AMD Phenom II X4: 45nm Benchmarked

Performance-Enhancing Changes

Compared to the first-generation Phenom processors, the Phenom II is faster clock for clock. AMD cites four key areas that were enhanced, in addition to the silicon-level transistor changes previously mentioned, that help Phenom II deliver increased processing speeds.

1. More Instructions Per Clock Cycle

The Phenom is built upon the Stars architecture, but its implementation includes numerous improvements undertaken to increase the number of instructions that can be handled per clock cycle. No new instructions or multimedia extensions were needed to achieve this speed-up. By comparison, the first-generation Phenom processors added support for the SSE4a multimedia extensions, which the Athlon 64 X2 processors do not share.


2. Increase In Clock Rate 

As a result of the switch from 65 nm to 45 nm manufacturing, the voltage needed to drive Phenom II is down significantly. In combination with an improvement to the base micro-architecture, this gave AMD a license to increase the clock rate. Whereas the first-generation Phenoms topped out at 2.6 GHz, the latest Phenom IIs start at 2.8 and scale to 3.0 GHz.

3. Increase The L3 Cache To 6 MB

It just wasn’t an option for AMD simply to arm the first-generation Phenom with a larger L3 cache. The power requirements of those 65 nm transistors would have undoubtedly boosted consumption past the 140 W mark. But current draw was sufficiently reduced in switching to 45 nm technology to enable AMD to augment the L3 cache size from 2 MB to 6 MB. In any case, the separate 512 KB caches provided for each individual core did not change with this redesign, nor did the 64 KB L1 instruction and data cache areas.

4. Support For DDR3-1333 RAM

Another contributor to the Phenom II’s improved performance comes from its support for DDR3 RAM, though it won’t be available for a few months yet. AMD plans to introduce the Phenom II with this RAM interface together with the market introduction of its Socket AM3 architecture.

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  • mi1ez
    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...
  • tinnerdxp
    If they could only do it in 32nm... That would be fantastic...
  • Anonymous
    where's the £ prices? this is a
  • Anonymous
    Go on to

    they have them around 210-250
  • KlamathBFG
    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.

  • matthewslt
    Some one obviously missed the power/performance, cost/performance and upgradability aspects of the new AMD offering VS intel.....
  • KlamathBFG
    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.
  • Anonymous
    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!
  • Anonymous
    I can't help feel they have only just caught up with the year old intel Q6600! :- (
  • Anonymous
    Wow, they just barely beat my trusty Q6600.
  • salem80
    i think will see amazing change with new 880G chipset
  • tmj
    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!!!!)

  • Jetinder
    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.
  • wild9
    This new 880 chipset..wonder what any onboard video performance will be like.
  • wild9
    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.
  • KlamathBFG
    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),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!!!
  • spearhead
    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 :)
  • wild9
    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 ;)
  • Jetinder
    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.
  • Anonymous
    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.