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AMD has hardly kept quiet on the CPU front these past several months. At the beginning of the year AMD put the nail in Atom's netbook coffin with the Brazos platform, and last month it announced the first shipments of Llano APUs to OEMs. Expect an official launch of Llano to follow sometime in the next two months.

AMD's focus on the mainstream echoes to a certain extent its GPU strategy: focus on the bulk of the customers first, then address the smaller high end of the market. Despite an overly controlling stance on overclocking and issues with B2 stepping 6-series chipsets, Intel's Sandy Bridge (Core ix-2xxx) dominates the high end. AMD will make a go for that market later this year with its Bulldozer architecture. It's still too early for an accurate preview of Bulldozer performance, although the time for such a thing is quickly approaching.

Until Bulldozer's unveiling, the Phenom II remains as AMD's high end platform. Today, that very platform gets a little boost.

The Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition release marks a speed bump and a price drop for the quad-core Phenom II family. The 980 assumes the $195 price point, with everything else stepping down a notch in pricing:

CPU Specification Comparison
Processor Clock Speed Max Turbo L2 Cache L3 Cache TDP Price
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 3.3GHz 3.7GHz 3MB 6MB 125W $239
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2GHz 3.6GHz 3MB 6MB 125W $205
AMD Phenom II X6 1075T 3.0GHz 3.5GHz 3MB 6MB 125W $195
AMD Phenom II X6 1065T 2.9GHz 3.4GHz 3MB 6MB 125W $185
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz 3.3GHz 3MB 6MB 125W $175
AMD Phenom II X4 980 BE 3.7GHz N/A 2MB 6MB 125W $185
AMD Phenom II X4 975 BE 3.6GHz N/A 2MB 6MB 125W $175
AMD Phenom II X4 970 BE 3.5GHz N/A 2MB 6MB 125W $155
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE 3.4GHz N/A 2MB 6MB 125W $135

Architecturally there are no surprises here. The 980 comes with a 6MB L3 cache shared by all of its cores and 512KB private L2s per core. The chip is built on Global Foundries' 45nm process with a 258mm^2 die size and around 758M transistors. TDP remains at 125W and the chip should work in all Socket-AM3 motherboards.

Don't expect any performance surprises here. The 980's closest competitor is Intel's Core i5 2400 a four core, four thread offering clocked at 3.1GHz by default with a 3.4GHz max turbo. Single threaded performance is clearly a win for the Core i5 2400:

Cinebench R10 - Single Threaded Test

Multithreaded performance ranges from equal between the two:

7-Zip Benchmark

...to another win for the Core i5 2400:

x264 HD 3.03 Benchmark - 2nd Pass

Typically the Core i5 2400 wins across the board. Load power consumption is also an advantage:

Load Power Consumption

The only advantage AMD offers is a fully unlocked CPU that can be overclocked as far as physics will allow. On our sample that meant 4.2GHz with the stock cooler. Given enough voltage hitting 4GHz+ on air isn't a problem:

Unfortunately even while overclocked the Phenom II X4 980 can't muster enough performance to put a stock Core i5 2400 to shame:

x264 HD 3.03 Benchmark - 2nd Pass

At 4.2GHz the 980 is fast enough to equal the 2400 in our x264 test and perhaps slightly surpass it in a benchmark that favors AMD's Phenom II architecture. But for the most part, even overclocked, the Phenom II X4 980 won't be worth it over Sandy Bridge.

SYSMark 2007 & Adobe Photoshop Performance
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  • silverblue - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    I've undervolted my 710. Makes virtually no difference to performance or stability and seemed like a good idea at the time. More people should do it. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - link

    This is ridiculous. BD is one month from launch, and llano has been shiiping for weeks. Yet you guys dont have a single benchmark of either. Or maybe you do and are just too spineless to post them. It is sad that we had better sources of information 10 years ago. Now there is nothing because everyone seems to care too much about NDAs. Who cares about NDAs? If you know someone who has the hardware you should post their review asap, and not worry about NDAs. What good does it do to release a review the same exact day as two dozen other sites? If you want more eggs sometimes you have to sacrifice a few chickens. Reply
  • AssBall - Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - link

    Who cares about NDAs??? Did you really just ask that?

    How about reviewers that enjoy getting engineering samples, new products to review, and support from the manufacturer's for free? How about any reputable, respectable, reviewer? How about anyone who frowns upon breaking a contract?

    And your chicken analogy is full of fail.
    Reply
  • heymrdj - Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - link

    I asked myself the same thing, did he really just ask that? Someone never took ethics courses, or has any ethics for that matter. Just because you want to drool like a baby over specs is no excuse to ask these reputable authors to break NDA. On the day of release feel more than free to go view any hardware site you wish. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - link

    Yeah well you must be a spineless chicken too. There are plenty of ways to get chips. All those engineering samples out there, and no one can get their hands on one? Yeah right. If all NDAs were broken there would be no NDAs. Your brain is full of fail if you cannot understand that. Just a bunch of spineless cowards. Reply
  • Makaveli - Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - link

    If its so easy to get one why don't you and post one on your own review site oo wait a min...... Reply
  • haplo602 - Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - link

    are you a total idiot ? it's called competitive advantage. if they would break the NDA, no engineering sample for them for the next round. if everybody breaks the NDA, no launch day reviews. that simple. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    The engineering samples would go to different people, but chances are one of them would hook up with someone who has the reputation for having some freakin cojones. Especially if money was involved. There IS money to be made in this way, and its not illegal. Again, it just takes cajones. Reply
  • AssBall - Thursday, May 05, 2011 - link

    You go find a web review site with "cajones" then, since you are so fond of them, and please leave the rest of us in peace while we wait for the non-half-ass Anandtech review after the NDA lifts. Reply
  • Makaveli - Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - link

    LMAO when you understand what an NDA is and why you shouldn't break it or alteast turn 18 then come back and post.

    Its obvious Common sense and logic ain't strong in your family.
    Reply

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