Today we report the official launch of the new AMD Phenom II X4 processors. The flagship of this new series is the Phenom II X4 940, which operates at 3.0 GHz, while the 920 at 2.80 GHz is only slightly slower. Both processors should soon be commercially available and compatible with all current AM2 + motherboards, provided they are supported with an updated BIOS.
Based on the AMD 45nm Deneb core, the new Phenom II CPUs were eagerly awaited, in the hope that they could keep up with the dominant Core 2 Quad and, most recently, the devastating Core i7 series, with which Intel is deploying has increased and most likely positioned its closest competitor in further trouble.
While the Core i7 is fundamentally different from anything Intel has recently developed and requires a new socket design and chipset support, the Phenom II X4 works with the same AM2 + socket as previous Phenom models. Ultimately, this can only work in favor of AMD.
On the same assumption, it seems that the Phenom II is not out to steal the performance crown, but to try to undercut the Core i7 and deliver top-notch performance at a fraction of the cost. We're not closing the book on the performance of AMD's new Phenom II X4 processors, but at least on paper we don't see how a slight frequency boost, more L3 cache, and some additional instructions can give you the leverage to compete exist above. While it is disappointing that AMD is again lagging behind Intel, it still offers great alternatives for consumers.
As we mentioned in our recent Core i7 platform articles, you will get back no less than $ 700 with the basic components for building such a system. What AMD has to use here is the value that they can offer with the Phenom II, similar to what they do in the graphics world with the very successful Radeon HD 4000 series.
We'll next discuss some of the changes and improvements to the Phenom II X4 processors, and then our benchmark comparison tests, which include a Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core i7, and a previous generation Phenom system.