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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 ModelAthlon X2PhenomPhenom II
Dimensions230 mm2285 mm2258 mm2
Transistor Count227 M450 M758

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

AMD PhenomAMD Phenom IIIntel Core i7Intel Core 2
CoreAgena / TolimanDenebBloomfieldYorkfield / Wolfdale / Kentsfield / Conroe / Allendale
Manufacturing Process65 nm45 nm45 nm65 nm, 45 nm
Top Clock Speed2.6 GHz3.0 GHz3.2 GHz3.2 GHz
L1 Cache64 + 64 KB64 + 64 KB32 + 32 KB32 + 32 KB
L2 Cache512 KB512 KB256 KB4 MB
L3 Cache2 MB6 MB8 MBN/A
Max Power (TDP)140 W125 W136 W136 W
CPU <-> NorthbridgeHyperTransportHyperTransportQuick Path InterconnectFront Side Bus
CPU <-> CPUHyperTransportHyperTransportQuick Path InterconnectNorthbridge Internal
Max Clock3.2 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 Clock800 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 Clock200 MHz200 MHz133 MHz400 MHz, 333 MHz, 266 MHz, 200 MHz
64-bit Supportx86-64x86-64EM64TEM64T
Hyper-ThreadingN/AN/AYesN/A
Multimedia ExtensionsMMX 3DNow! SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSE 4aMMX 3DNow! SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSE 4aMMX SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSSE3 SSE4.1 SSE 4.2MMX SSE SSE2 SSE3 SSSE3 SSE4.1
VirtualizationPacificaPacificaVTVT
Energy SavingCool’n’QuietCool’n’Quiet 3.0Enchanced Halt State (C1E), SpeedStepEnchanced Halt State (C1E), SpeedStep
Thermal ProtectionThermal DiodeThermal DiodeThermal Monitor 2Thermal Monitor 2
Virus ProtectionXD bitXD bitXD bitXD bit
Trusted ExecutionPresidioPresidioLaGrande TechnologyLaGrande Technology
Active ManagementNoNoiAMT2 (V-Pro)iAMT2 (V-Pro)
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