AMD Turion

AMD Turion is the brand name AMD applies to its 64-bit low-power consumption (mobile) processors codenamed K8L.[1] The Turion 64 and Turion 64 X2/Ultra processors compete with Intel’s mobile processors, initially the Pentium M and currently the Intel Core and Intel Core 2 processors.


Earlier Turion 64 processors are compatible with AMD’s Socket 754. The newer “Richmond” models are designed for AMD’s Socket S1. They are equipped with 512 or 1024 KiB of L2 cache, a 64-bit single channel on-die memory controller, and an 800 MHz HyperTransport bus. Battery saving features, like PowerNow!, are central to the marketing and usefulness of these CPUs.

Turion 64 X2

Turion 64 X2 is AMD’s 64-bit dual-core mobile CPU, intended to compete with Intel’s Core and Core 2 CPUs. The Turion 64 X2 was launched on May 17, 2006[2], after several delays. These processors use Socket S1, and feature DDR2 memory. They also include AMD Virtualization Technology and more power-saving features.

AMD first produced the Turion 64 X2 on IBM’s 90 nm Silicon on insulator (SOI) process (cores with the Taylor codename). As of May 2007, they have switched to a 65 nm Silicon-Germanium stressed process[citation needed], which was recently achieved through the combined effort of IBM and AMD, with 40% improvement over comparable 65 nm processes[citation needed]. The earlier 90 nm devices were codenamed Taylor and Trinidad, while the newer 65 nm cores have codename Tyler.

Turion 64 X2 Ultra

Turion 64 X2 Ultra (codenamed Griffin) is the first processor family from AMD solely for the mobile platform, based on the Athlon 64 (K8 Revision G) architecture with some specific architectural enhancements similar to current Phenom processors aimed at lower power consumption and longer battery life. The Turion Ultra processor was released as part of the “Puma” mobile platform in June 2008.

The Turion Ultra is a dual-core processor to be fabricated on 65 nm technology using 300 mm SOI wafers. It will support DDR2-800 SO-DIMMs and features a DRAM prefetcher to improve performance and a mobile-enhanced northbridge (memory controller, HyperTransport controller, and crossbar switch). Each processor core comes with 1 MiB L2 cache for a total of 2 MiB L2 cache for the entire processor. This is double the L2 cache found on the current Turion 64 X2 processor. Clock rates range from 2.0 GHz to 2.4 GHz, and thermal design power (TDP) will range from 32 watts to 35 watts.

A new feature of the Turion Ultra processor is that it implements three voltage planes: one for the northbridge and one for each core.This, along with multiple phase-locked loops (PLL), allows one core to alter its voltage and operating frequency independently of the other core, and independently of the northbridge. Indeed, in a matter of microseconds, the processor can switch to one of 8 frequency levels and one of 5 voltage levels. By adjusting frequency and voltage during use, the processor can adapt to different workloads and help reduce power consumption. It can operate as low as 250 MHz to conserve power during light use.

Additionally, the processor features deep sleep state C3, deeper sleep state C4 (AltVID), and HyperTransport 3.0 up to 2.6 GHz, or up to 41.6 GB/s bandwidth per link at 16-bit link width and dynamic scaling of HT link width down to 0-bit (“disconnected”) in both directions from and to the chipset for four different usage scenarios. It also implements multiple on-die thermal sensors through integrated SMBUS (SB-TSI) interface (replaces and eliminates the thermal monitor circuit chip through SMBUS in its predecessors) with additional MEMHOT signal sent from embedded controller to the processor, and reduces memory temperature.

The Turion Ultra processor will share the same socket S1 as its predecessor (Turion 64 X2) but will not have the same pinout. It is designed to work with the RS780M chipset.

Given the above enhancements on the architecture, the cores were minimally modified and are based on the K8 instead of the K10 microarchitecture.[6] AMD Fellow Maurice Steinman has said the cores are almost transistor-for-transistor identical to those found in the 65 nm Turion 64 X2 processors[citation needed]. This makes it more likely that Turion Ultra will avoid the clock rate scaling difficulties present in AMD’s K10 products.

Model naming methodology

The model naming scheme does not make it obvious how to compare one Turion with another, or even an Athlon 64. The model name is two letters, a dash, and a two digit number (for example, ML-34). The two letters together designate a processor class, while the number represents a performance rating (PR). The first letter is M for single core processors and T for dual core Turion 64 X2 processors. The later in the alphabet that the second letter appears, the more the model has been designed for mobility (frugal power consumption). Take for instance, an MT-30 and an ML-34. Since the T in the MT-30 is later in the alphabet than the L in ML-34, the MT-30 consumes less power than the ML-34. But since 34 is greater than 30, the ML-34 is faster than the MT-30.


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