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AMD CPU Efficiency Compared

AMD Phenom 9600 (2.3 GHz)

We already talked a lot about AMD's new processor, the Phenom 9000 quad core. There will be additional versions with three cores (model 8000, formerly 7000) and also dual cores, which most likely will be released under the Athlon brand. While AMD has had various core designs for different processors in the past, the triple core is based on the quad core die, and others may be as well. Smart yield management allows AMD to sell quad core processors with one defective core as triple cores. If parts of the L2 or L3 cache memory are defective, they could also be shut off in future versions. Since the user will get a fully featured processor that is based on the functional units, this approach is economically reasonable and allows AMD to fan out the processor portfolio to address various market segments. Intel, by the way, does the same thing, and even more extensively. Just think about the Celeron dual cores: these are Core 2 dual core processors with only a minimal L2 cache.

The only two quad core Phenoms available today are based on the 65 nm core and the B2 stepping, which is still plagued by a bug in the L3 cache's translation lookaside buffer (TLB). AMD is working intensively on bug-fixing the processor, and we expect B3 models to be available in Q2. Phenom 9600 runs at 2.3 GHz while model 9500 is a 2.2 GHz part. The Phenom 9600 Black Edition is an enthusiast version with no multiplier locks, to allow for unlimited overclocking up to the processor's limit.

Related links:

Most AM2 Motherboards not Phenom Ready
Phenom vs. Athlon Core Scaling Compared
AMD Phenom vs. Athlon Core Shootout