Imitation To Innovation: AMD's Best CPUs

The Phenom: K10 and Quad-Core

In 2007, AMD introduced its K10, marketed as the Phenom. This processor has had its share of teething pains: it’s not as fast as Intel’s competing models, there were bugs in the early versions (in the TLB), and it initially struggled in overclocking efforts. Yet the Phenom is still a good processor. Its architecture is well-conceived and it’s perfect for servers, for example. Though it’s still considered a more budget-oriented chip, the Phenom is at least free of its early defects and, with the help of AMD’s ACC technology, can overclock substantially better than before.

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Code nameAgena (X4)Toliman (X3)
Date released20072008
Data bus64-bits64-bits
Address bus64-bits64-bits
Maximum memory1 TB1 TB
L1 cache64 KB + 64 KB x 464 KB + 64 KB x 3
L2 cache512 KB x 4 (CPU frequency)512 KB x 3 (CPU frequency)
L3 cache2 MB (HT link frequency)2 MB (HT link frequency)
Clock frequency1,800-2,600 MHz2,100-2,400 MHz
Memory controllerDDR2-1066, 2 channelDDR2-1066, 2 channel
FSB2,000 MHz (HTT)2,000 MHz (HTT)
SIMDMMX, Enhanced 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4aMMX, Enhanced 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4a
Fabrication process65 nm65 nm
Number of transistors450 million450 million
Power consumption65/125 W (TDP)95 W (TDP)
Voltage1.25 V1.25 V
Die surface area285 mm²285 mm²
ConnectorSocket AM2+Socket AM2+

The Phenom is compatible with Socket AM2 (with some limitations). The three core Phenom X3 is essentially a Phenom X4 with a defective or disabled fourth core.

  • Ryun
    Nice article, thanks for another trip-down-memory-lane.
  • randomizer
    I swear I had a Clawhammer with 512MB L2 cache.
  • cpuTweaker
    Lackluster article...a lot of backround on the chips were left out, fact that make thier acomplishments truely impressive. To THG's credit, their was at least some mention of the impact Alpha had on some of the chip designs, but no where near being complete.

    Where the intel article seemed to overshadow intel's little victories, this article seems to gloss over AMD innovation (though i'll admit that i didn't recall the bit about the Intel chip, either the pentium or pentium pro, that gave incorrect values for mathmatical equations)

    Both articles really need alot more detail added. As i've actually ranted about the history i'm reffering to in the comments section of the intel article as well as many other's i won't re-hash it.
  • neiroatopelcc
    Despite not being terribly detailed, I still like these recaps. Good articles really, all of them. Now all we need is one on alpha, and on how the mac stuff went before it was called intel
  • neiroatopelcc
    Oh and on ati I suppose, seeing we've already had nvidia :9 ... or even matrox, 3dfx and others that have vanished in a combo article...

    This is like viasat history - only more specific and technical
  • AMD 386 SX @25 MHz was powering my first personal computer. The whole computer costed ~4000$ and it wasn't even top performance.
    AMD 486 @120 Mhz was making my friends that bought an early Pentium red with envy.

  • jj463rd
    I had several systems with the AMD 486 X5 processor at 133 Mhz.I also have 2 K6-2 systems,1 Athlon a Athlon 64 and a Phenom X4 9850 BE system.Actually most of my systems are Intel basedthough.When I first heard that AMD was in pretty big trouble I still wouldn't get a B2 Phenom but when they fixed the bug I decided to help them out by building the Phenom X4 9850BE system which runs very well.Plus I've just ordered some new ATI graphics cards too.
    Someone gave me a AMD K5 system.
    Thanks for the article.
  • Malovane
    Heh, owned one AMD processor of every line, starting with the 8086 and ending with the Phenom. Wasn't even intentional for the first decade, but I'm glad I did. Liked the article, though it could have gone into a bit more detail and back story.
  • Minerva
    I enjoy these articles as well, as I collect old hardware...
    I have quite a few chips from both makers, including the AMD 40MHz 386, and an Intel 386 & 387 33MHz cpu's, which are quite scarce...
  • NightLight
    I too collect old hardware Minerva, in fact, I still have a lot of them still in running order on a mainboard ! Good Review, I just loved to see that windows 3 series again :)Altough a little bit biased...