Continuing the slow trickle of details about its upcoming six-core Phenom II X6 desktop CPUs (codenamed Thuban), AMD followed up last month's announcement of the accompanying 890GX chipset with today's information on Turbo Core. If you're familiar with the Turbo Boost feature Intel brought to its Core i7 CPU family, Turbo Core should be a familiar concept.
The idea behind both Turbo Boost and Turbo Core is that many programs still don't use every CPU core available to them. While each CPU is designed to operate within a certain thermal and power consumption threshold, there's a lot of wasted headroom when cores are idling. Rather than let that budget go to waste, you can improve the performance from the active CPU cores by allowing them to automatically overclock. AMD's strategy with Turbo Core is that it when three or more cores aren't being used, it will boost speeds on the remaining active cores by up to 500MHz.
Turbo Core will work only on AMD's new Phenom II X6 CPUs and forthcoming quad-core CPUs based on the new Thuban chip design when they launch later this year. AMD also says that Turbo Core won't require new motherboards, and that current Socket AM3 and AM2+ boards that can support Thuban will only need a BIOS update to support it.