Final Words & Conclusion
And yes, another two Phenom II processors arrived. Good stuff, it is really nice to see AMD pushing forward fairly hard. Our tests have shown that both the Phenom II X4 945 and 955BE of course are really capable processors. In fact I even dare to say that's a bit of an understatement. We, maybe even obviously, have a soft spot for the 955BE processor. It's offering decent value for the money. Pricing wise it however is now competing a little closer to the Core i7 920 (299 USD), where the 955Be will cost 245 USD. But on the topic of pricing:
- AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Available in PIB at AMD's suggested price of $245 USD
- AMD Phenom II X4 945 Available in PIB at AMD's suggested price of $225 USD
So while the Phenom II is closing in, the Core i7 920 is and will be faster. But that also translates into price versus performance of course. We mentioned this several times already. Core i7 X58 motherboards these days start at 225 USD where you can pick up a 790FX motherboard for 125 USD already. That is something you need to keep in mind.
Compared to say Core i7 920 versus Phenom II X4 955BE with daily normal usage of applications you will not notice a real difference, only if you have a multimedia encoding monster machine or very dedicated multi-core applications it will be more obvious. And gaming wise perf, well .. performance in-between Core i7 920 and today's tested processors will be roughly similar as well, unless you dip into high-end multi-GPU gaming where Core i7 would have a good advantage. Remember when it comes to gaming, your GPU 99% of the times is the limiting factor for overall performance. We used a BFG GeForce GTX 280 OC edition, which equals GTX 285 in performance. That's the fastest SINGLE GPU based graphics card money can buy you.
It's the choice you have to make .. ultimate performance for a higher price, or excellent performance at a better price. This is the reality of processors anno 2009 versus your gaming experience.
The AMD Phenom II X4 945 is no different from the X4 940, other then DDR3 memory support and the AM3 socket. If you are not planning any overclocking or tweaking, you might as well save yourself the extra 20 USD. Rock solid multi-core performance is what you'll get.
Here at Guru3D however we'd advise you to spend the extra 20 bucks, you get another 200 MHz additional performance and the flexibility to tweak the processors really well. With the Phenom II X4 955BE AMD brings a very mature, fast and stable processor to the market. If you crave for some more performance, you can overclock it very well.
Tweaking, with each update of AMD Overdrive I get more impressed. And by adding this tidbit in the conclusion I just wanted to give a thumbs up to the AOD development team. AOD is growing to become the best tweak tool by far. Very impressive, fairly user-friendly and very diverse. Thanks to that tool, you'll get more out of your PC infrastructure.
So in closing, the AMD 790 motherboards in combo with AMD's Phenom II processors are exciting. We can't say anything other than, this .. as a platform this entire infrastructure works out really well for both AMD and you the end-user. We like what AMD continuously brings to the table. And though these are relatively small incremental updates from time over time .. try to imagine where AMD was a year ago with Phenom (1), these chaps moved mountains ... and I have a lot of respect for that.
Both the Phenom II X4 945 and 955BE come very much recommended. Thanks go out to AMD for their support.