AMD Phenom X4 945 and 955BE processor review|test

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AMD Overdrive 3.0 and temperatures

Phenom II overclocking & temperatures

If you decide to start an overclocking session with the Phenom processor; typically you are much better off with the BE editions (CPU multiplier unlocked), and the combo of an AMD 790 FX/GX based mainboard. In today's test we will overclock the Phenom II X4 955BE (Black edition = easy to overclock).

The key to the 790FX/GX feature set is AMD's Windows compatible Overdrive interface that allows very easy overclocking of the Phenom II (and last gen Phenom X4 Black Edition) processors. It's one of the best tweak utilities out there and thanks to AMD's recently introduced Advanced Clock Calibration technology the results on a 790 chipset based platform, will certainly be good.

For this review we used a new 3.0 beta which has some new cool options.

Smart Profiles in AMD OverDrive 3.0New to AMD OverDrive 3.0 are Smart Profiles, this will allow a user to alter their platform parameters per-application to increase performance (I.E. games or digital applications) or lower power utilization (I.E. media playback applications).

A good example here is with games that are only dual threaded, it is now possible to devote more processing speed to those two cores while reducing speed to those cores that are under-utilized.


Black Edition Memory Profiles (B.E.M.P.) in AMD OverDrive 3.0

EPP aka SLI memory aka enhanced performance profiles aka XMS aka ... and so on ... AMD has worked with motherboard and memory vendors to do something special with new version of AMD OverDrive.


B.E.M.P. looks up the specifications for certain high-frequency DDR3 memory modules and applies the intended frequency and latency settings within AOD 3.0.

After one reboot the memory is first looked up and the settings selected. This is the second key feature added to AOD 3.0 and does require BIOS support.

AOD 3.0 WILL work on motherboards without a special new BIOS; however, this new B.E.M.P. feature is what requires a new BIOS to allow these pre-set memory parameter adjustments from within AOD.

Users can always manually change their individual memory speeds and timings in the BIOS as normal. B.E.M.P. at the time of writing this article works with the following DDR3-1600 memory modules.

  • Corsair: CM3X2G1600C9DHX
  • Kingston: KHX11000D3LLK2/2G and KHX12800D3K2/2G
  • Mushkin: 991629
  • OCZ: OCZ3AMD18002G

AMD Phenom II X4 955BE and 945
For our test we picked up  some Corsair: CM3X2G1600C9DHX DIMMs



Now once we enable BEMP in AMD Overdrive it indeed detects the DIMM module. We load up the timigs, hit apply .. and restart. That's it. Check out the results:

Everest 2.8 Memory test Read MB/sec Write MB/sec
DDR 1333 MHz (Standard)



1600 MHz (Bemp)



The results after reboot is an instant imporvement of read performance. On the fly. Very fun stuff. Though this particular Corsair memory was kind of slow rated with CAS9 at 1600 MHz.

Anyway, back to the processor. Phenom II processors can complement the 790GX chipset's overclocking capabilities very well. Example: A Phenom II (BE) can be pushed towards 3.6 GHz relatively easily on just an air cooler. With real good air-cooling or water-cooling you should be able to reach 3.8-4.0 GHz. And as many news-posts have shown, on demonstrations some freaks were able to super-cool the processor with LN2 and clocked it close towards a geeky 6.0 GHz.

But let's have a have a look at processor temperatures in a default clocked situation first.

AMD Phenom II X4 955BE and 945

Temperatures wise the Phenom II generation processors are just really good. Here you see the 955BE processor with all four logical processors stressed max out at 49 Degrees C/ 117 F.

The processor was cooled down with a 35 USD OCZ Vendetta 2 CPU cooler. The fun thing is, overclocked it didn't get much warmer as well. Burt we'll show you that in a minute. First let's have a look at AMD Overdrive.

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