AMD Performance Midrange
The introduction of Phenom II has made putting together an AMD performance midrange a joy again. While the Phenom was an honest competitor at the price points where AMD chose to compete, the poor overclocking of the AMD Phenom compared to Intel Core 2 Quad processors was always a nagging reality. Phenom II changes all that, and AMD in 45nm clothes is once again a screaming overclocker. We reached 3.9GHz in our testing for the Phenom II launch with a Phenom II 940 CPU. That same CPU is the starting point for our AMD performance midrange PC.
|AMD Performance Midrange PC|
|Processor||Phenom II x4 940 Black Edition
(3.0GHzx4 125W 4x512KB L2, 6MB L3)
|Cooling||Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V||$40|
|Video||Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 1GB (After $20 Rebate)||$230|
|Motherboard||Foxconn A79A-S AM2+/AM2 790FX||$140|
|Memory||OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2-1066 Dual-Channel Kit OCZ2RPR10664GK 5-5-5-18 (after $15 Rebate)||$55|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000333AS 1TB||$90|
|Optical Drive||LG BD/HD DVD / 16x DVD+/- RW GGC-H20LK||$99|
|Audio||On Motherboard 8-channel||-|
|Case||Lian Li PC65B Black Aluminum Mid Tower||$100|
|Power Supply||Silverstone ST70F 700W SLI/CrossFire 80 Plus Modular (after $25 Rebate)||$100|
|Base System Total||$1069|
|Display||ASUS VW266H Black 25.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI WUXGA LCD Monitor (1920x1200) (after $30 Rebate)||$320|
|Speakers||Logitech G51 155W RMS 5.1 Speakers - Retail||$135|
|Input||Microsoft CA9-00001 Black PS/2 Standard Keyboard and Optical USB/PS2 Mouse - OEM||$16|
|Operating System||Microsoft Vista Home Premium OEM||$99|
|Complete System Bottom Line||$1639|
|SSD (Optional)||OCZ Vertex OCZSSD2-1VTX60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk||$209|
For detailed information on the Phenom II, please read our AMD Phenom II launch article and the follow-up Phenom II X4 810 and X3 720. The Phenom II 940 at 3.0GHz is the fastest of the currently shipping AMD Phenom II processors, but that will likely change in a few weeks. The Phenom II is very similar in L2/L3 cache configuration to the Intel Core i7. Performance is also similar to comparably priced Intel midrange chips. As the first 45nm AMD processors the Phenom II also overclocks very well, finally approaching the overclocking levels enjoyed by Intel since the introduction of the Core 2 Duo.
The Phenom II is not the hot CPU you find in the Core i7, but it still benefits from third party cooling - particularly if you plan to overclock. We paired the Phenom II 940 with the Xigmatek Dark Knight, which performed well in the lab. At $40 the Xigmatek is also an excellent cooling value.
Since the Phenom II 940 does not support DDR3, our DDR2+ motherboard was populated with a 4GB kit of OCZ Reaper HPC DDR2-1066. This memory is rated at a fast 5-5-5 at DDR2-1066 and it performs at faster timings and lower voltages at slower speeds. Whether you use it as a stock DDR2-1066 memory or overclock it to its limits, this OCZ memory should provide the headroom you need to bring out the best in this system.
The case for the Phenom II performance midrange system is the well-regarded Lian Li black all aluminum case. This Lian Li case has a reputation for exceptional quiet with its four 80mm fans with a fan speed controller and the excellent heat dissipation you expect from an all aluminum case. What is unique is the $40 savings on this case through the month of April, which reduces the cost to $100. There is even a side window for those who like a view of their working system.
Other components in the AMD performance midrange system are the same used in the Intel performance midrange. You can find descriptions and thumbnail images of those components on the previous page.