AMD has been pretty active on the CPU front lately, last month we saw the Phenom re-launch with the B3-stepping 50-series quad-core processors and today AMD is unveiling its 50-series triple-core parts.

We've got the lineup below:

Cores Stepping Clock Speed TDP L2 Cache L3 Cache 1 Ku Price
AMD Phenom X4 9850 4 B3 2.5GHz 125W 2MB 2MB $235
AMD Phenom X4 9750 4 B3 2.4GHz 125W 2MB 2MB $215
AMD Phenom X4 9550 4 B3 2.2GHz 95W 2MB 2MB $209
AMD Phenom X3 8750 3 B3 2.4GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $195
AMD Phenom X3 8650 3 B3 2.3GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $165
AMD Phenom X3 8450 3 B3 2.1GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $145

Note that all three of the triple-core parts are 50-series CPUs, meaning they are based on the B3 stepping and do not suffer from the TLB erratum that plagued the early Phenom processors. AMD continues to ship B2 stepping CPUs, but most of them are to OEMs that aren't as concerned with the performance hit associated with the software TLB fix.

Pricing is also pretty interesting, as the top end Phenom X3 8750 is only $20 cheaper than the quad-core Phenom X4 9750 despite running at the same clock speed. The X3 8650 and 8450 are far more interesting as both of them are priced closer to $150.

There's now some overlap between AMD's triple-core Phenom and dual-core Athlon X2 offerings in terms of price, have a look:

Cores Clock Speed TDP L2 Cache L3 Cache 1 Ku Price
AMD Phenom X3 8750 3 2.4GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $195
AMD Phenom X3 8650 3 2.3GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $165
AMD Phenom X3 8450 3 2.1GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $145
AMD Athlon X2 6400+ 2 3.2GHz 125W 2MB 0MB $178
AMD Athlon X2 6000+ 2 3.0GHz 125W 2MB 0MB $167
AMD Athlon X2 5600+ 2 2.8GHz 89W 2MB 0MB $146

The Athlon X2s still hold a tremendous clock speed advantage, but Phenom can do more work per clock. It will be interesting to see if three Phenom cores at 2.1GHz are a better buy than two Athlon X2 cores at 2.8GHz.

Why Bother with Three Cores?


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  • Locutus465 - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    I just upgraded my system to the following last night (running vista ultimate ed. 64bit).

    AMD Phenom 9850be (at stock speed for now, with packaged heatsink).
    4GB OCz DDR2 800 memory (at stock speed)
    ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe / WiFi-AP AMD 790FX
    DIAMOND Viper Radeon HD 3870
    Soundblaster x-fi Fatal1ty

    The rest of my system stayed the same, primary hdd = WD Caviar SATA 7200RPM, secondary = Segate SATA 7200RPM, page file running off of secondary disc rather than system disc etc.

    I can tell you right now that the all AMD platform is very strong. As my primary display I have a 19" LCD running 1280x1024 and I run all games with all graphics options set to max and never get below 70FPS on any game I know how to pull the FPS for. I'm able to run crysis very smoothly at the same resolution with medium graphics settings, I have not yet tried cranking things up though. Additionally I've had to take some of my work home which delt with converting a 3GB pipe delimited file in to several smaller files then converting those into valid CSV files (using excel), on my new system this process was very quick. For your reference below is a list of every game I've tried on my system, they ALL play silky smooth.

    Doom 3
    Quake 4
    Age of Empires III
    Half Life 2
    Half Life 2 EP1

    *only game I don't have graphics/audio settings fully maxed on.

    Since upgrading I've also taken to gaming on my 720P Toshi DLP using the DVI to HDMI converter packaged with my video card and audio running through my AVR via multi-channel analog inputs. All I have to say is damn is that fun!!!
  • Ensoph42 - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    I don't understand why every review I've seen for the Phenoms use DDR2-800. I thought one of the perks was that you were supposed to use DDR2-1066 to get max performance. Someone explain this to me. Reply
  • niva - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    I have a phenom 9600 with 8Gb of RAM, I had major issues getting the RAM to 1066 and remaining stable, simply stayed with 800 for stability reasons. Then again, I don't play games much so I'm not concerned about squeezing out an extra 1-5% performance for the sake of stability.

    Of course I didn't play with this too much, maybe I was doing something wrong but I've not found a good guide saying exactly what I need to set for the system to remain stable.
  • Ensoph42 - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    I hear you. Although is it that your mem is rated at 800 and wont OC to 1066? Or rated for 1066 but just isn't stable period at that speed?

    However the GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H, that is used in the review, has a memory standard of DDR2-1066. One of the selling points of the Phenom, I believed, was the memory controller supported DDR2-1066.

    I found this link here that takes a look at performance differences. I havent given it a close read since it's late, and seems limited but:">

  • perzy - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    Well unless the software is as well written as Unreal engine 3 (Tim Sweeney is a god),in 95% of the programs avrege Joe use (including windows itself) there is very little advantage even going from singlecore to dualcore!
    Which brings me to my question: Whats really going on with the 'Heat wall' 'Frequenzy wall' or whatever you call it that Intel hit so hard in 2004(-ish) ? (remember the throttling superhot 3.8 GHz P4's ?)
    What all users really need is higher frequenzy! Why arn't we getting it?
  • Clauzii - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    The frequency wall can be considered like cooking the electrons off of the DIE-surface, which is not so good. High frequency=High heat. Now Youre thinking, "But IBM got 6GHz?". It's a different design philosophy: Simpler pipeline, faster frequency.

    Until ALL programs/OSes support multi-threaded programs, we are bound to single-threaded OR the pseudo Hyperthreading which can do SOME multithreading, depending on the Code & Data used.

    If I've used a 8 GHz machine to write this on, I would still only be able to see the cursor rate one pr. sec.

    What I think we need are (even more!) intelligent CPUs (GPUs). If a CPU or GPU knew approx. what kind of performance and usage of power a program needs, a more sofisticated power scheme could be possible??

    Until then, All I know is that evolution goes forward. Not always fast, but forward :)
  • Nehemoth - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    ...(or give up 200MHz and get a quad-core X3 9550 at the same price)...

    Should be Quad-Core X4 no X3
  • MrBlastman - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    I'd like to see them include the X2 6400 in the benchmarks as well. I see that they might be trying to get the pricing in line, but for an AMD user looking to upgrade, all I really am considering right now is a 6400, X3 or X4, nothing else.

    The UT 3 benchmarks shed some hope for the Phenoms as they show with a properly coded game, the X4's can remain competitive. I still wish to this day they'd release 3+ GHz phenoms :(
  • ImmortalZ - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    Any MPEG4 AVC video encoded at Profile 4.1 or lower is fully accelerated by today's GPUs. Scene releases from the past few months confirm to this - and even with this, most of the older release are still compatible given you use the proper filters. Reply
  • ImmortalZ - Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - link

    * By Profile I meant Level. Reply

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