AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition Quad Core CPU

Introduction

Introduction
 
AMD have been playing catch-up with Intel ever since Intel's Core architecture reared it's not so ugly head. With the X2 range of processors lagging behind their Core2 counterparts and Intel releasing a Quad Core, AMD had to get a chip out and fast.
 
Unfortunately, they didn't manage fast, but they did manage to get one out. Phenom is a native Quad Core chip which is fantastic, but it's launch was marred by reactively low clock-speeds. The Phenom 9600 we have here today kicks us off at 2.3GHz and there is a 2.4GHz Phenom 9700, a 2.6GHz par - Phenom 9900 as well as a 2.22GHz Phenom 9300.
 
AMD quad core
 
 
What's new?
 
Well the thing is, not a whole lot is actually new with the new CPU. AMD "enthusiasts" will point out the fact that pipeline can cope with about 33% more traffic and that some of the SSE4 (AMD call it the SSE4a), instruction set is now able to be handled by Phenom.
 
AMD have gone with a three tiered cache level for their Phnom processors with the L3 being labelled "Smartcache", with 512K per core adding up to a total of 2MB L3 cache. This would be hunky-dory, except for the fact that (in very extreme circumstances), there is a bug called the L3 cache Translation Lookup Buffer (TLB) erratum which can cause a system crash. There's a BIOS fix for this, but this means a 10-15% performance drop. Seeing as we didn't use the BIOS fix in this review and during use of the CPU and never once experienced the error I think your fairly safe not worrying about it....unless you need 100% total stability all of the time.
 
AMD have also pumped up their HyperTransport bus to 2.0GHz from 1.0GHz seen in their previous CPU's.
 
Some pretty cool new virtualisation features have also been added, which we went through in our Barcelona Article.
 
 
Pretty in...Black...
 
The Phenom AMD supplied us with was the "Black Edition" 9600 with an unlocked multiplier. By all accounts it's a good thing too as rumours are circulating that Phenom's don't overclock too well.
 
phenom  Phenom
 
 
phenom
 
 
 
 
I think really what you all want to know is: how does Phenom get on in our testing?
 
 
Features
 
Some official specs:
 
phenom
 
 
The industry's first true Quad core x86 processor

* True quad-core designed from the ground up for better communication between cores.
o BENEFIT : Cores can communicate on die rather than on package for better performance


AMD64 with Direct Connect Architecture

* Helps improve system performance and efficiency by directly connecting the memory controller and I/O to the CPU.
* Designed to enable simultaneous 32- and 64-bit computing
* Integrated DDR2 Memory Controller
* BENEFITS :
o Increases application performance by reducing memory latency
o Scales memory bandwidth and performance to match compute needs
o HyperTransport™ Technology provides up to 14.4GB/s peak bandwidth per processor—reducing I/O bottlenecks
o Up to 27.2GB/s total delivered processor-to-system bandwidth (HyperTransport bus + memory bus)


AMD Balanced Smart Cache

* Shared L3 cache
* In addition to the 512K L2 cache per core, up to 2MB of L3 cache shared by up to 4 cores.
o BENEFIT : Shortened access times to highly accessed data for better performance.


AMD Wide Floating Point Accelerator

* 128-bit floating point unit (FPU)
* High performance (128bit internal data path) floating point unit per core.
o BENEFIT : Larger data paths for quicker floating point calculations and better performance.


HyperTransport™ technology

* One 16-bit link up to 3600MT/s
* Up to 8 .0 GB/s HyperTransport™ I/O bandwidth; Up to 14.4GB/s in HyperTransport Generation 3.0 mode
* Up to 27.2GB/s total delivered processor-to-system bandwidth (HyperTransport bus + memory bus)
o BENEFIT : Quick access times to system resources for better performance.


Integrated DDR2 DRAM Controller with AMD Memory Optimizer Technology

* A high-bandwidth, low-latency integrated DDR2 memory controller
* Supports PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066*); PC2-6400 (DDR2-800), PC2-5300 (DDR2-667), PC2-4200 (DDR2-533) or PC2-3200 (DDR2-400) SDRAM unbuffered DIMMs
* Support for 64-bit DDR2 SDRAM memory
* Up to 12.8GB/s memory bandwidth
o BENEFIT : Quick access to system memory for better performance.


AMD Virtualization™ (AMD-V™) With Rapid Virtualization Indexing

* Silicon feature-set enhancements designed to improve the performance, reliability, and security of existing and future virtualization environments by allowing virtualized applications with direct and rapid access to their allocated memory.
o BENEFIT : Helps virtualization software to run more securely and efficiently enabling a better experience when dealing with virtual systems


AMD Cool'n'Quiet™ 2.0 technology

* Enhanced power management features which automatically and instantaneously adjusts performance states and features based on processor performance requirements
* For quieter operation and reduced power requirements
o BENEFIT : Enables platform designs providing less heat and noise efficient performance and energy usage.


AMD CoolCore™ Technology

* Reduces processor energy consumption by turning off unused parts of the processor. For example, the memory controller can turn off the write logic when reading from memory, helping reduce system power.
* Works automatically without the need for drivers or BIOS enablement.
* Power can be switched on or off within a single clock cycle, saving energy without comprimised performance.
o BENEFIT: Helps users get more efficient performance by dynamically activating or turning off parts of the processor.


Dual Dynamic Power Management™

* Enables more granular power management capabilities to reduce processor energy consumption.
* Separate power planes for cores and memory controller, for optimum power consumption and performance, creating more opportunities for power savings within the cores and memory controller.
o BENEFIT Helps improve platform efficiency by providing on demand memory performance while still allowing for decreased system power consumption
 
AMD Phenom page
«Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next»

Most Recent Comments

09-03-2008, 20:38:17

Bungral
Not a chance I'd buy one.

I used to be quite loyal to AMD but that was Athlon XP days.. It came to building a new rig and very nearly bought a X2 6000 but just couldn't ignore the gains I'd get from switching.

Point is until AMD drastically improve they aren't gonna get anyone building a new rig jumping over to them or even sticking with them.

Good review as ever Matt

Oh yeah and I agree it should have been run without the fix if 2 days of testing gave you nothing to actually fix.Quote

09-03-2008, 22:16:58

nepas
nice review mate.

1 slight point though: "socket AM2 users"---shouldnt that be am2+ users

somehow this makes me think that AMD are rushing things so they dont fall too far behind intel.the interesting fact is that the phenom is not far behind the q6600 in the benchies(well at stock,anyway),so maybe amd are heading in the right direction after all,roll on the AMD 8 core(as per your news post the other day)maybe they are not as far behind as we all thought?Quote

10-03-2008, 03:21:50

Hatman
They have the revised ones out soon though and then 45nm ones later this year.

Aslong as they keep on track anyway. A big advantage for AMD would be to release 8core cpus on their AM2+ socket, as for intel you would have to buy a new mobo for nehalem.Quote

10-03-2008, 03:40:08

PV5150
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Hatman'
They have the revised ones out soon though and then 45nm ones later this year.

Aslong as they keep on track anyway. A big advantage for AMD would be to release 8core cpus on their AM2+ socket, as for intel you would have to buy a new mobo for nehalem.
I don't think the B3 revision will offer anything special performance-wise, but it may allow for a lower TDP (hopefully) and a fix for the TLB issue. In my opinion AMD won't be able to squeeze that much out of the Phenom architecture in the bid to reduce the performance deficit by means of the new revision. Nahalem will mean a socket change because the memory controller will now reside on-die. It'll be interesting to see how much of a difference that makes in memory bandwidth next time around.

Good review Kemp, but unfortunately AMD doesn't have the goods this time to warrant a purchase. Hopefully the new 45nm procs will provide a much closer performing alternative.Quote

10-03-2008, 03:45:28

PV5150
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Hatman'
They have the revised ones out soon though and then 45nm ones later this year.

Aslong as they keep on track anyway. A big advantage for AMD would be to release 8core cpus on their AM2+ socket, as for intel you would have to buy a new mobo for nehalem.
I don't think the B3 revision will offer anything special performance-wise, but it may allow for a lower TDP (hopefully) and a fix for the TLB issue. AMD won't be able to sqeeze that much performance out of it's current deficit by means of the new revision. Nahalem will mean a socket change because the memory controller will now reside on-die. It'll be interesting to see how much of a difference that makes in memory bandwidth next time around.

Good review Kemp, but unfortunately AMD doesn't have the goods this time to warrant a purchase. Hopefully the new 45nm procs will provide a much closer performing alternative.Quote
Reply
x

Register for the OC3D Newsletter

Subscribing to the OC3D newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest technology reviews, competitions and goings-on at Overclock3D. We won't share your email address with ANYONE, and we will only email you with updates on site news, reviews, and competitions and you can unsubscribe easily at any time.

Simply enter your name and email address into the box below and be sure to click on the links in the confirmation emails that will arrive in your e-mail shortly after to complete the registration.

If you run into any problems, just drop us a message on the forums.