AMD is taking its second stab at a desktop platform--this time with a more promising processor as its foundation. The Phenom II X4, which AMD officially announced yesterday, is the final piece in its new Dragon platform for high-end desktops. The other components are the ATI Radeon 4800 series graphics and 7-series chipset--both of which are already in wide use.
With the exception of the price, the details of the new chips were already well-known. The 2.8GHz Phenom II X4 920 is priced at $235 and the 3.0GHz Phenom II X4 940 is priced at $275. AMD emphasized that this isn't just a shrink of its troubled 65nm Phenom processor. The new 45nm version scales to higher frequencies, has 4MB of additional cache, will soon work with faster DDR3 memory (though the initial AM2+ platform is DDR2 only) and has other enhancements that allow it to handle more instructions faster. In all, AMD says it will deliver a 20% performance boost over AMD's fastest Phenom X4, the 2.6GHz Phenom X4 9550 (now priced at $174).
Even AMD admits that's not enough to match Intel's Core i7, but it does put them back in the game and the real question is how Dragon-based desktops will match up to Intel desktops at the same price. Phenom II X4s are already shipping and at CES I've seen Dragon desktops from Dell and its Alienware gaming group. HP is already selling a Pavilion Elite m9500z desktop with Phenom II. Several enthusiast sites have posted numbers for the Phenom II X4 (some links below), and Computer Shopper has posted a full review of the Dell XPS 625.
AMD Phenom II reviews coverage:
- AMD's Phenom II processors [Tech Report]
- AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition Review [ExtremeTech]
- AMD Phenom II X4 940 Processor Review [Legit Reviews]