As much as AMD has been ridiculed for its expensive purchase of ATI, the only part of the combined company that’s actually producing exciting product these days is the graphics division. Hot on the heels of the release of the Radeon HD 4800 series AMD has three new Phenom processors...unfortunately this isn’t an architectural change, and what we have today are two lower clocked and one higher clocked model.

The first processor is the Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition. Clocked at 2.6GHz, the Black Edition moniker indicates that it ships completely unlocked. Unfortunately the unlocked nature doesn’t really help you too much as the 65nm Phenoms aren’t really able to scale much beyond 2.7GHz consistently, so it’s mostly a marketing feature (Update: With some of our motherboard issues out of the way, detailed later on, we may be able to challenge this limit with the 9950.  More results coming).

The next two are potentially more interesting, AMD is introducing the Phenom X4 9350e and 9150e. The little-e indicates that these are energy efficient processors, in fact they are AMD’s first quad-core Phenoms to carry a 65W TDP (the rest of the lineup is 95W, 125W or 140W).

Unfortunately AMD doesn’t achieve these low TDPs by simply power binning its Phenom processors, instead what we’ve got here are two very low-clocked Phenom CPUs: 2.0GHz and 1.8GHz, respectively. By reducing clock speed and lowering the core voltage, AMD was able to hit a 65W TDP (something we’ll prove a little later). The 9150e also uses a lower North Bridge clock of 1.6GHz instead of 1.8GHz for the majority of the Phenom line.

AMD's New Pricing

Without an updated architecture, AMD simply can't compete with Intel's Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad lines - however, as we saw with the Athlon X2, by dropping its prices AMD can turn an uncompetitive part into a reasonable contender. With the Phenom re-launch AMD became a viable alternative to Intel and beginning next week, AMD will begin dropping prices on its entire lineup of Phenom X3 and X4 CPUs:

Cores Clock Speed Max NB Frequency HT Frequency TDP L2 Cache L3 Cache 1 Ku Price
AMD Phenom X4 9950 4 2.6GHz 2.0GHz 2.0GHz 140W 2MB 2MB $235
AMD Phenom X4 9850 4 2.5GHz 2.0GHz 2.0GHz 125W 2MB 2MB $205
AMD Phenom X4 9750 4 2.4GHz 1.8GHz 1.8GHz 125W 2MB 2MB $215
AMD Phenom X4 9650 4 2.3GHz 1.8GHz 1.8GHz 95W 2MB 2MB $195
AMD Phenom X4 9550 4 2.2GHz 1.8GHz 1.8GHz 95W 2MB 2MB $175
AMD Phenom X4 9350e 4 2.0GHz 1.8GHz 1.8GHz 65W 2MB 2MB $195
AMD Phenom X4 9150e 4 1.8GHz 1.6GHz 1.6GHz 65W 2MB 2MB $175
AMD Phenom X3 8750 3 2.4GHz 1.8GHz 1.8GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $175
AMD Phenom X3 8650 3 2.3GHz 1.8GHz 1.8GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $145
AMD Phenom X3 8450 3 2.1GHz 1.8GHz 1.8GHz 95W 1.5MB 2MB $125

The new Phenom X4 9950 will occupy the $235 space, which will push the 9850 down to $215. The Phenom 9750 (no official price change) will go away temporarily to make room for the new chips at the high end, leaving the 9650 at $195 and the 9550 at $175. Then we have the new e-edition processors which are overpriced at $195 and $175 for the 9350e and 9150e, respectively.

The X3s get particularly interesting, we're expecting the 8750 to end up in the $170 - $180 range, the 8650 will be a $140 - $150 part and the 8450 will be AMD's answer to the E7200 at $120 - $130.

The price cuts themselves aren't tremendous, but they should be enough to make AMD even more competitive than the last time we visited this issue.

Intel Makes 45nm Affordable


View All Comments

  • Sylvanas - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - link

    Wheres the 9950BE overclocking results? It is an unlocked CPU so what about Overclocking the NB? What performance difference does that bring? I doubt people that buy IGP's are going to overclocking much anyway since they are usually silent HTPC rigs... Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - link

    The 9950BE overclocking results are coming in a different article. Unfortunately, our 790FX boards (they have been beat on for six months) were not exactly up to speed and we thought it would be better to not show anything instead of a 2.8GHz clock that obviously is not representative of the processor at this point.

    Also, most of our previous results were run on the 780G, a chipset that when tuned correctly and on a good board will outclock the 790FX with a discreet graphics card by the way. Jetway just released a fairly comprehensive BIOS for their new 780G we ended up using after the others started failing. We just received BIOS updates for the 780a boards and have a new 790FX/SB750 arriving shortly for a CF/SLI update on AMD (gaming is not that bad by the way on the Phenom for the mid-range market).

    Increasing the NB core (IMC) clock (in Phenom it runs async from the Core Speed unlike Athlon which is Sync) drops latencies (especially L3) and increases memory performance/throughput, which in turn improves system performance. The Phenom starts to come to life when you hit a 2.6GHz core speed with a NB core clock at 2200MHz+. Depending on the application and CPU, increasing NB core speeds (getting up to 2200MHz+) can result in performance differences from 3%~12% in most cases.

    Almost as important is increasing HT speed for further optimizing the pipeline links (CPU/Memory/PCIe,etc). Our 9950BE follow up will have an overclocking guide along with optimization details.
  • Sylvanas - Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - link

    Excellent, thanks for the info Gary- I look forward to the follow up 9950BE overclocking article. If there is some info on the SB750 aswell that's even better :) Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - link

    AMD post X2 = ROFLMAO

    The C&Q thing is probably another respin waiting to happen. What a bunch of boobs.
  • acejj26 - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - link

    what's a seccond?
    why didn't you include the 9950 in the first page of benchmarks?
    is the 9960 a new processor from AMD?

    i've come to expect these errors from other staff writers, but not you Anand.
  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - link

    why are you using 780G to overclock and check stability on the same article you say how someone else wrote an article about how that is a bad idea because of power...

    you even say at the bottom of your overclocking page, a mere footnote, that you got higher clocks on a different platform
  • js01 - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - link

    I think they scale much better then that hothardware got the 9950be to 3.1ghz barely even trying and the 9350e to 2.7ghz.">
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - link

    It depends on the board and CPU actually. We have a retail 9850BE that will do 3.3, but three others struggle to make it to 2.8. Until we see some consistency in the retail parts, we would rather play it safe with the comments. A separate overclocking article is on its way though with the new lineup. :) Reply
  • woofermazing - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - link

    Odd that you guys couldn't get any OC out of the 9950. Results from other sites have been pretty impressive using the stock cooler. 3.6ghz is the highest of seen so far. Reply
  • Clauzii - Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - link

    I second that!

    PS: And why does the comment page keep looking like pre-95 internet :O (I'm on FF3)

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