AMD pushes Phenom II X4 to 3.2GHz

AMD pushes Phenom II X4 to 3.2GHz

Summary: AMD will give its Dragon desktop platform a boost today with the release of faster Phenom II X4 quad-core chips. The new platform, which also includes the ATI Radeon HD 4890 GPU announced earlier this month and an updated version of its OverDrive utility, is geared toward enthusiast and gamers.

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AMD will give its Dragon desktop platform a boost today with the release of faster Phenom II X4 quad-core chips. The new platform, which also includes the ATI Radeon HD 4890 GPU announced earlier this month and an updated version of its OverDrive utility, is geared toward enthusiast and gamers.

The two new processors are the 3.2GHz Phenom II X4 955 and 3.0GHz Phenom II X4 945. Previously, the fastest chip was the 3.0GHz Phenom II X4 940. In addition, the new processors are what AMD calls socket AM3, which means they work with both DDR3 and DDR2 memory. AMD shipped its first AM3 Phenom II X4s in February but only on slower quad cores (the 2.6GHz Phenom II X4 810) and several triple-core Phenom II X3s. The new processors also have a faster HyperTransport bus.

The Phenom II X4 955 is priced at $245 and the Phenom II X4 945 is $225. With the release of the new chips, it looks like AMD has also lowered prices on the older 3.0GHz Phenom II X4 940, which is now priced at the same $195 as the 2.8GHz Phenom II X4 920. (Here's AMD's processor price list.) That makes the 3.0GHz 940 a very good value for those putting together a DDR2-based gaming rig.

The Radeon 4890 is AMD's top-of-the-line GPU, and cards based on it with 1GB of GDDR5 memory currently start at $250. You should also be able to find plenty of systems that combine the new processors with Radeon HD 4850 or 4870 graphics--also very good GPUs--and use either DDR2 or DDR3 memory.

The Phenom II X4 955 is a "Black Edition" chip, which means it is designed to be over-clocked for higher performance. (AMD says the new chip has been pushed to 6.5GHz using all sorts of exotic cooling methods.) The new version of OverDrive lets you save profiles and has memory profiles so that it can automatically choose the correct settings assuming you are using compatible memory. Intel has similar features in its over-clocking utility. Incidentally, AMD also offers a Black Edition triple-core processor, the 2.8GHz Phenom II X3 720, which the company says has proven to be very popular at $145.

Even the new 3.2GHz processor can't match the performance of Intel's fastest quad-core desktop chips. Instead AMD is positioning the Phenom II X4 955 against the similarly-priced Core i7 920 and older Core 2 Quad Q9550. Here is AMD's take on relative performance:

Topics: Hardware, Networking, Processors

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3 comments
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  • Yeh well, I guess I am going to have to upgrade my IBM PC/XT.

    Whatever happened with the DOS 640K limit--did they fix that yet?

    I was waiting on that.
    no_zd_user_name
  • Hiding a weak CPU behind the graphics subsystem

    The smoke and mirrors is getting stale.

    The CPU side of AMD needs to start delivering better CPU's and stop using the graphics GPU as a crutch. This is pretty slimy marketing.

    Even the CEO of AMD admits Intel is "giving the market more performance than it needs". Sheesh
    Prognosticator
  • RE: AMD pushes Phenom II X4 to 3.2GHz

    There's no doubting that the Phenom II is behind i7 clock for clock, however the price to performance ratio is unbelievable.

    The new Phenom II 955 cost ?35 less than the Core i7 920 but averages out about the same as this CPU performance wise.

    But of course the Motherboards for the AM3 platform start at ?100 wheras Intels S1366 start at ?160.

    Not to mention i7 requires tri-channel DDR3 to peak, AM3 requires dual channel.

    Core i7 920 + Motherboard + 6GB DDR3 = ?470

    Phenom II 955 + Motherboard + 8GB DDR3 = ?445

    Diffrerence in performance? Phenom II 955 would take the performance crown in this instance due to the extra 2GB RAM. All things being equal they'd be about neck & neck.

    Go figure.
    izools