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