AMD recently upped the ante on their flagship Phenom X4 processor line-up. Consumers have been able to purchase a Phenom X4 9950 processor for a couple of weeks now. The 9950 comes in two models, the regular version and a BE version, which is the Black Edition. These little BE tagged processors often are only 10-20 bucks more expensive, yet have a little treat harbored in them. These processors are given the two thumbs up to overclock, and the little bonus is increased in the form an unlocked multiplier allowing you to really push the envelope on your tweaks.
So the BE editions in essence are the 'regular' processor, yet they passed quality and analysis for better overclocking performance and have their multiplier unlocked. This obviously is the product we'll be testing today. We'll conduct our test in two ways though, first off we'll check baseline performance just like the regular Phenom X4 9950 and then start an overclocking session. Throughout our benchmarks we'll show you the results on both that baseline and overclocked performance with all benchmarks.
So what is the Phenom X4 9950 precisely? Last year Phenom was introduced, it's AMD's first quad-core processor. And though they had a really tough launch as the early models had a bug in them, late March/April things took a turn. The bug was fixed and the overall performance of these processors went up dramatically well. There was a little sunshine at the end of the horizon. Ever since April 2008, AMD has been introducing new models of Phenom processors based on the fixed cores. We now even have triple-core processors which quite honestly perform really well, but nobody will buy them just because of that weird unusual number of 'three' on them. That's a nasty stigma to fight, whereas 6 cores... would sound perfectly fine. It's weird how the mind works, eh?
No, the more successful models obviously are the Phenom X4 processors. They are now available in a wide variety, and though it's still difficult to compete with chipzilla Intel, no one will deny that the Phenom X4 processors offer heaps of value and are in fact really good processors to have in your PC. Our office now runs two PCs based on Phenom X4s in combo with 790GX mainboards, and I guarantee you... these PCs are fast and snazzy.
The Phenom X4 9950 BE is the cream of the crop processor of the quad-core product line, it runs at 2600 MHz on all four cores with a multiplier of 13. But really, it doesn't mind 3000 or 3200 MHz either. And that's what we'll show you in today's article. To do so we need to chat a little about the architecture underneath that heat spreader. The Phenom is based on what is called the 'Barcelona' architecture. The silicon has four native independent cores merged together into one die; opposed to Intel who merges two dual-core chips together in one die.
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