Enter The Dragon: AMD Phenom II X4 940 - HotHardware

Enter The Dragon: AMD Phenom II X4 940

1 thumbs up

 

AMD's new baby is the Phenom II X4 line-up of desktop processors. Like the original Phenoms that came before it, the new Phenom II X4 processors feature a native quad-core design, with a shared L3 cache, and they fit into current AM2+ sockets. There are quite a few changes under the hood, however, that give Phenom II processors a significant edge is power efficiency and performance over their predecessors, and there are more changes to come in the not too distant future. 


 
AMD Phenom II Architecture and Platform Details

The most significant change brought forth with the Phenom II X4 is AMD's use of a 45nm fabrication process to manufacture the chips. The transition to 45nm helped reduce power consumption somewhat, but has also allowed AMD to up the L3 cache to 6MB, while simultaneously shrinking the die to 258mm2 (65nm Phenoms are 285mm2). In addition to the 45nm switch, AMD also re-architected the execution cores to offer higher IPC through enhancements to the architecture, brand predictors, and remapping of the cores within the die. According to AMD, the changes made to the cache and execution cores offer up to 5% and 3% performance improvements, respectively, over the original Phenom design.

Also new to the Phenom II X4 series is a DDR2 and DDR3 compatible integrated memory controller. The first batch of Phenom II processors, like the ones we're looking at today, however, will only work with DDR2 memory. Finally, the new Phenom II X4 processors will be offered at higher frequencies than existing models. The Phenom II X4 920 and 940 we'll be showing you here are clocked at 2.8GHz and 3.0GHz, respectively. The 940 also happens to be a "Black Edition" processor, that ships with unlocked multipliers, for easier overclocking.

Speaking of overclocking, AMD has been touting the frequency headroom in these new processors from quite some time.  In fact, at a recent event, we saw one overclocked to over 5GHz--a vast improvement over the 65nm Phenoms.  We didn't quite get our sample to go that high, but still hit some respectable numbers.  More on that on the next page.
 

     
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition

As we've already mentioned, the first two Phenom II X4 processors to be introduced will use the same AM2+ packaging as existing Phenom processors. That means these new chips will be compatible with existing DDR2 platforms, after a BIOS update of course. Future Phenom II processors will employ AMD's socket AM3, which will usher in support for DDR3 memory.

We should note, that future AM3-based Phenom II X4 processors will be backwards compatible with AM2 and AM2+ platforms, and work with DDR2 or DDR3 memory types. But these current AM2+ Phenom II X4 processors will not be forward compatible with AM3/DDR3 platforms.

Article Index:

1 2 Next
0
+ -

I am excited for this release....more competition in the CPU market is never a bad thing (and I've been Jones-ing for an AMD build for some reason).

I am worried however that AM3 mobos are going to be priced similiar to i7 mobo's .... anyone have word on this at all? I certainly do not mind spending $250 on a CPU but I will never spend more than $150 on a mobo (just me being stubborn I suppose).

0
+ -

Hopefully when the Phenom II CPU's are tested on the AM3 socket and with DDR3 memory, they'll beat, or match the Core i7 CPUs. Yes

0
+ -

No official word on AM3 mobo pricing just yet, but I would bet the farm AMD will undercut Core i7 mobo pricing by a considerable margin.

0
+ -

Kinda underwelmed with the performance. For the price though wow. I'm not even considering the i7s because of the high price tag for the platform. I wonder if the DDR3 phenoms will edge out the core2quads?

0
+ -

looking foward in getting a AMD system :) and i know what to get thanks marc for that review!

0
+ -

Performance loox quite good actually... shows promise! While they may not be able to compete neck & neck with the i7 lineup, competetive pricing will make them a viable option. I've never had an AMD system before, but am not opposed to the idea. Once the platform has completely matured, I may get a top of the line Phenom II to replace my Intel dual core. Ultimately pricing will be the determining factor on what I get next and I suspect that AMD is well aware of this and will set prices accordingly.

0
+ -

For the money this is an excellent package. I may break my long going Intel run and build an AMD PHENOM II.

0
+ -

marco it was November of 2007, not 2008 when the spider platform came out lol. Im thinking you have had this article written before 2009.

Im glad you guys like to do benchmarks, but do you think you could do some that are not MADE for intel chips? POV and cinibench are heavily setup for intel based chips and can take advantage of more SSE instructions.

0
+ -

Good catch. Fixed. If you have other tests you'd like me to run moving forward, just let me know and I'll see if I can include them. But keep in mind, Phenom II supports SSE, SSE2, SSE3, and SSE4A instructions.

0
+ -

Good read. I think once AM3 comes out i7 will drop in price to match the AMD Mobo's. Still it looks like AMD is some what back in the game...

1 2 Next
Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: