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AMD announces new Phenom processors

AMD announces new Phenom processors

AMD has released a slew of new Phenom processors and the first B3 stepping chips should be available to buy as soon as tomorrow.

AMD has announced availability of four new Phenom X4 processors this morning—all of which are based on the new B3 stepping.

These new chips fix the widely overblown TLB erratum in hardware and should help to quash Phenom's association with the word 'broken'—even though that was a particularly harsh way to look at things.

Phenom had a somewhat troublesome birth, as at the eleventh hour AMD revealed the infamous translation lookaside buffer (TLB) erratum at the launch in Warsaw after finding certain load scenarios that caused system crashes—it also prevented the launch of the 2.4GHz Phenom 9700 part.

With the fastest Phenom B2 processor being a 2.3GHz chip that wasn't fast enough and it didn't overclock a great deal either, AMD hasn't been in the great position.

But things are looking up for AMD with the new Phenom X4 9850, 9750, 9650 and 9550 processors, which will be clocked at 2.5GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.3GHz and 2.2GHz respectively.

AMD has priced the chips pretty aggressively too, with 1KU prices of $235 for the 9850, $215 for the 9750 and $195 for the 9550 - the 9650 will only be available through OEMs. The 9550, 9650 and 9750 all have a 1.8GHz northbridge clock and a maximum HTT speed of 3.6GHz, while the 9850 features a 2.0GHz northbridge clock, meaning that the HTT speed can be set to 4.0GHz.



The Phenom X4 9850 is actually a Black Edition processor too, which means there's an unlocked multiplier there for overclockers to tinker with. AMD has told us that it expects the new Phenom X4 9850 to typically hit speeds of around 2.8 to 3.0GHz – that's quite a bit better than the 2.3GHz we managed to overclock the Phenom 9600 Black Edition to (its stock speed for those feeling a little confused).

In related news, AMD has also announced OEM availability of the first two triple-core Phenom processors – the Phenom X3 8400 and Phenom X3 8600, which are clocked at 2.1GHz and 2.3GHz respectively. These both carry a 95W TDP, 1.8GHz northbridge clocks and are based on the B2 stepping – AMD says they're designed for more mainstream users who want a bit more multiprocessing power than a standard dual core chip.

That's not all though, because AMD has also released a 65W quad-core Phenom – the Phenom 9100e that the company says is targeted at OEMs building powerful home theatre PCs. It carries a core speed of 1.8GHz, while the northbridge hums along at 1.6GHz.


What's interesting is that AMD decided to re-introduce the X3 and X4 labels after the Phenom brand to indicate the number of active processing cores on the chips. At launch, AMD decided to drop these, but apparently customer feedback was that the missing 'X' labels left them confused – we hope that they're back for good this time around, as it helps not so tech savvy customers understand a little bit about what exactly they are buying.

We've got some new Phenom X4 samples in-house and we're putting them through their paces as we type – we'll be back to report on our findings as soon as possible. It's good to see that the picture of AMD's processor business is looking a bit more vibrant – it was about as close to greyscale as we've seen for a long time just a few months ago. Does a Phenom sound a lot more viable purchase to you now? Share your thoughts with us in the forums.

18 Comments

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p3n 27th March 2008, 21:01 Quote
125 TDP is pretty hefty
devdevil85 27th March 2008, 21:26 Quote
All I can say is this: if AMD can price their chips respectively below or maybe equal with Intel's and they are atleast up to par w/ Intel's then they would earn my dollars, but atm that seems like a very tough thing to do......I hope they prove to be worth the money as I hate *cough* monopolies *cough* Intel w/ a passion.....
1ad7 27th March 2008, 21:46 Quote
Hell yeah!!! this is good news no matter how you look at it, prices seem good and they released it before Christmas. Lets hope they can hop back up on the horse even with hector in the saddle bag.
UncertainGod 27th March 2008, 21:56 Quote
If the b3 stepping has resolved the poor performance of the previous chips then it looks like I can begin my full system upgrade at last. :)
r4tch3t 27th March 2008, 23:17 Quote
Hmm, I may have to rethink my upgrade if these perform. Please include a comparison to the Q6600 if possible please.
rls669 27th March 2008, 23:47 Quote
From what I can see, it's a little cheaper than the Q6600, uses more power, is on average a bit slower clock for clock and doesn't overclock nearly as well.
wuyanxu 28th March 2008, 00:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rls669
From what I can see, it's a little cheaper than the Q6600, uses more power, is on average a bit slower clock for clock and doesn't overclock nearly as well.
pretty much sums it up.

but one thing to notice is that in Anandtech review, it says it uses less idle power. IMO, idle power is a very important factor. i mean, my q6600 machine is probably idling 80% of the time (includes watching videos and web browsing) so if i where to get the phenom, i'd probably get a less electric bill
completemadness 28th March 2008, 05:08 Quote
Yeah go AMD :)

Also, someone listened to the customers (they brought back the X prefix) - must be a first
Braveheart 28th March 2008, 06:21 Quote
i can't wait, AMD better be back on the right track:D
Journeyer 28th March 2008, 08:51 Quote
This just made sure I'm going to have a good day today - best piece of morning news in quite some time.

Now my questions are; should I go for a 9850 or hang on a little while longer for the 9950s or the Agena FX chips to be released? Is the 9850 a viable upgrade from my FX-62? I would like to see how these chips stack up against eachother. *goes off to google*
K20 29th March 2008, 02:06 Quote
Yay! Slides and X prefix!

Though it is a bit odd that X3, according to the slides, has only a 30% improvement over X2 Athlon (indicating K8) and X4 has only a 20% improvement over X3. The ideal scaling would be >50% and 33% respectively, true you would be unlikely to experience perfect scaling but 1. It's marketing 2. The term used in the slides is "up to" not "usually" as you might expect considering they can, I'm sure, scale to almost >50% and 33% given the right circumstances.

Now for a request *god I am being bothersome on bit-tech aren't I: questioning this, correcting that, requesting whatever I feel like*, it's an easy one, honest.

The mistake all reviewers have made when reviewing the Phenom is to only test it in synthetic benchmarks. Usually single threaded synthetic benchmarks, one at a time, to be precise. Obviously they didn't take into account the differing cache structure of Intel and AMD. Now don't worry I'm not going to ask for sythentic benchmarking to be scrapped but I will ask for atleast 4 benchmarks to be run at the same time.
Hamish 29th March 2008, 14:45 Quote
definately a step in the right direction for AMD
reasonably competitive for people who dont overclock but the lack of overclocking head room means i'd still go intel at the moment

roll on 45nm phenoms!
Amon 29th March 2008, 19:39 Quote
I won't believe it until I buy one for myself.

But, maybe AMD can now return the favour, to Intel, of penetration from behind.
Nexxo 29th March 2008, 20:20 Quote
65W quad-core? Tasty. Still, not as fast as an Intel.
Bindibadgi 29th March 2008, 21:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by K20
The mistake all reviewers have made when reviewing the Phenom is to only test it in synthetic benchmarks. Usually single threaded synthetic benchmarks, one at a time, to be precise. Obviously they didn't take into account the differing cache structure of Intel and AMD. Now don't worry I'm not going to ask for sythentic benchmarking to be scrapped but I will ask for atleast 4 benchmarks to be run at the same time.

I see your point on the many things at once: it's one of the point of multi-core, however we don't really use synthetic benchmarks - you can use paint.net, cinebench, sony vegas (in future sets), automkv, vdub and divx 6.8, etc. There are some to set a baseline though.

Four run at once is too excessive for most publications - the time to set it up and run everything accurately past two is a bit difficult and it brings into question what are run all at once - simple stuff like playing music, surfing the net, and some heavy stuff? Or all heavy?
Rege 29th March 2008, 23:35 Quote
It looks promising, but, the price will have to be lower than Intel's. If not, then AMD has lost a major consumer battle again.
K20 30th March 2008, 01:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
I see your point on the many things at once: it's one of the point of multi-core, however we don't really use synthetic benchmarks - you can use paint.net, cinebench, sony vegas (in future sets), automkv, vdub and divx 6.8, etc. There are some to set a baseline though.

Four run at once is too excessive for most publications - the time to set it up and run everything accurately past two is a bit difficult and it brings into question what are run all at once - simple stuff like playing music, surfing the net, and some heavy stuff? Or all heavy?

Sorry about the synthetic but after the first several dozen reviews on different subjects most reviews seem to be synthetic (except bit-tech's obviously).

Unfortunately I can't give you a definitive answer and this (multi benchmark testing) may create more questions but it should provide some answers. The ideal test for AMD would be a triple threaded benchmark but I'm not trying to create a test which favours AMD, merely one which reflects real world usage.

With that in mind the testing should consist of something along the lines of WinRAR encoding/decoding, somesort of video and/or music transcoding and photo editing running in the background. Say 40 minutes of gaming, possibly x minutes of blu-ray viewing (complicated by the fact that you're using an 8800 Ultra which lacks full HD offload) and then x minutes of music listening.

You could also run a rendering program in the background or here's something that tech sites never cover: speech recognition. While all that is running in the background launch a speech recognition program and dictate. But even if you say the same sentence twice it won't contain the same data so record it once then run a 3.5mm-3.5mm lead from your sound card's output to its input.

I'd like surfing the web to be included but maybe that wouldn't be wise due to it's 'randomness'; in one session you might view pages with lots of javascript or pictures or mountains of text or spend 2 minutes looking at one page while on another you would spend 10. I'd also like a torrent program running in the background but getting exactly the same packets from the swarm at exactly the same time is about as likely as Intel caring about it's customers and not requiring a new MB with each new processor.

As for how you run it:
Turn on the computer, launch the background tasks and a system monitor and then proceed to run the foreground tasks. If the system monitor contains a time mapped graph function use that, if not, move it to one side of the screen and set a camcorder on it.

Consider the beginning when you launch the background tasks and the end when the processor reduces from 100% to idle (taking in to account processor usage from the current foreground application).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rege
It looks promising, but, the price will have to be lower than Intel's. If not, then AMD has lost a major consumer battle again.

It is. At $235 for the 2.5 GHz BE (a.k.a Black Edition 9850) compared to $266 for the Q6600 it's rather tempting too. Link


On a correctatory note: I did a search for "Q6600" to see if you had any B2 steppings so you I could compare B2 vs. B2, B3 vs. B3 (which is actually a bit hard considering that you use more up to date program versions with every review). One of the results I got back was for the Phenom 9600 Black Edition, the graphs in that review claim that all four Phenoms included in the results have a 2.0GHz northbridge, at least one has a 1.8GHz NB.
topdog555 30th March 2008, 23:18 Quote
Quote:
We’ve had the Phenom X4 9850 for a day now and we’ve clocked all four cores stably to 3.1GHz using a regular Akasa AK-876 air cooler. That’s a modest 24 per cent boost over its native 2.5GHz clock speed.

http://vnuuk.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/03/27/31ghz_phenom_x4_9850.jpeg

Source

Quote:
Final Thoughts
The new AMD Phenom X4 50-series of processors is how Phenom should have launched back in November of last year. This stepping of Phenom doesn't offer higher performance versus the older Phenom B1 and B2 steppings, but does remove the TLB erratum that caused many consumers to skip over Phenom when considering a platform for their next system. Those that already have an AMD Socket AM2 platform now have a solid upgrade path to look forward to. With upcoming price cuts the AMD Phenom X4 50-series will offer more bang for the buck thanks to the higher clock speeds on the X4 9850 and 9750, so AMD has become more competitive with Intel with the new series. AMD has also dropped pricing on the Phenom series, so not only are these processors 'fixed' with higher clock frequencies, they have lower prices!

$235 AMD Phenom X4 9850 “Black Edition” processor
$215 AMD Phenom X4 9750 processor
$195 AMD Phenom X4 9550 processor

Source

Quote:
Although the Phenom X4 9850 doesn't propel AMD to the head of the pack in terms of performance, it is a significant step forward for the company. AMD can now put the TLB issue behind them and focus on ramping clock speeds and their impending transition to a 45nm manufacturing process. Until all that happens, the Phenom X4 9850 allows AMD to compete better with Intel's offerings and eliminates a roadblock that was preventing some AMD faithfuls from migrating to a Phenom CPU. And when you consider the total platform, AMD is in a pretty good position. DDR2 RAM is dirt cheap at the moment, and AMD 770 and 790FX motherboards are priced anywhere between $100 and $220, not to mention the affordable 780G. In addition, the list of older socket AM2 motherboards that support Phenom is growing all the time. Drop in CPU upgrades sure are nice when a user doesn't have the funds to overhaul their entire system.

Source

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