Die size hasn’t changed, clock speeds barely went up, and performance per clock also remained static. But what’s this?

Ah yes, AMD is improving its 45nm manufacturing process and today we have the latest incarnation of AMD’s 45nm silicon.

The first versions of AMD’s 45nm Phenom II couldn’t really go much higher than the final 65nm Phenom without increasing voltage. By comparison, Intel’s Core i7 920 could go from 2.66GHz all the way up to 3.80GHz without so much as a single extra millivolt in our tests.

This new Phenom II however can also hit 3.80GHz without increasing the core voltage. At least that’s what one of our samples did in our testing. Whether it’s 3.8GHz or 3.6GHz, the fact of the matter is that AMD’s 45nm process is improving and that’s what’s behind todays introduction of the Phenom II X4 955. Architecturally the Phenom II hasn't changed; if you're curious about what makes these things tick, please look at our original article on the CPU.

Clocked at 3.2GHz with a 2.0GHz un-core (or North Bridge) frequency, the 955 isn’t that much different from the 940 in terms of clock speed. The two face off in the table below:

CPU Clock Speed un-core Clock (NB Frequency) Die Size Transistor Count TDP Socket
Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz 2.0GHz 258 mm2 758M 125W AM3 or AM2+
Phenom II X4 940 3.0GHz 1.8GHz 258 mm2 758M 125W AM2+

 

This is a Socket-AM3 part, meaning it can work in both DDR2 based Socket-AM2+ motherboards and DDR3 based Socket-AM3 motherboards. There’s a huge compatibility caveat about AM2+ support but I’ll address that shortly. The Phenom II X4 955 is also a Black Edition part, meaning it has an unlocked clock multiplier for easy overclocking.

Along with the 955 there’s also a 945 being introduced today. The 945 is identical to the 940 in core clock speed but has a 2.0GHz un-core and is also AM3 compatible.

Processor Clock Speed un-core Clock L2 Cache L3 Cache TDP Price
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 3.2GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 6MB 125W $245
AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 6MB 125W $225
AMD Phenom II X4 940 BE 3.0GHz 1.8GHz 2MB 6MB 125W $225
AMD Phenom II X4 920 2.8GHz 1.8GHz 2MB 6MB 125W $195
AMD Phenom II X4 910 2.6GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 6MB 95W $???
AMD Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 4MB 95W $175
AMD Phenom II X4 805 2.5GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 4MB 95W $???
AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE 2.8GHz 2.0GHz 1.5MB 6MB 95W $145
AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz 2.0GHz 1.5MB 6MB 95W $125
AMD Phenom 9950 2.6GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 2MB 140W $173

 

The prices are pretty attractive; the 955 will sell for $245 (and it already has been) and the 945 will go for $225. That pits the 955 against Intel’s Core 2 Duo Q9550 ($266) and the Core i7-920 ($284), the latter having a much higher motherboard cost of course.

Processor Price
Intel Core i7-920 (2.66GHz) $284
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 (3.00GHz) $316
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz) $266
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 (2.66GHz) $213
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 (2.66GHz) $183
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 (2.50GHz) $183
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 (2.33GHz) $163

 

And you know how I love spoiling surprises so here you have it. Unless you’re running applications that are very well optimized for Intel’s architectures, the Phenom II X4 955 is faster than the Core 2 Quad Q9550. Compared to the Core i7-920, it loses hands down although the chip does come close in some games.

Sorry, I’m not much of a tease :) Now for the rest of the article.

Painfully Backwards Compatible
POST A COMMENT

62 Comments

View All Comments

  • dragonsphere - Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - link

    I read articles like this all the time for multiple websites. I am a professional application performance tester and I can tell you that most of these articles are junk just to stir up the masses. Most of their statistics are based on averages. This means that 51% of the time they are wrong. Have you noticed that none of them show confidence tests to prove that their data is accurate? Also they don't use 90th percentiles. I think this is due to the lack of the tools that they are using to generate these sub-standard statistics. Until the software they are using is more precise I would consider these tests to be junk science. Reply
  • cal954 - Saturday, May 02, 2009 - link

    Thanks for all the information. I used this model to build my first computer, although no matter what I try to do, my CPU-Z never shows me the multiplier being anything but 4.0 and I can't get my core speed above 800 even w/ CnQ disabled. Reply
  • Hamlet2000 - Saturday, May 09, 2009 - link

    You need to update your bios on your motherboard. I had the exact same thing with my new Phenom II 955 build on a Gigabyte board. Once you update, go into your bios and set the clock at 200 x 16. You'll notice the speed difference right away - it's a smoking fast CPU! Reply
  • Edgemeal - Monday, April 27, 2009 - link

    Geez, some of you people make it sound like AMD has to have the fastest CPU in the market or they just aren't any good or something!

    AMD knows what their chip/PC parts are worth in the market place and their price/performance fits in very nicely. I applaud AMD, without them you'd be reading about the new $900 2GHz P4s right about now LOL!
    Reply
  • swapnadip - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    Either AnandTech is Intel fan or Intel pays them hefty Loyalty.

    If not, then why every other reviewieng site shows AMD PHENOM 2 X4 955 BE defeating Core i7 940 on evey computing prospects.

    On some instances it has bashed on Core i7 965 extreme.

    This is pretty much biased and helping INTEL play their MONOPOLOY in this sector. In today's market, no two rivals can have their top of line product bearing differences of Day and Night like shown in this review.

    Thanks
    Reply
  • swapnadip - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    Either AnandTech is Intel fan or Intel pays them hefty Loyalty.

    If not, then why every other reviewieng site shows AMD PHENOM 2 X4 955 BE defeating Core i7 940 on evey computing prospects.

    On some instances it has bashed on Core i7 965 extreme.

    This is pretty much biased and helping INTEL play their MONOPOLOY in this sector. In today's market, no two rivals can have their top of line product bearing differences of Day and Night like shown in this review.

    Thanks
    Reply
  • swapnadip - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    Either AnandTech is Intel fan or Intel pays them hefty Loyalty.

    If not, then why every other reviewieng site shows AMD PHENOM 2 X4 955 BE defeating Core i7 940 on evey computing prospects.

    On some instances it has bashed on Core i7 965 extreme.

    This is pretty much biased and helping INTEL play their MONOPOLOY in this sector. In today's market, no two rivals can have their top of line product bearing differences of Day and Night like shown in this review.

    Thanks
    Reply
  • iFX - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    PII 940 BE = $189.99 on Newegg right now and for the last week+
    PII 940 BE = $189.99 on Newegg right now and for the last week+
    PII 940 BE = $189.99 on Newegg right now and for the last week+
    PII 940 BE = $189.99 on Newegg right now and for the last week+
    PII 940 BE = $189.99 on Newegg right now and for the last week+
    PII 940 BE = $189.99 on Newegg right now and for the last week+
    PII 940 BE = $189.99 on Newegg right now and for the last week+

    ----

    Why is it every AMD article on this site has errors?
    Reply
  • wowo - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    how x264?x264 benchmark 2.0 is very old .

    it is 819,but new x264 is 1139.intel is better for 1139 a lot.

    please test wirh new x264.
    Reply
  • ultrageek1111 - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    you know what they say about black processors... Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now