The Economic Problem

For the consumer, AMD's pricing strategy is incredible. For AMD and its shareholders however, the pricing is a bit tough. The Phenom II X4 940 is priced similarly to the Core 2 Quad Q9400, a chip that is 36% smaller than AMD's offering. The Phenom II X4 810 goes up against the Q8300, again, a chip that's 36% smaller. The Phenom II X3 720 is even worse shape; AMD is selling a chip that's 258 mm2 at the same price Intel sells a 82 mm2 chip; that's a 68% smaller die at the same price.

AMD CPU AMD Die Size Competitive Intel CPU Competitive Intel Die Size Intel Size Advantage
AMD Phenom II X4 900 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9xxx/Q8xxx 164 mm2 36%
AMD Phenom II X4 800 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Quad Q8xxx 164 mm2 36%
AMD Phenom II X3 700 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Duo E7xxx series 82 mm2 68%


AMD in many cases delivers greater performance than the similarly priced Intel CPUs, but not nearly a large enough performance gap to make up for the difference in die size. Again, great for consumers, but potentially painful for AMD in the long run. As yields improve AMD should be able to make more of these cores members of the 900 family, but without a separate, smaller die there will still be economic inefficiencies at the lower end.

The Core 2 Duo E7500, Intel's high-margin competitor to the Phenom II X3 700 series

Index AMD Flirts with DDR3


View All Comments

  • Casper42 - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    In the Sysmark benchmark results, you have the following comment:

    Against to its Intel competition, the Phenom II X3 720 falls short of the Core 2 Duo E7500 and the E8400. The X4 810 also falls short of one of its intended targets: the Q8200.

    While the X3 720 does fall to the E7500 (didnt bother comparing against E8400), the second line about the X4 810 losing out to the Q8200 is totally unfounded. The Sysmark results have the AMD chip losing in only 1 test set and the AMD wimming in the other 4 or 5.

    I would probably buy the Intel anyway in today's market, but you should at least keep your review as honest and accurate as possible.
  • Lokinhow - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    I've seen some scores with the X4 810 at ~3.7GHz, but not with a 2.7GHz NB clock.
    That would be nice to see some benchmarks at this clock speeds to know what is the boost in performance with a so higher nb clock speed.
    Including a simillar clocked Core2Duo would be very nice too.

    ps: yeah, my english is not so great, so sorry if there is some gramatical erros ;D
  • TA152H - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    I'm really surprised that no one there put any thought into testing the difference between the memory controller and L3 cache running at 2.0 GHz instead of 1.8 GHz.

    I mean, you have a BE edition, with the 940, so what would have prevented you from running at at, say 2.6 GHz, like the 920, putting them on the same platform, and then benching them so we could see the difference the "uncore" speed makes.

    It's really an important consideration, because obviously AMD will be releasing Phenom II's at 2.8 and 3.0 GHz, with 2.0 GHz uncore speeds, on AM3, and it helps people make a decision whether to wait or not. With AM2+ is shackled with DDR2 (I don't buy that there's no difference between DDR2 and DDR3, especially when other websites have identified them to be roughly 2%), the degenerate speed of the uncore could exacerbate this issue.

    My other question is, does the uncore on the 910, et al, still run at 2.0 GHz when running in the AM2, and AM2+ platforms? I don't see why it would, but anything is possible.

    I think two sets of benchmarks would be interesting. An underclocked 940 (to 2.6 GHz) versus a 910 processor. One on an AM2+ (yes, it's obsolete, but people will still buy it for a while) with the exact same memory. This assumes, of course, the uncore runs at 2 GHz for the 910 on this platform. The other is the 940 in its obsolete platform running at 2.6 GHz, against the 910 running on the modern AM3 platform, with high performance memory. If you really want to be thorough, you can run the 910 on both the AM3 and AM2+, each with the best memory available for it. I think these would all be helpful.
  • jchan2 - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Any word if there will be a Phenom II Black Edition in the near future? Reply
  • WillR - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Do you mean another Phenom II Black Edition? Is the 940 not good enough for you? Reply
  • jchan2 - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Why not? Imagine the ghz you can gain if there was one. AMD did it before, why not now? Reply
  • jchan2 - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Nvm, didn't realize the 940 was already BE

  • WillR - Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - link

    Yep. And it makes sense imo for only the highest clocked quad core and the highest clocked tri core to be Black Editions rather than also having an 8xx BE. I've heard they should have a 990 BE out Q3 or Q4 this year. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Such as the 720 Black Edition tested here? Reply
  • jchan2 - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Yeah, besides the 720 such as the 800 or 900 series. Reply

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