Seeking Efficient Performance
Multicore PC processors offer excellent responsiveness. That's partly because multiple cores are better than one, but it's also because your CPU can efficiently distribute tasks among the cores.
This ability takes advantage of the fact that many modern applications are multithreaded, which means they can be broken into chunks — threads — with each thread assigned to different CPU cores. This ability often leaves some resources unused and available for other tasks.
For example, in the six core AMD Phenom II X6 CPU, there are times when you want a few of the cores to run a little faster, to boost performance in one or two threads.
To do this, engineers found ways to distribute a CPU's heat. Every CPU generates heat when under load and has a thermal limit — the maximum amount of heat that the entire chip can sustain while operating. CPUs manage thermal loads by reducing clock speeds and voltage when idling. This not only generates less heat, but helps conserve power as well. A CPU can also take advantage of thermal load management to boost performance in certain cases for some of the cores while dialing down performance of other cores.
AMD Turbo CORE technology is used in the current line of AMD Phenom II six-core processors. AMD Turbo CORE technology helps manage performance by allowing half of the cores to run faster than the rated speed while running the other half more slowly (and at lower power). This helps improve performance in single-threaded or lightly threaded applications, giving applications with a few threads an extra boost when needed. Since some of the cores are running faster and others slower, the overall heat generated is the same.
Current PCs and motherboards that support AMD Phenom II CPUs also support AMD Turbo CORE technology. If it’s a somewhat older system, you may need to update the motherboard’s BIOS, a small program built into permanent memory on the motherboard which the system uses to boot up. AMD Turbo CORE technology can be enabled or disabled in the BIOS setup. Best of all, AMD Turbo CORE requires no special software — all current software gets a boost, as needed. In the end, AMD Turbo CORE technology enables highly efficient processing with today’s multi-core CPUs.