AMD Phenom


Phenom (pronounced /fɨˈnɒm/, as in the word phenomenon) is the AMD desktop processor line based on the K10 (not “K10h”) microarchitecture, or Family 10h Processors, as AMD calls them. Triple-core versions (codenamed Toliman) belong to the Phenom 8000 series and quad cores (codenamed Agena) in the AMD Phenom X4 9000 series.

Background

AMD considers the quad core Phenoms to be the first “true” quad core design, as these processors are a monolithic multi-core design (all cores on the same piece of silicon die), unlike Intel’s Core 2 Quad series which are a multi-chip module (MCM) design. The processors are on the Socket AM2+ platform.

Before Phenom’s original release, a flaw was discovered in the translation lookaside buffer (TLB) that could cause a system lock-up in rare circumstances. Phenom processors up to and including stepping “B2” and “BA” are affected by this bug. BIOS and software workarounds disable the TLB, and typically incur a performance penalty of at least 10%.[3] This penalty was not accounted for in pre-release previews of Phenom, hence the performance of early Phenoms delivered to customers is expected to be less than the preview benchmarks. “B3” stepping Phenom processors were released March 27, 2008 without the TLB bug and with “xx50” model numbers.

An AMD subsidiary has released a patch for the Linux kernel, which it said has received “minimal functional testing”, to overcome this bug by software emulation of accessed- and dirty-bits causing little performance loss.[citation needed]

AMD has launched several models of the Phenom processor in 2007/2008 and more recently an upgraded model Phenom II in late 2008.

Model naming methodology

The model numbers of the Phenom line of processors were changed from the PR system used in its predecessors, the AMD Athlon 64 processor family. The Phenom model numbering scheme, for later released Athlon X2 processors, is a four digit model number with a different family indicator as the first number.[10] Energy Efficient products end with the letter “e” after the model number (example Phenom 9350e) and some Sempron processors use the LE prefix (example Sempron LE-1200)

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