First of all it’s important to acknowledge the fact that the Thuban overclocking results in this article are preliminary and possibly not conform what you will reach at home, be it either in a positive or a negative sense. From the Deneb C3 launch we have seen that the press samples reached a bit higher frequencies than the normal retail samples, so one could assume that’s the case with this sample as well. However, it’s important to know that this is not a press sample (not send to me as press) and that over time normal retail samples get better than the first series of processors.
What I’m getting from the system at the moment reminds me a lot of the very first Phenom II results we saw roughly a year ago. The potential is there, but at the moment there still is a problem with the multi-core scaling beyond 1.7V, which makes it look kind of disappointing at the extreme level (or maybe we just expected too much?). The contrary is true, however. The overclockability at low to medium voltage levels is beyond what I could have hoped for when I first started testing the Thuban, especially if you consider that these are six fully functional cores. Up until today, I haven’t tested each core separately (maybe something for the future), but the chances of having one freakishly high-clocking core for single threaded applications did elevate in comparison to the Deneb. On the right side I’ve included a screenshot of the LN2 overclocking result: 5.8GHz through 3DMark06 at 1.75V.
People who’ve read through the entire article may have noticed that I’ve repeated several times that the Thuban looks like a highly-binned Deneb. The most interesting part of this hypothesis is allows us to make the speculation that the lower-end Thuban products may be better for overclocking than the 1090T. Since all Thuban products receive the same power consumption rating, the high-end models are likely to be the least leaky ones. The lower the frequency, the lower the product rating, but the maximum tolerated power consumption remains equal; so the more high-end the product, the less chips qualify. To make it clear, what I’m trying to say here is: if AMD releases a mainstream Black Edition Thuban, it might be interesting to check it out. And, more importantly, let’s all cross our fingers that AMD has found the time to put aside some of the very leaky chips and is preparing another Liquid Helium overclocking attempt!
I believe it’s also important to repeat that the mainboards used in the test sessions were not fully ready yet. During the different testing, I experienced some issues regarding high Northbridge and memory clocks, which will be the determining factor for performance in the end. Since there are now six cores demanding data from the memory, you will see quite a significant performance boost when increasing the Northbridge frequency. Luckily, it seems that on air cooling, the Thuban is ready for high NB clocks (3GHz 3D stable) and rumors go that the memory frequency will hit unseen heights; higher than the DDR3-1900 CL7 3D stable I’ve seen thus far.
Although I haven’t included any performance numbers in this article (browse the web – you’ll find enough material), maybe I should elaborate on the topic anyway. Just like at the launch of the Phenom II series it’s pretty clear that the Thuban is not capable of producing one world record after another. The highest scores will still be in the hands of an Intel Gulftown-based system and Thuban will not change that in the next couple of months. However, similar to the previous AMD parts we have to recognize the fact that an AMD system is just a lot of fun to bench with: no coldbug, no coldbootbug and decent performance. Also, and this is something I rarely find important, the prize it retails at is simply amazing in comparison to the Intel six core counter product.
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Page 1 – Introduction
Page 2 – AMD Thuban Voltage Scaling
Page 3 – AMD Thuban Temperature Scaling
Page 4 – Conclusive thoughts