Just two weeks ago, AMD launched its new Phenom II X4 processors. As we learned in our review, the flagship model, also known as the Phenom II X4 940, is comparable to its Core 2 quad competition. This is great news for AMD, which has lagged Intel significantly before this launch.
When reviewing the Phenom II, we pointed out that Intel can respond with price cuts, which is not surprising that this was the case last week. AMD followed just a day later, making the Phenom II X4 940 now available for $ 235 ($ 275), which is roughly equivalent to a Core 2 Quad Q9400.
Now we're not pretending to forget Intel's current high-performance processor, the Core i7, whose 920 model sells for $ 300. With the recent price cuts, Intel has ensured that the Core i7 no longer benefits from its Core 2 sales. This plan also works for AMD, which can compete with the Core 2 in terms of performance and value, but would remain completely empty if they wanted to compete at the Core i7 level.
However, the Core i7 platform requires a more expensive Intel X58 motherboard and DDR3 memory, which makes it a league of its own. The Phenom II X4, on the other hand, can be integrated into an existing AM2 + system and uses inexpensive DDR2 memory. A real bargain hunter is likely to see value in the new Phenom II X4, especially now that it has some overclocking capabilities.
In our Phenom II X4 test, we showed some preliminary overclocking results. With an air cooler, we achieved a stable frequency of 3.60 GHz with the 940. Although a 20% increase in clock speed seems small compared to the overclocking we've received from Core 2 Duo processors in recent years, it's still a massive improvement over the original phenomena.
The most important thing is not how far you can overclock the Phenom II X4, but how well it scales and therefore works after overclocking.
We'll find out when we push the Phenom II X4 940 through a series of tests at 3.60 GHz. It will also face stiff competition from a range of Intel Core 2 and Core i7 processors. And of course we will show you how you could get this overclocking out of the Phenom II X4.