AMD Phenom 9850 X4 Black Edition CPU Review :: Conclusion

03-30-2008 · Category: Hardware - Processors

By Ben Sun

From a strict performance point of view, the Phenom X4 9850 is not going to win over the fastest Intel CPU. The fact that the QX9770 has 12MB of L2 Cache, and the clock speed difference makes it a losing battle. The thing with the CPU market is the Phenom 9850 is designed for the $266 market, not the $1450 market that the Intel QX9770 currently resides in.

The pricing of the Phenom X4 9850 puts it squarely against the Q9300 and Q6600 Core 2 Quad CPUs on Intelís side of the market. The Q9300 is a Yorkfield CPU running at 2.5GHz with 6MB of L2 cache. The Q6600 runs at 2.4GHz and has 2x4MB of L2 Cache. I donít have either of these CPUs in-house so I can only go by other sites, but the equivalent priced Intel parts seem to outperform the Phenom on virtually everything.

One thing AMD is stressing is the upgradeability of their older motherboards to support the new CPUs. Damon the main PR guy has sent a list of compatible motherboards that are on AMDís Recommended List and it includes older motherboards including the nForce 570 chipset M2N-32-SLI and the AMD 690 boards that were prevalent a couple of years ago. Newer boards like the AMD 790FX and NVIDIA GeForce 7050 and presumably the upcoming 780a are being tested and qualified but few if any are on the list at the moment. The other consideration is for the home builder wanting to build an inexpensive motherboard+CPU combo. The 9850 is retailing for $235, add a 780G motherboard from AMD or an equivalent NVIDIA integrated board like the 8300 and youíd have a system thatíd be hard to match on the Intel side dollar for dollar, especially with the state of Intelís graphics drivers not even supporting DX10 as of yet. As an upgrade to existing AMD systems is where this CPU will be the sweet spot. This is because if you have a slower CPU, but still want a faster system, this is an easy buying decision to make and will most certainly speed your system up from an older AMD CPU.