AMD Phenom II X4: 45nm Benchmarked

Technical Details

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)


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164 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • Cuddles
    "Who will buy it?"
    I have two AM2+ MB Computers. In about 6 to 9 months I'll upgrade them with the most current CPU and call it good for the next 3 years. This will allow me to concentrate on Graphics Cards. Which means that for at least the next few years I won't have to worry about upgrading and when I do I could just buy a AM3 MB and make the transition one step at a time. Intel does have the better CPU's but you do pay for it and you have to pay for it all at once. I am looking at making an Intel HTPC/Home Automation/Gaming Computer and I'll probably use a DFI MB. Intel isn't a very nice to the middle class tech company while I would say AMD is. You spend more on Intel and you spend it all at once while with AMD you spend less and it's over a period of time. With Intel you start off super strong and over a period of time you grow weaker then you replace everything. With AMD you stay average and you upgrade to stay current.
    If I had the cash I would go Intel but I don't and thus AMD fits that bill. I can stay current with the times, at all times, and it never costs me more than a couple hundred a year. Still, once in a while I really get that hunger for an Intel chip but alas I have four other mouths to feed.
    31
  • V3NOM
    who cares about performance/watt? PRICE/PERFORMANCE is the big deal
    20
  • kirvinb
    I'm so happy to see Intel has some competetion. While these new processors are not mind blowing, they offer some decent performance at the price given. I am sure this will lower the price of the q9400 and q9550, which is exactly what I want to see. Maybe even the i7s price will lower and maybe we will be back in the good days..where intel and amd flipped sides of the powerhouse like every 6 months..!! Good Write Up..
    20
  • Other Comments
  • one-shot
    YAY!, The day has come! Haven't read it yet. I am excited to see what it brings!
    -11
  • firedogevan
    why focus on the q6600... wouldn't the q9550 or 9650 be a more accurate comparison given their respective locations in the product lineup?
    9
  • dechy
    Yeah, the price comparison table should of included a Q9550, which costs same as i7 920 but with the lower mobo/ram combo price.

    Ends up being the same price as the AMD bundle, but with a good more performance... there goes the whole "AMD price/performance" aspect of this chip.
    16
  • one-shot
    Great review. Maybe some overclocking later? There were some pretty high claims about its overclocking potential. I'll wait for AM3 before I retire my E6750.
    7
  • cangelini
    Coming up soon one-shot--I was working on that one =)
    7
  • V3NOM
    who cares about performance/watt? PRICE/PERFORMANCE is the big deal
    20
  • Anonymous
    The Q9xxx series would trump the PhenomII in all the categories listed above. THG, it was downright *criminal* to have not included the Yorkfield chips in your performance per dollar and performance per watt analysis.
    -5
  • nashville
    hey bert/tom's:
    good write up: thought id comment on i7 watts:
    "we measured the power consumption directly from the 12 volt rail that supplied the CPU", i read somewhere the only i7 core logic gets power from 12v rail, the uncore/cache part somewhere else. if this is true, you going to do another measurements?
    1
  • kirvinb
    I'm so happy to see Intel has some competetion. While these new processors are not mind blowing, they offer some decent performance at the price given. I am sure this will lower the price of the q9400 and q9550, which is exactly what I want to see. Maybe even the i7s price will lower and maybe we will be back in the good days..where intel and amd flipped sides of the powerhouse like every 6 months..!! Good Write Up..
    20
  • jj463rd
    On the forums someone mentioned "why did they use DDR2-800 RAM when DDR2-1066 would give better performance for the Phenom II".Wouldn't this skew the benchmarks by a little bit (perhaps 2 to 3%)?
    2
  • tomc100
    I'm glad AMD has provided some competition to Intel. Lack of thereof would result in Intel price gouging customers just like Nvidia did last year.
    13
  • kirvinb
    oh god!! tell me about it!!! the 8880 Ultra was like 800 even 1000 bucks online!! What the hell!! that was ridiculous!! The 4870x2 is the fastest card on the planet(currently released) and you kind find it for less than 500..! 2007 was a bad year indeed
    3
  • that_aznpride101
    i think this confirms this is what my next upgrade will be. can't wait for the AM3 platform. =)
    3
  • xx12amanxx
    Time to ditch the ole x2 6000+ Phenom 2 here i come!
    16
  • ravenware
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103471

    newegg is listing $US 275.

    Based on on the performance numbers here and the overclocking benches from firing squad this release looks to be very promising for AMD.

    Can't wait to see how well the AM3 platform performs especially if you can use an integrated 48xx chip in xFire mode.
    8
  • zodiacfml
    the conclusion is a bit rushed.
    how come it became a recommended buy, who will but it?

    i see it a recommended buy for those who have am2 boards wanting core2quad like performance especially those like me which have an athlon x2 processor now.
    anyways, if i will build a box soon based on amd,
    i have to say wait for am3 boards.

    nice addition of nero recode8 but it favors intel procs. now i know why my single core intel celeron m laptop works well in recode 8.
    10
  • BartG
    mmm, was it wrong to expect a bit more?
    Even thought the intel costs more, the performance is also better... all in all, I would think only AMD folks are slipping of there chairs but not many Intel fans will change brands.

    Me, im sticking to wanting to get a X58 board when the hype is gone and the prices drop...

    Nice effort AMD, keep it up so we get even stronger competition!
    4
  • PCfreak15
    WOW, AMD finally has a cpu that can compete with my Q6700 box, too bad that processor is almost two years old now. Pat on the back to the guys in green.
    -4
  • ahslan
    well i wonder how long my x2 6000+ is gonna last now...now imma be tempted to just stick a new Phenom II into my rig...but i think Ill wait till prices drop a lil...
    3
  • Cuddles
    "Who will buy it?"
    I have two AM2+ MB Computers. In about 6 to 9 months I'll upgrade them with the most current CPU and call it good for the next 3 years. This will allow me to concentrate on Graphics Cards. Which means that for at least the next few years I won't have to worry about upgrading and when I do I could just buy a AM3 MB and make the transition one step at a time. Intel does have the better CPU's but you do pay for it and you have to pay for it all at once. I am looking at making an Intel HTPC/Home Automation/Gaming Computer and I'll probably use a DFI MB. Intel isn't a very nice to the middle class tech company while I would say AMD is. You spend more on Intel and you spend it all at once while with AMD you spend less and it's over a period of time. With Intel you start off super strong and over a period of time you grow weaker then you replace everything. With AMD you stay average and you upgrade to stay current.
    If I had the cash I would go Intel but I don't and thus AMD fits that bill. I can stay current with the times, at all times, and it never costs me more than a couple hundred a year. Still, once in a while I really get that hunger for an Intel chip but alas I have four other mouths to feed.
    31