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AMD Hardware

AMD Launches Fastest Phenom Yet, Phenom II X4 980 207

MojoKid writes "Although much of the buzz lately has revolved around AMD's upcoming Llano and Bulldozer-based APUs, AMD isn't done pushing the envelope with their existing processor designs. Over the last few months AMD has continued to ramp up frequencies on their current bread-and-butter Phenom II processor line-up to the point where they're now flirting with the 4GHz mark. The Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition marks the release of AMD's highest clocked processor yet. The new quad-core Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition's default clock on all four of its cores is 3.7GHz. Like previous Deneb-based Phenom II processors, the X4 980 BE sports a total of 512K of L1 cache with 2MB of L2 cache, and 6MB of shared L3 cache. Performance-wise, for under $200, the processor holds up pretty well versus others in its class and it's an easy upgrade for AM2+ and AM3 socket systems."
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AMD Launches Fastest Phenom Yet, Phenom II X4 980

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  • Re:Wait a second... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @08:15PM (#36030694)

    6 core is slower per core than 4 core simply because of thermal envelope.

    6 core is superior if you need to use more than 4 cores at same time.

  • Re:Wait a second... (Score:5, Informative)

    by m.dillon ( 147925 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @08:59PM (#36031012) Homepage

    The Phenom II x 6 core chips already run at 3.7 GHz when 3 or fewer cores are in use (that's what the automatic turbo feature does), so the 980's ability to run 4 cores at 3.7 GHz is only a minor improvement since it basically has no turbo mode. The x6 will win for any concurrency workloads that exercise all six cpus. Intel cpus also sport a turbo mode that works similarly.

    The biggest issue w/ AMD is memory bandwidth. For some reason AMD has fallen way behind Intel in that regard. This is essentially the only reason why Intel tends to win on benchmarks.

    However, you still pay a big premium for Intel, particularly Sandy-Bridge chipsets, and you pay a premium for SATA-III, whereas most AMD mobos these days already give you SATA-III @ 6GBits/sec for free. Intel knows they have the edge and they are making people pay through the nose for it.

    Personally speaking the AMD Phenom II x 6 is still my favorite cpu for the price/performance and wattage consumed.


  • by m.dillon ( 147925 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @09:13PM (#36031070) Homepage

    Well, also remember that Intel has something like 6 (or more) different incompatible cpu socket types in its lineup now, which means you have no real ability to upgrade in place.

    AMD is all AM2+ and AM3, and all current cpus are AM3. This socket format has been around for several years. For example, I was able to upgrade all of my old AM2+ Phenom I boxes to Phenom II simply by replacing the cpu, and I can throw any cpu in AMD's lineup into my AM3 mobos. I only have one Phenom II x 6 machine right now but at least four of my boxes can accept that chip. That's a lot of upgrade potential on the cheap.

    This will change, AMD can't stick with the AM3 form factor forever (I think the next gen will in fact change the socket), but generally speaking AMD has done a much better job on hardware longevity than Intel has. It isn't just a matter of the price of the cpu. I've saved thousands of dollars over the last few years by sticking with AMD.

    SATA-III also matters a lot for a server now that SATA-III SSDs are in mass production. Now a single SSD can push 300-500 MBytes/sec of effectively random I/O out the door without having to resort to non-portable/custom-driver/premium-priced PCIe flash cards. Servers can easily keep gigabit pipes full now and are rapidly approaching 10GigE from storage all the way to the network.


  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @10:01PM (#36031298) Journal
    The i5-2500 is not only faster, it uses a LOT less electricity [] The Phenom uses slightly more than 50% MORE electricity.

    X4 - 157 to 252 watts
    i5-2500 - 91 to 164 watts.

    In other words, it will cost between $20 (normal use, cheap electricity) and $140 (24/7, expensive electricity) per year extra. Spending the extra $10 to get the faster i5 is a no-brainer.

  • Re:3700 megahertz? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @10:20PM (#36031394)

    Moores observation was about transistor count, not mHz, corecount, speed, wattage, flops, bogomips, or anything else.

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @10:25PM (#36031420)
    I won't talk about Intel's system, but AMD is actually relatively straightforward:

    First comes the family name. For desktops, this is usually either "Athlon II" or "Phenom II". The only real difference between them is the amount of cache.

    Then comes the core count - X2, X3, X4 or X6. Completely self-explanatory.

    This is followed by a number that essentially stands in for the clock speed. Higher-clocked processors have higher numbers, lower-clocked processors have lower numbers.

    Finally, certain processors have "Black Edition" appended, which simply means that the multiplier is unlocked, greatly easing overclocking.
  • Re:Wait a second... (Score:5, Informative)

    by WuphonsReach ( 684551 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @11:47PM (#36031810)
    Prime95, in this context, is for convincing 0v3rcl0ckz0r kiddiez that their massive overclock is stable even though it's a terrible stability test. A prime number search program is not exactly the world's best method of achieving full test coverage of a CPU, no matter what a billion leetboy forums may tell you.

    Eh... Prime95 is a darned sight better then a simple memory test, because it actually *does* stress the CPU and L1/L2 cache as well as the RAM. Plus it keeps track of whether the calculations are correct.

    Which is the exact same tactic that you'd better take if you're going to "do scientific calculations which have to be right". You run the calculation and either you have built-in checks or you do the calculation twice, on two different machines and compare the results. (Surprise surprise, guess how checks that the turned-in results are correct?)

    I've been using Prime95 ever since it came out. I've personally seen it find RAM that is slightly dodgy on timing where other tools like MemTest86 gave the RAM a free pass. In one case, the RAM was GEIL and was mislabled as a faster CL value then it actually could handle (naughty GEIL, or might have been counterfeit). Let Prime95 run for 24-48 hours with no errors, and you've got a pretty good assurance that there are no issues with timings or the memory / CPU. (Doesn't do jack to test the disk / video, but there are other tools for that.)

    Now, you complain that it's not a comprehensive tool. Have you *ever* seen a case where a CPU was bad / dodgy where Prime95 did not throw an error that you caught in some other manner? That was specifically something wrong with the CPU / cache / RAM?

    And frankly, there have always been those who think product X is a magic bullet. Your rant is misplaced.
  • Re:Wait a second... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2011 @01:57AM (#36032348)

    And AMD supports ECC memory in "non-server" cpus.

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