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AMD Hardware

45nm Phenom II Matches Core 2 Quad, Trails Core i7 234

An anonymous reader writes "AMD recently debuted its 45nm Phenom II processors, and The Tech Report has already run them through a complete suite of benchmarks to see how they perform compared to Intel's latest and greatest. The new 2.8GHz and 3GHz Phenom IIs are in a dead heat with like-priced Core 2 Quads, but they generally fall well behind Intel's new Core i7 chips. TR concludes that AMD's future doesn't look as bleak as some say, and future Phenom IIs could compete favorably with more affordable Core i7 derivatives."
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45nm Phenom II Matches Core 2 Quad, Trails Core i7

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:29AM (#26386837)

    is that its not the code you actually will run.

  • Good... but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:36AM (#26386933) Journal

    The main problem is that AMD is doing the exact same thing Intel did when the P4 was out: they went to a smaller litho process, slapped on cache, and cranked up the clockspeed. If you read the review carefully you'll note that while the new Phenoms are faster than some Core 2 quads, they are not faster on a clock-for-clock basis. Remember back when AMD was leading in that category and it was such a big deal?
        As of right now the Phenoms are a good deal IF you already own an AM2+ mobo... otherwise they are not a good deal for 2 reasons: 1. AMD is coming out with the incompatible AM3 socket that will use DDR3 memory in the next few months, so these current chips will have a very short shelf life; 2. Intel doesn't have to do any innovation at all to beat these chips, all it has to do is drop the prices on current Core 2 quads like the 9550 that outperform the Phenoms but are currently priced higher... dropping prices ain't rocket science and there are rumors these cuts could be coming by the end of the month.
          As for the Core i7, sure it is more expensive, but even the 920 model appears to wail on these chips, and there is a whole lot more future-proofness in buying a low-end i7 right now. Interestingly, the review mentions the new Phenoms have 758 million transistors which means they have about 27 million more transistors than Nehalem... but Nehalem at 2.66 Ghz is easily beating a Phenom at 3.0Ghz. It looks like what AMD really needs is a new architecture, but that does not appear to be coming any time soon.

  • Re:Good... but... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2009 @11:55AM (#26387215)

    If you read the review carefully you'll note that while the new Phenoms are faster than some Core 2 quads, they are not faster on a clock-for-clock basis. Remember back when AMD was leading in that category and it was such a big deal?

    No, I don't remember that, because I never cared about it. I cared about performance per dollar, and I remember when AMD was leading in that category. And they're still doing .. ehhh .. ok.

    It's true that if I bought a new low or mid-end computer right now, it would probably have a core2duo. But that flips every few months as prices change. And if my budget were bigger (e.g. $2k-$3k for the whole box) it would consist of multiple Opterons and it would rip the head off anything buildable out of Intel parts (though i7 may change that too).

  • Re:Good... but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wild_berry ( 448019 ) * on Friday January 09, 2009 @12:06PM (#26387381) Journal

    The price cut is the clincher. I disagree that the compatibility with motherboards is an issue: all the reviews I've read describe an AM2+/AM3 hybrid part that supports both DDR2 and DDR3 which will allow you to upgrade the MB and RAM and keep the processor.

    AMD needing a new architecture is a myth: Changing the microarchitecture underneath the AMD64 set isn't going to yield enough improvement to make it totally worthwhile. Their pipeline length and IPC count are comparable to Intel, but AMD's smaller research team, budget and fabrication facilities mean that Intel's chips get implementation advances that AMD can't quite match. And then Intel get to control the prices in the marketplace due to their capacity and margins (although the increased availability of smaller dies in Phenom II will help AMD quite a bit). AMD are skewered by Intel's size and their ongoing debt write-offs of buying ATI. However, changing the game to incorporate Radeon-style parallel pipelines is a different story.

  • by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @12:11PM (#26387431)

    I don't know about most people, but when I budget for a new build I budget the entire thing as a single purchase. So if the CPU+mobo+RAM cost $200 less I will put that money into faster graphics or more memory or a nicer display or whatever.

    I suspect it's a small, small group who buy the best that's available on the market with no concern for an overall budget.

  • Re:Good... but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday January 09, 2009 @12:24PM (#26387619) Homepage

    The thing really is though is that the Core2 and the X2 really are still "good enough". Most people really are not dieing for a faster PC. The Atom is the right now the most interesting CPU around.

    Yeah, I've been thinking about that. For most businesses and individuals I talk to (and/or support), do you know what they use their computer for? Checking e-mail, surfing the web, writing papers/letters, holding their music collection and loading their iPods, and storing their digital pictures. They don't do much else.

    Now how fast of a processor do you need to do that? I'll give you a hint-- a lot of them are doing it on computers that are >5 years old, and they aren't complaining about speed unless they're loaded down with malware.

    I wonder where the computing industry is going next, because I feel like it's been a while since anyone came up with a new use for PCs that the masses were clamoring for. MP3s were the last one, and IIRC that's been commonplace for almost a decade now.

    It seems like where computers are going is not to be bigger/better/faster, but rather smaller/cheaper/more energy efficient. Something might break that trend, but until it does, I wonder how important it will actually be to be the "performance king".

  • Power Consumption (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JoeSixpack00 ( 1327135 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @12:30PM (#26387699)
    If AMD wants to improve sales they should do what they did for the X2 line: lower power consumption. I don't care what any of the "experts" say - the moment I saw the whopping 130w listed next to the i7 920 I immediately decided I didn't want one. The Athlon 4850e already has the crown on the dual core front, so if they can manage a respectable 95w quad core, AMD could corner the efficiency market. I know they had to release this chip to generate revenue, but I'd hoping that low power quad is in their future plans.

    On another note, it's quite funny to see such high power requirements for the new intels. Am I the only person who remembers AMD getting ridiculed about the Phenoms power consumption? Now that intel has finally released a true quad core chip, their power consumption is the same or more than AMDs. Granted that does nothing about the performance gap, but at least it quiets the power critics.
  • Re:Good... but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @12:51PM (#26388051) Homepage Journal

    The one thing that takes more speed than a five year old PC and that is digital video. HD-digital camcorders are now under $200. Transcoding video to put onto DVDs may become popular. If Blu Ray recordable disks become cheap then people may start making those at home.

    But even that may not need a fast CPU. I think you will see more and more video work off loaded to the GPU.

  • Re:Good... but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @01:16PM (#26388507) Homepage Journal

    You may be right. The thing is that the flip camcorder is so cheap that they may soon be everywhere.
    Just wait until cellphones come with HD video.
    But yes cheap, simpler, and lower power use going to be the way of the future.

  • Re:Good... but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lockblade ( 1367083 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @01:51PM (#26389041)

    ...The Atom is the right now the most interesting CPU around...

    I really have to disagree with you there. I think the VIA Nano is a bit more interesting, as it basically beats the Atom into the ground with almost everything []. Back on topic, I think that the above post was right; most people don't need a high-end computer. Even some of the mid-range to low-end computers might be a little much for some people. AMD should really go for the cheap side, making cheap, low-power processors to tide them over while they redesign their high-end chips to compete with I7.

  • Re:Good... but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Friday January 09, 2009 @01:58PM (#26389137) Homepage Journal

    I bought an AM2+ motherboard recently with a near bottom-of-the-line Athlon 64 X2 dual core. This is exactly the news I've been waiting for. In a few years I'll be able to double my cores and maybe modestly increase my CPU clockspeed from 2.2Ghz to maybe 2.8Ghz, hopefully while not increasing the TDP beyond 85W. Oh, and it would have been cheaper (and eventually faster) than buying a top of the line system now.

    AMD is perfect for the people like me who love saving a couple hundred bucks every few years by living just behind the bleeding edge. And if they weren't around to compete with Intel I doubt we'd see any progress from them. /had an AMD chip in each of my main computers (except laptops) since '97

  • by Nexus7 ( 2919 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @02:34PM (#26389661)

    On the video card, yes, the poster missed it. No LGA1366 board has onboard video.

    On the sound however, the onboard audio is great if all you're going to do with it is SPDIF out it to a receiver. And the $300 board have optical and/or coax out.

  • by evilbessie ( 873633 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @03:20PM (#26390387)
    I seriously doubt you are old enough to have had a mobo with truly awful sound (or even the bad old days of no sound at all). For most people having shitty little 10w speakers plugged in you are not going to notice the difference, hell even with better speakers you would be hard pressed. You only need a sound card if you need some more features/channels/etc. The modern mobos have perfectly serviceable sound for most applications.
  • by mr_stinky_britches ( 926212 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:13PM (#26392663) Homepage Journal

    One of the problems is that Intel has practically unlimited amounts of capital that they can dump into R&D, whereas AMD does not have such deep pockets. So, Intel is far ahead, and AMD will inevitably take a long time to catch up. Combine that with Intel's continually underhanded marketing and business practices, and things begin to look bleak for the underdog we are all cheering for..

  • Re:Good... but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Friday January 09, 2009 @07:21PM (#26393503) Journal

    Not even games require a great CPU, anymore. Some of the most innovative ones(Like World of Goo or Left4Dead) will run on old systems, like a 2ghz Athlon XP from 2002/2003. :P Faster CPUs are for... bragging rights? Encoding stuff?

    More memory is for multitasking - you can never have enough memory! I'm amazed that I can hit 1GB memory usage when my OS and background software only consumes ~150MB. A year ago that wasn't the case, but now I just have more stuff running...

    I think the next must have computer hardware will be high performance SSDs. That'll boost responsiveness more than a faster CPU can. People will become accustomed to their games loading instantly, and not having lag spikes. It's already been proven that a high end SSD can take the min FPS in a game like Crysis from the low 10's to the high 20's - that's more than the jump from Dual-core to Quad-core, or 8800GTX to GTX260. []

    We already have an abundance of CPU power. The next jumps will definitely be in IO/storage performance, power consumption, and size.

    It makes me wonder if ARM can wedge its way into the netbook market - power consumption is not a strength of x86.

  • glory days (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Friday January 09, 2009 @08:39PM (#26394311)

    Not to take away from some impressive stuff AMD has done, but AMD's glory days were also helped out by Intel shooting themselves in the foot. Back when AMD had the top-end x86s, invented AMD64, etc., Intel's 900-pound-gorilla R&D machine was off working on Itanium, running their x86 line mostly on autopilot. Once they mostly gave up on Itanium and swung their resources back to x86, AMD, as you might expect, has had a much harder time.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?