UPDATE July 15, 2009 23:49 GMT – We ran the story "AMD Confirms TWKR CPUs", in order to clear any confusion for people that claimed that the AMD Phenom II 42 TWKR Black Edition is a fake.
When the original Phenom came out, AMD disappeared from the world of overclocking and the enthusiast segment. The Phenom II’s arrival was marked with "King’s Dead, Long Live the King" – AMD released quad-core CPUs which properly speed-binned, could reach stratospheric levels of overclock, a full 1GHz higher than any of Intel quad-cores could pull off.
And here comes the key word – speed binning. AMD and Intel are both involved in finding the cherry picked dies which will overclock to heaven’s high. To paraphrase a song from Carolina Liar, "Show me what I am looking for". And when you’re binning, what you’re looking for is high-leakage part that won’t choke when you send 150-200-250 Watts with a proper Volt-Amper ratio through the socket [motherboard makes make Volt modifications for years… I wonder when we are going to see modifications of the current, e.g. chaning Amper values].
AMD Phenom II X42 TWKR Black Edition Revealed. Picture courtesy of Legit Reviews.
AMD Phenom II X42 TWKR Black Edition is not a CPU that will see the light of the day as a retail part [for now]. TWKR processors are speed binned Phenoms that AMD will use to get feedback from system integrators and respectable overclockers. Think of them as Phenom II 955 CPUs that can really go the distance. These high-leakage processors aren’t meant to be used with air-cooling at all. Liquid is also doubtful, since putting 1.5-1.8V through 110A rail results in power consumption and dissipation of 165-198W and beyond. AMD states that these CPUs should be used with phase change or LN2 cooling only, as they are "the best of breed".
Depending on the number of speed binned processors, this might lead to real return of AMD FX series, e.g. the best CPUs that AMD makes. If those CPUs were to return, you can bet they would be a price match to Intel Core Extreme series, e.g. Core 2 Extreme QX series, i7 965 and 975 etc.
All in all, seeing AMD TWKR series would be a brilliant if this wasn’t the answer to Intel’s decision to bin every Nehalem die that comes out in its Fabs. Speed binned Nehalem wafers come with only one name [for now]: Intel Core i7 Extreme 975. Intel had 1000 975s for the launch [1000 CPUs = 1 million dollar revenue], and that number is steadily increased over time.