AMD Kick launched 2009 with blazing guns that launched their latest Phenom II X4 platform in early January. Although the launch consisted of only two processors, this was all AMD needed to compete with the Intel Core 2 Quad series.
The flagship model, also known as the Phenom II X4 940, debuted at just $ 270, while it is available today for the cheap basement price of $ 190. In terms of performance, we found that it closely matched the Core 2 Quad Q9650, which was $ 540 at the time, and was still around $ 330 today. This is an impressive achievement for AMD and offers the best value in this price range.
Today AMD is launching two new processors, the Phenom II X4 955 and 945, which are based on the same "Deneb" architecture, but with some notable changes. The most noticeable change is that these are AM3 processors and therefore can be used with either DDR2 or DDR3 memory. AM3 processors are also fully backward compatible with AM2 + motherboards.
Although it was originally speculated that AMD would increase the L3 cache of these new Phenom processors from 6MB to 8MB, this was not the case, and the Phenom II X4 955 still has the same 6MB as its predecessors. However, the processor reaches new heights for AMD in terms of operating frequency, which is designed for 3.2 GHz. This is the fastest clocked quad-core processor the company has ever released.
Despite these improvements, the Phenom II X4 955 remains affordable with a suggested initial retail value of $ 245. This new processor seems to have the potential to be the ultimate upgrade solution for AMD users, as it can be paired with AM2 + motherboards that were released in 2007.
Based on the prices, the Phenom II X4 955 could be best compared to the Core i7 920 ($ 290) and Core 2 Quad Q9550 ($ 270) processors, though it'll be a bit cheaper than both. However, not only the processor costs have to be taken into account here, since the Phenom II X4 955 can be used on both AM2 + and AM3 motherboards. While AMD expects DDR3 memory to become mainstream in 2010, the Phenom II X4 955 can initially be paired with extremely cheap DDR2 memory, postponing migration to DDR3 until it makes complete financial sense for consumers.