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AMD announces Thuban six-core CPUs

AMD announces Thuban six-core CPUs

AMD's Thuban - likely to be shipped as the Phenom II X6 at retail - is based on the company's server-oriented Opteron chips.

If you've been salivating over the thought of getting your hands on one of AMD's six-core processors but didn't want to spend the extra associated with the company's server-oriented Opteron label, there's good news: enter Thuban.

The guys over at MaximumPC have confirmed with AMD that the six-core technology which has gone into its Opteron server processors is due to hit the mainstream early next year with a consumer-grade chip codenamed Thuban. Interestingly, the processor will be fully backwards compatible with existing AM3 and AM2+ motherboards - although not ones based around the older AM2 standard.

Thuban processors will feature an on-chip DDR2/DDR3 memory controller, and will be fabricated using AMDs current 45nm technology. While official branding for the product has yet to be confirmed, it's thought that Thuban chips will be sold as Phenom II X6 at retail.

While clock speeds are thought to take a hit compared to quad-core parts in order to keep down the TDP, the Thuban chips will have a decent stack of cache memory with 3MB of level 2 in total and 6MB of level 3 unified cache on-board.

While it's good to see server-side technologies trickling down to the desktop, AMD might have misjudged this release: rival Intel's own Gulftown technology - which is a six-core processor using HyperThreading to present twelve logical processors to the operating system - is also backwards compatible to the company's LGA1366 motherboards and is expected to hit the market first.

Will you be rushing to upgrade to AMD - or Intel's - six-core desktop processors, or are you struggling to make the most of a four-core system? Is the future of computing simple raw power or a greater number of slower processing cores? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

20 Comments

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[PUNK] crompers 22nd September 2009, 09:30 Quote
i'd rather have a quad at a higher clock speed at the moment, more cores aren't really needed
Jack_Pepsi 22nd September 2009, 09:34 Quote
Unless you use a lot of multi-threaded applications - for regular users or gamers you're right, they're not specifically needed. I hope game devs pull their fingers out and start utilising more than two & a half threads - then our multi-cored CPUs will be worth it.

Hmmm... multi-threaded.
Evildead666 22nd September 2009, 10:10 Quote
At least Socket AM2+ and AM3 are cheaper than LGA1366.....
Paradigm Shifter 22nd September 2009, 10:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
At least Socket AM2+ and AM3 are cheaper than LGA1366.....

Quite. Unless AMD prices these astronomically high, for those running AM2+ in particular this could be a worthy upgrade without breaking the bank on a platform shift.
Dave Lister 22nd September 2009, 10:16 Quote
Think i'll wait for a few reviews before deciding if either are worth upgrading to.
Rkiver 22nd September 2009, 10:17 Quote
Looks promising, especially for multithreaded applications, however the low clock speed doesn't speak well for mostly single threaded applications, or low-core (1-2) applications such as games.

As already mentioned, waiting on reviews.
Hustler 22nd September 2009, 10:54 Quote
Well as it stands today, i've found that 3 cores is the sweet spot for performance.....

When i run my Phenom 550 as a 3 core the performance jump is significant over 2 cores, but the jump from 3 to 4 cores only results in a much smaller gain, even in games like GTAIV and ARMAII, which supposedly need 4 cores.....im lucky if i see 3-5fps extra...

Until they properly utilise 4 cores, 6 will only be impressive in highly multithreaded synthetic benchmarks....

Still, im sure 6 cores and more will one day be needed...
TSR2 22nd September 2009, 17:26 Quote
Is it single die or 2 3 core dies stuck together? It doesn't seem to have vast quantities of L2 though.
Combinho 22nd September 2009, 17:41 Quote
Four cores is plenty for me for the neard future. That said, it would be nice for AMD to be able to put some competition in for the i7 (the real 1366 ones) at some point.
Phil Rhodes 22nd September 2009, 18:09 Quote
I'm still slightly unclear on exactly what I can and can't plug into my existing motherboard. It's about three years old and is currently populated with an Athlon X2 6000+. I suspect this means AM2, and that what I have is about as good as I can go, but it's actually quite difficult to figure out what I can and can't do.
leexgx 22nd September 2009, 21:11 Quote
what motherboard is it (model number)
Star*Dagger 22nd September 2009, 22:07 Quote
Phil, time for a new motherboard, they are cheap, dont be cheap yourself, 3 years is fine value out of a MB, let it go now.
xprodancer 23rd September 2009, 02:04 Quote
would like bit-tech to do a review, when they can get there hands on one to see what it can do (O/C speeds, multitasking, gaming, video encoding......) so i shale wait like most people will do on this site to see if its worth the upgrade!
crazyceo 23rd September 2009, 09:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
At least Socket AM2+ and AM3 are cheaper than LGA1366.....

Yes but so is a KFC 12 piece bargain bucket but that doesn't make it better than LGA1366. I'm staggered at times with some posts on here.

This topic is really good news as the CPU manufacturers are still pushing their developemenst onto desktops. Since most OS being used today hardly even recognise Quad Core or fully utilise it. Six Core or more may not make a huge difference until the software takes into consideration the extra cores.

Isn't there something in Windows 7 about quad or higher cores being utilised better? I know the Server OS are getting to grips with it better now.
sandys 23rd September 2009, 11:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
I'm still slightly unclear on exactly what I can and can't plug into my existing motherboard. It's about three years old and is currently populated with an Athlon X2 6000+. I suspect this means AM2, and that what I have is about as good as I can go, but it's actually quite difficult to figure out what I can and can't do.

If you have a 6000 in there, Its quite likely you can drop a Phenom in no bother thats what I did on my old board even though it said it was only compatible with upto 125w chips I dropped a 140w 9950 in and had no bother even though it didn't know what it was.

Every board is different though so best to look to the manufacturer or google you're board and see what people are running in there but even that doesn't necessarily help as my Asrock board has no support for quads CPU Support list let alone 140w varients, still I used it until I could get a replacement for my SLI board that had died.
Phil Rhodes 24th September 2009, 00:51 Quote
It's a Foxconn C51XEM2AA, I discover.

If anyone ever looks in this thread again.
TheMusician 24th September 2009, 01:37 Quote
I'm glad my new build features an AM3 motherboard. The Phenom II X2 545 I have right now is decent, but only barely competitive with the lower-end Core2Duos. Why did I pick it? It's cheap, it's brand new, and it's all I need for now.

When the time is right, I'll probably upgrade to one of these monsters.
sandys 24th September 2009, 08:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
It's a Foxconn C51XEM2AA, I discover.

If anyone ever looks in this thread again.

Seem to recall most 590 boards based on the reference design wouldn't work, something to do with bios chip size.

can't see anyone saying that they've done it.
Phil Rhodes 24th September 2009, 12:06 Quote
Mutter. What do I go to, then?

Intel Core series stuff seems expensive, but I use After Effects and Premiere a lot, and in contrast to games, they love multi cores.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 16th October 2009, 02:01 Quote
6 cores 12 cores whats next 24 cores?

how about you MIT geniuses design software that utilizes the four core cpus more efficiently before you go making processors with 48000 cores.

anyway i really don't want a 6 core processor, I rather run 2 dual core or four cores in parallel you know like i do my car stereo amps.

Just imagine two phenom II 955 or two Core I7 on the same motherboard working together to maximize frame rates on Crysis 4 or working independently to multi task.

I can see it now parallel cpus!!!! working together on a chocolate covered motherboard with sprinkles and whip cream.
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