AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition Quad Core CPU

Test Setup & Overclocking

Test Setup
 
We debated for quite some time as to how to test AMD's Phenom and in the end decided that we would compare it to Intel's Q6600 due to the comparative price of both the processors.
 
I also debated about whether I wanted to use the TLB BIOS fix in the review and after running through a whole set of benchmarks and 48 hours of stress testing without a crash and without the fix, I decided to feature this review without the fix. Some may agree with this decision, some may not, I hope either way you find the results interesting!
 
Intel Setup
Motherboard
Asus Maximus Formula (X38)
 
Processor
• Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 "G0" 2.4GHz
 
Memory Modules
• Cellshock PC2-6400 DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12)
 
Graphics Card
• Sapphire Ultimate X1950 Pro 256mb PCI-E
 
Hard Disk
• Hitachi Deskstar 80GB 7K80 SATA2 7200RPM 8mb
 
Operating System
• Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (Latest Updates)
 
AMD Setup
 
 Motherboard
• Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe

Processor
• AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition (B2 stepping) 2.3GHz

Memory Modules
• Cellshock PC2-6400 DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12)

Graphics Card
• Sapphire Ultimate X1950 Pro 256mb PCI-E

Hard Disk
• Hitachi Deskstar 80GB 7K80 SATA2 7200RPM 8mb

Operating System
• Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (Latest Updates)
 
Benchmark Suite
Synthetic CPU & Memory Subsystem
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• Lavalys Everest 4.0

File Compression & Encoding
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark05
• 3DMark06

3D Games
• Quake 4
• Bioshock
• F.E.A.R

Overclocking
 
Overclocking was almost a totally non-familiar experience to begin with, until I remembered my socket 939 overclocking days! The BIOS of the Asus board we used was thorough and had a lot of options so I decided to get in there and see how this unlocked Black edition could do.
 
I haven't included a Max FSB graph here as they don't compare very well, but the Max FSB I could attain on the Phenom was 210MHz using the BIOS and 220MHz using AMD's overdrive tool, pretty disappointing considering I used to be able to get speeds in excess of 300FSB out of my old X2 and AMD 64 CPU's.
 
Max OC
 
Unfortunately I only managed a measly 200MHz from this B2 stepping Black Edition Phenom CPU. Anything else froze the system up. I did try using AMD's Overdrive Tool (which is a handy little gadget for information about the CPU), but this also topped out at 2500Mhz. Compare this to the Intel and, well, there's no comparison.
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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
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