetinder , 9 January 2009 07:43

    One critism i have of the tests is Phemon 2 is AMDs fastest and latest cpu, but they compared the Phemon 2 more to the 1 year old Intel Q6600, instead of comparing it more to the latest i7 or Intel QX9770.

    When you put AMDs fastest cpu next to Intels fastest socket 775 cpu (QX9770) or the i7, the QX9770s and i7s beat it easily.

    I feel if the Q6600 was overclocked to 2.8ghz to 3.0ghz (same speed as the Phemon 2) it would beat it.


  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , 9 January 2009 08:15
    This new 880 chipset..wonder what any onboard video performance will be like.
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , 9 January 2009 08:17
    matthewsltSome one obviously missed the power/performance, cost/performance and upgradability aspects of the new AMD offering VS intel.....


    ..and the great advances made in chipsets and GPU hardware. Not bad for a company that's trying to stay afloat, and one that has nowhere near the resources of Intel. There's also good overclocking results with this chip.
  • 0 Hide
    KlamathBFG , 9 January 2009 16:04
    Scary to think but the Q6600 is actually two years old, it was released on the 7th January 2007.

    Toms own review of the first quad core (slightly faster model)
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/kentsfield-released-uk,review-1883.html was on the 2nd November 2006, 2 years & 2 months ago.

    I'm with TMJ though I hope AM3 & the increased bandwidth of DDR3 combined with all that new cache will make enough of a difference that they can compete with the die shink models released Q1 last year (the QX9775 being the faster model released in that batch).

    Can't wait to see the review COME ON AMD!!!
  • 1 Hide
    spearhead , 9 January 2009 20:09
    Amd did a good job with Phenom II. But it would have bin better if they could have launched it 3-5 months ago. anyway it is here now and it proves to be a great CPU for its price.
    I also read that the RS880 which is planned for 2nd Q will bring even more preformance boost the SB750 boards.
    I hope we will see that one too soon. it should not be that much away from now. just a few short months. But im not going to wait for 4Q until i buy my computer. that just is too long and then again there will be better products out by 1Q 2010. but waiting for RV870 seems worth it. 40nm should deliver better powerconsumption and more shaders and better clocks i hope it will be a vast increase in preformance :) 
  • 2 Hide
    wild9 , 9 January 2009 21:59
    KlamathBFGAMD releases a brand-new processor which can barely compete with a two year old 65nm processor and you slap a "Recommended Buy" sticker on it.COME ON...


    The Q6600 is no match for AMD hardware in the server and super-computer stakes, thanks to AMD's native quad-core architecture, hyper-transport links and drop-in compatibility. These things also result in lower power consumption when you take into account overall power draw. Out of 10 of the world's fastest super-computers, 7 of them use AMD hardware (including the top two).

    As for the Intel i7 finally catching up, that platform demands DDR 3 memory and also brings with it compatibility and cost issues.

    So I really don't think AMD is behind on this. You have a company that has nowhere near the resources of it's competitor, and yet it can produce 45nm processors with a revised core (expensive and time-consuming), are very good on power, that overclock very well by all accounts, and can be installed in current hardware in a matter of minutes. You also have a platform (spider), that offers all of the latest performance features yet draws incredibly low power. AMD is also investing in future technologies like cloud computing.

    ..not bad for a company that - like many others - is simply trying to stay afloat in these hard economic times ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    Jetinder , 10 January 2009 09:10
    In 2003 Concorde was 27 years old yet it was the fastest passenger plane ever made, none of the "newer" planes can ever catch Concorde.

    Same principle applies to the Q6600, it may be "old" but the "new" Phenom II 3 ghz version can only be over clocked to 3.6ghz, where as the "old" Q6600 runs at 2.4ghz but can be overclocked to 3.6ghz, at 3.6ghz its still faster per clock cycle than the Phenom II.

    Intels QX9770 is what the Phenom II should be compared against as both are "top of the range" cpus, in standard form the QX9970 will out run the Phenom II, in over clocked form the Phenom II might as well go to sleep.

    Overall the Phenom II is a good cpu, if i just want to upgrade my CPU and motherboard but still use DDR2 ram i would consider the Phenom II if it was miles faster than the QX9770.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 10 January 2009 10:52
    THe phenom II looks pretty good, I'd probably say wait for the ddr3 supported Phenom II ^^ I'm waiting till 2011 which is when amd finally release their new chipset, and cpu ^^ the phenom II I feel was really only released to show that they still could make a fast cpu at an affordable price while they finish working on the new one which is also no longer a 45 nm processor and will be purely ddr3.
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