Enter The Dragon: AMD Phenom II X4 940

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The new Phenom II X4 920 and 940 are easily the most powerful desktop processors released from AMD to date. They performed well throughout our entire battery of benchmark tests, besting AMD's previous flagship CPU, the Phenom X4 9950 virtually across the board. Unfortunately, the new Phenom II X4 920 and 940 could quite keep pace with Intel's Penryn-based Core 2 Quads or Nehalem-based Core i7s. The Phenom II X4 managed to pull ahead of the Q9400, Q9650, and i7 920 on a few instances, but overall Intel's platform was still faster. The gap has closed quite a bit, however.

We get the feeling these first two Phenom II X4 processors are just the tip of the iceberg. If our overclocking results are any indicator, AMD will likely be ramping up clock speeds on the Phenom II in the not too distant future, most likely when the DDR3-capable versions are ready. There's a good probability the next spin of these chips will be able to hit higher frequencies, that, in addition to the increased bandwidth that will be afforded by DDR3 memory, and potentially some tweaks on the chipset / motherboard level, should push the Dragon platform's overall performance up a few more percentage points, which will put them right on top of Intel's Core 2. Time will tell. 

For now, expect the Phenom II X4 940 and 920 to hit store shelves with prices of $275 and $235, respectively. That puts them right on par pricewise with the Q9400, which is about where they should be. The total cost of ownership, however, will still be somewhat lower with the Dragon platform though, as 7-series motherboards and DDR2 memory are quite affordable at this time. These new chips will also drop into most existing AM2+ platforms, which may make them attractive upgrade options to current AMD owners--if your current motherboard supports 125W (or higher) Phenoms, it should support Phenom II as well. 



  • Highly Overclockable
  • Low Power Consumption
  • Strong Performance
  • Affordably Priced
  • Not Quite as Fast as Core 2
  • Phenom II X4 920 and 940 not AM3 DDR3 compatible

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