AMD Phenom 9850 X4 Black Edition CPU Review :: CPU Setup and Overclocking

03-30-2008 · Category: Hardware - Processors

By Ben Sun

AMD CPUs are easy to setup but a word of caution for the new user when upgrading the CPU. AMD Socket AM2+ CPUs like the 9850 have a tendency to stick to the heatsink when removing the heatsink off the motherboard. If not pulled straight off the board bent pins can happen. That's one reason I like Intel's LGA-775 platform, it allows the CPU to be inserted or removed without that possibility happening.


AMD Phenom 9850 X4 Black Edition CPU Review Specs

Specs


In any event, I inserted the 9850 into the Socket, lowered the lever and mounted the CoolerMaster after market cooler we use for testing. One thing about this CPU is it runs rather hot in operation, running upwards of 58C on a standard off the shelf cooler from Thermaltake that says AM2 capable. The CoolerMaster cooler we use in testing didn't have problems with heat with temperatures reaching a full 20C lower (40C), meaning the first cooler was not sufficient.

The CPU ran games great with little difference between performance in games with the 9850 and a Q6700 able to be discerned. Games like Crysis are mainly GPU bound anyway, with the CPU helping but the graphics card helping more than a new CPU. Multi-Tasking in other applications also ran great with multiple instances.

One thing AMD is stressing with their Phenom launch is motherboard compatibility. As a long-time Intel user that has hated switching motherboards almost every time there's a new CPU release (exaggerating a little but true nonetheless, while the LGA-775 interface is the same from an Intel 925X board, you can hardly run a Yorkfield Core 2 Quad QX9770 on it today.

AMD moved to the Socket AM2 platform almost two years ago bringing DDR2 memory support to their motherboard chipsets. The AM2 is a Socket 940 chipset and every AMD CPU that is based upon AM2 should work with Phenom after a BIOS update. AMD introduced their AM2+ platform to introduce HyperTransport 3.0 to their motherboards and CPUs, but you can use Phenom on AM2 boards just with HT 2.0. Overclocking on the 2.5GHz AMD Phenom X4 9850 was a breeze. The 9850 is multiplier unlocked meaning that with the FSB you have a wide variety of overclocking options. Upping the multiplier to 16x I was able to run the 9850 at 3.2GHz. This setting was unstable, for the most part, but with better cooling it might have stuck. Lowering the multiplier to x14.0 and upping the bus speed to 215.3MHz 3GHz was completely stable on the 9850, a 20% increase.


AMD Phenom 9850 X4 Black Edition CPU Review 3.2GHz

3.2GHz

AMD Phenom 9850 X4 Black Edition CPU Review 3.0GHz

3.0GHz

AMD Phenom 9850 X4 Black Edition CPU Review Aquamark 3

Aquamark 3