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

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the still-in-the-game dept.

AMD 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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234 comments

Did you ever notice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26386829)

How you can't spell osAMa bin laDen without A M D ? I think this says something. Is your desktop safe from extremo-terror on a chip? GOD BLESS AMERICA! Down with the Islamo-Communist AMD and its "linux" fronts!

Re:Did you ever notice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387225)

You want to talk linux conspiracies? Let's talk Jewbuntu. Jewbuntu is built on a foundation of Palestinux. In fact Jewbuntu still runs a small, tightly firewalled instance of Palestinux which it starves of resources by allowing almost no traffic to pass in/out. If the Palestinux instance attempts to start services or appropriate resources, Jewbuntu promptly bombs them into oblivion. And don't think you can solve the problem by installing UNESCO. Jewbuntu ignores any and all handshake requests originating from UNESCO.

Re:Did you ever notice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387663)

This would be funny, except that there are innocent civilians who are dying by the hundreds. 760 deaths since Dec 27, [google.com], one third of them children, over half civilians. 3100 injured, once again a third of them children.

The Red Cross found starving Palestinian children next to their dead mothers [nytimes.com]

Re: "firewall", kudos for knowing that Israel made the Gaza Strip a gentler version of a concentration camp.

Re:Did you ever notice (0, Offtopic)

IMightB (533307) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388167)

Until their Leaders stop acting like spoiled 5 year olds, the only thing we can do is laugh...

Re:Did you ever notice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26388767)

Good point. Nowhere near enough people are willing to see the laughter and the funny side of collective punishment.

Re:Did you ever notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387467)

What you say is true, but ultimately it is irrelevant. Linux will never be ready for the desktop.

Re:Did you ever notice (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387615)

So you didn't notice how you can't spell "Islamo-Communist mental case" without I n t e l then?

Re:Did you ever notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26389075)

How dare you, dagnabbit! AMD is a Texan company, just like our President and his daddy, and not from some commie/hippy/homosexual loving disneyland state like intel.

Not first post. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26386831)

But it could have been if I had a Core i7!

The problem with benchmarks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26386837)

is that its not the code you actually will run.

The problem with Core i7 (5, Informative)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26386871)

is that the CPU price is only one component of a significantly higher overall platform cost. Both memory and mainboard cost significantly more if you want to build an i7 rig.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387203)

Memory doesn't cost *that* much more. More, yes, but it's not an obscene amount.

However, the mobos are still running at 200$ for the cheapest ones. Oomph.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387401)

There's very little competition in the retail channels for i7 boards. I think there's fewer than 10 boards listed on Newegg when I checked a few weeks ago. I expect this will change in the coming months, which should bring down the price a little bit.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (3, Funny)

citizenr (871508) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387425)

Memory doesn't cost *that* much more.

yes, its *only* twice

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387523)

But considering todays prices of DDR II even twice as much is kind of nothing =P.

People will spend more money on accessories with blue LEDs!

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387765)

Admittedly, when I built my wife's computer, I spent more on the fancy blue-lighted fans than I did on the memory. /me hangs head in shame, holds out geek card

Re:The problem with Core i7 (0, Offtopic)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388375)

Never mind about the memory vs. the lights ... the important question is: did you get any that night?

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389095)

Never mind about the memory vs. the lights ... the important question is: did you get any that night?

I'm guessing your not married....

Re:The problem with Core i7 (5, Informative)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387207)

To be more specific, the motherboards are $200+ on the low end of the spectrum whereas there are a wealth of Phenom II supporting motherboards for $100; and 4GB of DDR3 is only now approaching $100. 4GB of DDR2, OTOH, (which works with the AMD Phenom II), can be had for $20 if you look for it. If you're too lazy to look for these deals, it can be had for $40 no rebates.

AMD has a real winner on their hands here.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387575)

Yeah, for a quad DDR II-system for cheap it looks like AMD wins.

Even cheaper gaming DDR II-system I guess it's intel E8500.

I don't know if Core i7 920 + motherboard is worth the extra money for what they deliver, maybe it gets more worth it with a more expensive CPU since you'll have so much added cost for motherboard and memory anyway. DDR 3 offers additional benefits though (atleast theoretically.)

So if you want the latest and greatest Intel still wins.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (0, Flamebait)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387965)

I wouldn't take 4GB of DDR2 RAM for $20.00 because it's usually going to be "value RAM" and not very reliable.

As far as $200 for a motherboard goes: if you want a GOOD motherboard with a decent RMA process, a motherboard is generally going to cost at least $225 anyway, so to choose based on motherboard price for a new system, it's a toss-up. To choose based on performance, it's a no-brainer.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388267)

Last I checked, OCZ didn't qualify as "value ram". During boxing day they had 4 gigs of PC2-6400 going for $20 after rebate - and that's in Canadian dollars. Now that the holidays are over, the price has gone up to $36.99. The same store is also offering 4 gigs of OCZ PC2-8000 for $44.99. I'm sure you can find it for much cheaper in the US, though.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26388409)

If they're performing on the same level as the Core 2 Quad, I'd rather go with the Intel offering. That way if I need any support down the road I know the company will still exist.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389307)

Not to mention a good selection of AMD boards support ECC memory (which adds about £4 to the £37 of 4GB DDR2-800) all across the price range; want a Core i7 with ECC support? That'll be £250 for the motherboard and £120 for 3GB of DDR3. And good luck finding a Core 2 board with ECC support.

You might say "meh, why do you need ECC?"; I think it's quite important when you can fit 12-16GB in a machine, and I'd rather the first sign of a memory problem be a MCE noted in my system log rather than repeated crashes or silent data loss.

Given that I can have it with AMD for an extra £4 with more than adequate performance, while I can barely even *find* it with the already more expensive Intel, well...

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387217)

I know what you mean. I need to update my 5 year old computer because the new Adobe Lightroom brings it to a crawl when rendering. Since the i7 was just about to come out, I figured I'd wait. I knew there would be a premium for it, but I was prepared for that....until it came out and I found out just what the premium would be. $300 for the CPU was something I was prepared for, but $250 for the motherboard, and $25+/GB was a bit more than I was expecting.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387719)

$25+/GB is the cheapest it's ever been! What is your point ?

I do agree I7 motherboards are ridiculously overpriced and the selection is pathetic, especially considering how many i965 and P35 boards were dumped into the market below $100 just a year ago.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387329)

The phrase "you get what you pay for" springs to mind :)

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

glennpratt (1230636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387391)

With regards to the overpriced motherboards and DDR3? Not really, that's not why I would pay for an i7 system, it's the processor.

Also, the AM3 Phenom's will be backwards compatible with AM2+ and support DDR2 & 3. Not saying that makes it better then i7, but it certainly is nice for platform cost and upgradibility.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:The problem with Core i7 (3, Informative)

ZirbMonkey (999495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387537)

I just built an i7 system, splurged on a few nicer options and ended up at just about $1000 for the build. Had I been more fiscal:
MB = $250
i7 920 = $300
3GB Ram = $100
PSU = $100
Case = $50
Total = $800

But if you already have an AM2 MB, a $250 upgrade puts you back in the ballpark of being on the cutting edge. If someone wants to save $650 on a full system upgrade, it makes a lot of sense to me.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (5, Informative)

rezalas (1227518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387673)

You are missing a few parts there bud. Like video card, hard drive, DVDRW, Sound card (onboard sound blows). The difference is with a Phenom II, you get all that included in the price you listed as well as the other parts. Look at adding about $300 to your total that wouldn't be added with AMD.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388889)

I believe this is OK.

I've been surprised how similar hardware for PCs and servers has been over the years. Lets face it, if you can't get your job done on a cheap PC today, you have some computational tasks that would benefit from high-end hardware, or, can be paralleled. given that parallelism is achieved over networks, you now have a new problem.

Also, given that companies have money and people don't, I am surprised this dichotomy has not already developed - that all apps are compatible, but commercial grade hardware is so much more expensive and faster.

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389261)

Not a problem at all. Install a second network interface and use one for internet the other for parallel processing.

It would provide a wall, a flaming wall to stop bad external network traffic, and so I dub my new invention a network "Wall of Flame."

Re:The problem with Core i7 (1)

ZmeiGorynych (1229722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389503)

Maybe that's because the commercial grade hardware of 2 years ago loses to this year's cheap hardware on all points except robustness?

There is indeed that tier of commercial-grade hardware that's a lot more expensive, but it's not speed that you pay for there, it's reliability.

Re:The problem with benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26386971)

If you're testing video encoding, Photoshop, games, etc. (as the article does), then um, yes, this is the code you will actually run.

Nothing like keeping up with the Joneses... (-1, Flamebait)

utahraptor (703433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26386851)

year old accomplishments.

Re:Nothing like keeping up with the Joneses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26386903)

This is amazing progress considering where they were just last month. It really is an accomplishment.

AMD has failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26386869)

AMD has failed to deliver a decent chip since the Athlon.

We still need AMD for competition, but they should at least have released something to go up against the i7 instead of the dated C2Q....

Re:AMD has failed (0, Flamebait)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387535)

The Athlon (I assume you mean the Athlon 64, the older athlons were a bit...hot...and prone to melting if the heatsink failed) was never a "decent" Chip, per se, it just so happens that netburst was shit and AMD happened to get more things right than they usually do.

I don't know how Intel managed to become so disorganised, but they've shown how powerful they really are as of late.

Re:AMD has failed (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387613)

Uhm, Athlon 64 vs Pentium 4 didn't made it into your comparison? I'd say I'd prefer Athlon-XP over Pentium 4 to.

I don't know which I'd prefer of Core Duo and Athlon64 X2.

Good... but... (5, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26386933)

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... (5, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387063)

The Core I7 isn't all that future proof. Intel is going to bring out the consumer version of the I7 with guess what... A new Socket!
I think that the AM2+ socket will have a good life span. The AM2 sure did.
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. I think AMD should produce a two core version of the PhenomII or a 45nm X2 cpu.
A very low power use AMD cpu combined with the 780G would be a great product right now.
The only reason that any QuadCore interests me right now is that I am addicted to FSX.

Re:Good... but... (3, Informative)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387119)

There's a major problem with your logic. Intel is coming out with a lower-cost mainstream Nehalem, but it is not discontinuing the current i7 sockets, they will continue as a high-end option and you'll be able to slap 32nm Westmere's in there when the time comes. AM2+ is at the very end of the road. As for the older Core 2 quad socket 775's, they are getting nearer the end of the line, but with some price cuts the current 775 socket systems are still going to outperform anything AMD has until at least 2010... the Core 2's are at the end of the technology ramp-up road, but not at the end of the price-performance road.

Re:Good... but... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387393)

Yea but then you will be stuck with only high end stuff. I would wait until the consumer I7 hits unless you are a hard core gamer.
But as I said I really am not all that interested in the highend. It is just really overkill right now. You can build a good X2 780G system for under $300 right now. Or less than you would spend for just an I7 CPU.
Core2s are still a little more expensive but your right they are still a good choice.

Re:Good... but... (4, Informative)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388975)

The AM3 Phenom II's are supposed to be able to work in an AM2+ motherboard (and utilize DD2 memory). TechReport's review of the chip has some more details on this:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/16147 [techreport.com]

In one of the neater tricks we've seen along these lines, Socket AM3-capable Phenom II processors will, happily, be backward compatible with current Socket AM2+ motherboards and DDR2 memory.

So AM2+ is still a viable socket for the future since AM3 processors will fit in. I wonder if the backwards compatability will work both ways - could an AM2+ processor be used in an AM3 motherboard?

Re:Good... but... (3, Informative)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389415)

I wonder if the backwards compatability will work both ways - could an AM2+ processor be used in an AM3 motherboard?

Nope, since they lack the DDR3 support in their memory controller.

Re:Good... but... (1)

AngelofDeath-02 (550129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387445)

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.

I'd love to play supcom and not lag =/
Something tells me I need more than an I7 to do that, however...

Re:Good... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26388135)

Most people really are not dieing for a faster PC.

You're right, they're most likely dying for one, however...

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

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387619)

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".

Re:Good... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387905)

Games notwithstanding on the home market, lots offices need machines to:

Compile code
Render 3d animation
Edit HD video (or even decode it, try watching 1080p content on an 5+ year old machine)

The masses have never cared about the performance king. They'll keep buying celerons with 128K cache.

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

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388051)

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... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388317)

Oh, I'm not denying that there are applications out there that can make good use of extra processing power, but only that they aren't really what most people use their computers for. I know some pretty young and tech-savvy people, and almost none of them do anything with video on their computers beyond occasional Netflix streaming.

Camcorders aren't by any means rare, but they aren't all that incredibly common either that I'd expect it to drive the mass market. And that opinion isn't formed from any thought that camcorders are too expensive or difficult to operate, but rather that they're the sort of gadgets that people buy and don't really use as much as they expected to.

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

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388507)

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... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389027)

Just wait until cellphones come with HD video.

Yeah, I know... but then again, of all the people with cameras in their phones today, I don't know many who actually make much use of them. There are people who take lots of pictures, but it always seems to me like the vast majority take a few pictures when they fist get their phone, mostly forget about them after a couple weeks, and remember they have a camera in their phone long enough to take a couple pictures every few months.

And even then, they don't go home and do anything with those pictures. They just store them on their hard drive.

Re:Good... but... (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388651)

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

I disagree. The Via Nano is far more interesting.

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

Lockblade (1367083) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 [hardocp.com]. 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... (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389087)

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

Hear hear...

    There's no such thing as "future proof". Something better will always come along but right now, there's very little software aimed at consumers that doesn't run acceptably well on on ANY 2-3 Ghz CPU.
  If you care about future competition in the CPU market, you should be recommending AMD to your family and friends. They are cheaper and more than adequate.

I recently picked up a 65nm, 3.1 Ghz Athlon X2 + Mobo for $166.00. I can run every FPS on the market at 1920x1200, most at max detail. Hell... if you're running at 1280x1024, a single core Athlon and a $100.00 video card (Think geforce 9600..) will work fine for most games. Why do I need a faster CPU right now? Bragging rights?

Re:Good... but... (1)

Carlosos (1342945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387209)

I believe that the AM2+ socket motherboards will last for a long time. If I remember right will the AM3 CPUs be compatible with the AM2 and AM2+ motherboard as the AM2+ CPUs were compatible with AM2 motherboards while only small features were missing when using an older socket with a newer CPU.

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26388911)

What makes you think an Opteron (or any number of them) is going to be faster than a Xeon when the Core2-based CPUs have trounced anything and everything AMD has released for almost 3 years now? They JUST NOW passed up the Q6600 which was release in December 2006.

The low-end Core2s have trounced everything AMD had except the fastest AMD CPUs (which cost more). My GF's 2180 is still faster than over 50% of AMD's line and I bought it 5 months ago for $60.

I think you've got delusions of grandeur. You won't be ripping any heads off. AMD has finally done something right for a chance, but they've got a long way to go to get back where they were in the Athlon vs P4 days.

Re:Good... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387307)

What calosos said is not true the AM3 will have backwards compatable memory in the first gen using DDR2 and DDR3 Compatable mobos but the AM3 is i diff socket all together

Re:Good... but... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387453)

AM3 is pin compatible with AM2+/AM2, it just adds faster HT and DDR3 support. My understanding is that Mobo suppliers can even choose to use the AM3 socket with DDR2, getting the (probably insignificant) benefit of faster HT but using cheaper RAM. The fact that the AM3 Phenoms have both DDR2 and DDR3 memory controlers means they van be used in AM2+ boards as long as there is a BIOS update. Could be used in AM2 boards as well from a hardware standpoint, but unfortunately (for me at least) there probably won't be any updated BIOSs for those boards.

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

wild_berry (448019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387381)

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.

Re:Good... but... (1)

glennpratt (1230636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387443)

I don't think we cared much about clock speed, even in the days of Netburst vs K8, hell the spreads were bigger when the 3.2 GHz P4 was common. Then it was Dollars vs Performance or TDP vs Performance, just like it is now.

Re:Good... but... (1)

Fackamato (913248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387665)

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;

You can buy a Phenom II now and use it with an AM2 (BIOS update req.) or AM2+ motherboard. When AM3 comes, so does the Phenom II with DDR3 support (and HT3 support!). Time will well if the upgrade is worth it, I doubt it will be as big as the difference between Phenom I and II. In other words, might as well buy one now. AM3 is slated for Q3 this year anyway. On the other hand, rumours says Intel will drop the price, then C2Q is more bang for the buck than this AMD CPU.

Not MSI (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389277)

most of MSI's mobo aren't getting an update that will allow the use of am2+, which pisses me off because I bought that board with plans to upgrade to a AM2+ chip

Re:Good... but... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387695)

Actually you are looking at this in the wrong way. The entire problem is that you are looking at the Phenom as though it's the critical portion of AMD design, which it's not. The Phenom II is part of the Dragon platform, which includes the 4000 series graphics and the 7 series chipset. When combined, the system can be configured for less than $500 or just under $700 with very high end parts. Once together, the AMD system can use Overdrive to hit 4ghz on air with very little effort. Tests have put them at 3.8ghz with the automated performance boosts. Now, not only does Intel not have a platform to match, but their chipset and graphics departments are still playing catchup. Once the AM3 systems hit the market Intel will be in a considerable amount of trouble staying competitive.... especially with the current voltage problems (DDR3 performance memory can burn up i7 chips).

Also, do not forget, AMD manufacturing costs are dropping while Intel's are increasing. This is not a good trend to have when attempting to compete on prices. New i7 CPUs are entering the market at equal prices and staying high, while the very best AMD chip enters market at the lowest Intel price point and drops. It becomes very hard to justify spending several times more on an Intel system for a tiny performance difference, knowing that it might not even be DDR3 compatible.

Re:Good... but... (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387873)

Once the AM3 systems hit the market Intel will be in a considerable amount of trouble staying competitive.... especially with the current voltage problems (DDR3 performance memory can burn up i7 chips).

I'm fairly sure there's no problem if your DDR3 memory actually follows the DDR3 standard.

Re:Good... but... (1)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387777)

Cache size is an area where AMD has considerably lagged Intel for quite some time. I'd consider AMD's bumping up of cache size on the 45nm parts to be moreso evening out a competitive disadvantage they had for 2 years, rather than a desperate attempt to make a non-competitive product compete with an obviously superior one (a la P4 vs. K8).

The Core 2 Quads have large amounts of beyond-L1 cache: 2 x 4M of L2 (or something 2 x 6M), so 8-12M total plus some inter-die communcation latency between the two L2s if you needed to go across the MCM to get a cacheline.

The earlier 65nm Phenoms had 4 x 512k L2 + 2M L3, so a total of 4M of beyond-L1 cache plus the inter-core latency of accessing any of the other cores' L2 or the L3. That's half or less than that of the Core 2. That alone can mostly account for the clock-for-clock advantage that the Core 2 had over the Phenom. (There were other tweaks Intel put in the Core 2 which are great too...Core 2 is a good part...but doubling the effective cache size is a big deal.)

Slapping the 6M L3 on the Phenom II helps even out that disadvantage.

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

rwa2 (4391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389137)

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

Or their own in-house compiler... (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389605)


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.

The other obvious problem is that pretty much every compiler on the market [especially the Intel C/C++ compiler] is optimized for the Intel circuitry as opposed to the AMD circuitry - i.e. most compilers probably aren't even aware of the functionality of those excess 27 million transistors.

I can't for the life of me understand why AMD couldn't come up with $10 or $15 or $20 million to fund their own in-house compiler - for instance, it seems like there was a time when they could have scooped up Metrowerks from Motorola for pennies on the dollar.

Until there's a compiler which truly understands the AMD circuitry, I don't see how anyone can know [definitively] the upper bounds of the capabilities of the AMD CPUs.

PS: And as AMD tightens up the integration of their Opteron CPU circuitry with their ATI GPU circuitry [it can't be all that long now until they're both just isolated, disparate cores on the same multi-core matrix, and maybe even completely integrated into the very same core], it seems to me that having an in-house compiler - which is very tightly integrated with the circuitry - will be of paramount importance.

In all honesty, I often wonder if maybe the Intel C/C++ compiler team is really the secret ace up Intel's sleeve which does the most important work in distinguishing them from AMD.

Nice to see AMD doing somewhat better... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387387)

Since I'd hate to go back to the bad old days, before the megahertz wars, when processors were expensive. For desktop/low-end workstation use, the phenom IIs seem to be merely ok, price competitive with the chips intel currently has down there; but not in a position to beat the i7s. Where these new cores will be quite interesting, though, is in 4 socket and higher configurations. Even with substantially inferior core designs, AMD has been stomping Intel in the 4+ socket area, since hypertransport is markedly superior. With actually competitive cores, AMD should find 4+ sockets to be a party, at least until Intel gets quickpath stuff ramped up.

Re:Nice to see AMD doing somewhat better... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387837)

For desktop/low-end workstation use, the phenom IIs seem to be merely ok

I don't get such comparisons, for really low-end stuff like that wouldn't a P3 1 GHz be enough to?

If we are speaking the web with multiple tabs I guess not since browsers kill my C2D 2.2 GHz 4 GB ram MBP.

Re:Nice to see AMD doing somewhat better... (1)

Buzz_Light (1017486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388495)

If we are speaking the web with multiple tabs I guess not since browsers kill my C2D 2.2 GHz 4 GB ram MBP.

Try not running Vista.

Re:Nice to see AMD doing somewhat better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26388685)

I would say Flash is to blame here. It runs equally bad on every hardware.

Re:Nice to see AMD doing somewhat better... (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388925)

I don't get such comparisons, for really low-end stuff like that wouldn't a P3 1 GHz be enough to?

For the past 2 years, I would consider the purchase of any single-core CPUs to be "penny-wise pound-foolish". Typically, you can get a dual-core CPU for only a few dollars more, and you end up with a much more responsive machine.

Our low-end work desktops have all been dual-core X2s, usually a 45W design where possible. The power savings alone from the energy efficient X2s pays for the extra CPU cost. The responsiveness of a dual-core system also pays off in improved productivity. Plus a 45W machine tends to be very quiet, even with the OEM heatsink/fan.

We switched to dual-core as soon as dual-core CPUs dropped below $200 (a few years ago now). At that point in time, AMD X2s were the only inexpensive dual-core choice, with the bonus that they were 64bit capable. So we got better performance and a bit of future-proofing.

it would be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387507)

..if the the heatspreader on these CPUs was black with silver writing.

125 watt only? (1)

sricetx (806767) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387533)

Does anybody know if there are plans for 95 watt Phenom IIs? It looks like the first models are 125 watt only (and I just got a AM2+ motherboard that only supports the 95W Phenoms).

Re:125 watt only? (3, Informative)

Atriqus (826899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387657)

The later AM3s will have 95w x4's in feburary. Check your board's product page if they plan on supporting it for that model.

Re:125 watt only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387691)

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/464/1049464/phenom-ii-athlon-x4-oh-my

If the above is correct, the AM3 parts should do the trick for you in about a month.

Re:125 watt only? (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388991)

I'm hoping more for a quad-core CPU that is a 45W TDP and is under $100. All of the current quad-core CPUs out there are 95-125W (including Intel's) and are $130-$200.

Re:125 watt only? (1)

MassEnergySpaceTime (957330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389443)

Me too. I'm waiting for the rumored Athlon X4 at 45W TDP. It's supposed to come out in the 2nd qtr of this year. I think it would make a perfect upgrade for my Athlon X2 4850e. As for the price tag, the 65W 9350e has been sitting on Newegg at about the same price as the 125W 9950, so it might take a while before the 45W X4 hit the $100 mark.

A half truth (0)

MC68040 (462186) | more than 5 years ago | (#26387587)

People that RTFA will realize that AMD's new CPU's only match the most current bottom-line Intel quad core cpu's.

Saying that, amd's offering does give you a good value for money and is in some cases significantly cheaper than Intel's offering. Adding to that fact is amd's discreet graphic offerings which are far superior to intel's offerings.

I imagine we'll see a lot of these amd chips and graphic offerings combined on the "budget" performance systems which is a good thing; they provide better performance (especially graphics-wise) than existing offerings in the same range :)

Re:A half truth (1)

sholsinger (1131365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26388715)

[...]Adding to that fact is amd's discreet graphic offerings which are far superior to intel's offerings.[...]

Unless you're using GNU/Linux. The drivers just aren't quite up to snuff yet.

Power Consumption (3, Insightful)

JoeSixpack00 (1327135) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Power Consumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26389067)

No, they wouldn't be corning anything. A Q9550 is already a 95w quad-core. Not only that but something like a Q9550 beats the crap out of even the latest AMD clock-for-clock.

Re:Power Consumption (1)

EvilSheep (40230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389109)

You are not the only one.

The spec that matters most to me is the idle time power. The phenom processors have tended to be on the high side.

Tom's hardware has an interesting commentary on this in its review. The i7 processor has a much lower power consumption at idle. However, the power consumption of an intel system as a whole is much higher.

The AMD Phenom II contribution to the ring seems to be an improvement in this respect, with lower idle power than ye olde phenom.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-940,2114.html

Re:Power Consumption (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26389409)

the moment I saw the whopping 130w listed next to the i7 920 I immediately decided I didn't want one.

And don't forget -- this is an Intel power rating, which means "typical use". I have a computer with an AMD Phenom 9850, and that's rated at 120W, but that's worst case, not typical. In actual use the computer has been quiet and cool. (I ought to try recompiling the Linux kernel on all four cores or something.)

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article169-page3.html [silentpcreview.com]

AMD could corner the efficiency market.

Intel is selling far more CPUs than AMD can even make, and they have the top absolute performance, but AMD is selling plenty of Opterons into data centers because AMD does well on performance/power ratio. AMD is also selling some CPU chips with a maximum heat dissipation of 45W. AMD is already working on cornering the efficiency market.

http://enterprise.amd.com/us-en/AMD-Business/Technology-Home/Power-Management.aspx [amd.com]
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3003 [anandtech.com]

steveha

AMD is back????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26387731)

I see all these articles and reviews suggesting that AMD is somehow "back" in the game now, and that is totally misleading.

This would be like suggesting that Intel was back when they released the Prescott. This new processor can barely beat Core 2's that have been out for a year or longer.

AMD needs to create a new architecture before they will be back in the game.

The prices of a Corei7 platform are going down fast and even right now it is only a 100-150 dollars more expensive to go Core i7 compared to a new Phenom 2, and core i7's completely blow the Phenom 2 out of the water.

AMD is not back at all, if anything they're falling further behind.

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