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Review: AMD Phenom X4 9850: Phenom fixed, but not phenomenal

by Parm Mann on 18 April 2008, 08:48

Tags: Phenom X4, Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition, Phenom X4 9600, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Gigabyte (TPE:2376), ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), AMD (NYSE:AMD), OCZ (NASDAQ:OCZ), Corsair, FSP Group (TPE:3015), PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qamli

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The Phenom range

Today, AMD's new range of Phenom quad-core processors, based on the B3 stepping that eliminates the TLB erratum, is available as detailed in the table below. Please be aware that all prices are taken from Scan.co.uk and are correct as of 15/04/08.

Processors Cores Clock speed L2 cache (total) L3 cache Memory-controller speed Voltage TDP etailer pricing
AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition 4 2.5GHz 2MiB 2MiB 2.0GHz 1.2-1.3V 125W £152
AMD Phenom X4 9750 4 2.4GHz 2MiB 2MiB 1.8GHz 1.2-1.3V 125W £137
AMD Phenom X4 9650* 4 2.3GHz 2MiB 2MiB 1.8GHz 1.2-1.3V 95W £135?
AMD Phenom X4 9550 4 2.2GHz 2MiB 2MiB 1.8GHz 1.2V 95W £123

* Shipping date unknown

Some might argue that the Phenom line-up hasn't changed a whole lot. A 2.6GHz Phenom 9900 was previewed in December 2007, and a few months on, some, like HEXUS, will no doubt be disapointed to find the range topped by only a 2.5GHz part.

What has changed is the labelling, AMD's taking the logical approach and its quad-core model-numbering now uses an X4 prefix. For example, AMD Phenom X4 9850 BE.

Reports indicate that the quad-core models will be added to with a low-power Phenom X4 9100e and three tri-core B3-stepping Phenom processors, the 8450, 8650 and 8750, all denoted by the X3 prefix.

AMD's familiar 'Black Edition' denotes a multiplier-unlocked chip, better suited for overclocking. With the Phenom X4 9850 BE leading the pack, let's put it through its paces, and see how it fares against Intel's relentless Core 2 Quad Q6600.