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Should I risk a phenom?

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January 6, 2008 2:38:27 PM

I have read the reviews on the phenom, i know it doe'snt compare to a intel quad, howver I have a asum am2 board, the bios is all set to take a phenom, and frankly i don't feel like reinstalling everything. As i said in another post I want to turn my vhs tapes to mpeg4 or divx. I have a x2 5600 right now and i love it, it great for games, and runs pretty cool, but i need 4 cores. I'd rather spend 220 dollars for a cpu than 500 dollars for a board, intel quad, and my precious time, but jeezus i don't want to have a suck ass cpu, help me decide.

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January 6, 2008 2:45:25 PM

Give it a bash ... or wait a month for a B3 revised cpu which might be about 5 to 10% faster thant the current TLB bugged B2 cpu ... the choice is yours.

I'd frankly wait if it were my money ... and in the meantime overclock it a bit.

I say a bit because it is a 90nm 2.8ghz Windsor core ... 2Mb cache which is great ... not much headroom in those under a stock cooler.

Should be able to push it to 3Ghz tho ... that's a 6000+.

January 6, 2008 2:52:31 PM

I do VHS to DVD convertion and use TMPGenc, Pinnacle studio, and H234 encoding all the time and phenom is quite strong in these areas.

It will depend on how heavy you do multitasking, in my case I would put a phenom just because I need more slower cores over less faster cores.
I'm also considering a dual socket F mobo with Nforce 3600 (tyan) as I have a deal for 2 slow 4-cores-barcelonas for less than 500$ the pack. But the Xeons are quite nice in many benchs, the problem will be the price.

In other cases, specially gaming, an X2 6000 can beat the phenom.
But as conclusion, I would wait for the B3 revision. I'm pretty sure is not more than 3 months away...

But if you get a phenom, get 4 memory modules to make each core to have its own memory. And it seems that technically it can be possible for an old AM2 motherboard to support DDR2 1066.

There's no benchmarks showing that kind of config as far as I know.
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January 6, 2008 3:03:58 PM

Dont rush to get a flawed CPU. I, personally, like AMD; that said, I would'nt rush to get a phenom until they fix it. My family has a small business. I build most of our systems. I built one for my parrents personal use and one for the office using AMD lately. Both are X2's and both are running well. Wait for the next stepping. Or if you get one cheep enough, then buy it. It would have to be REALLY cheep, though, in my opinion.
January 6, 2008 3:04:55 PM

Thats the thing, my x2 5600 is running @ 3ghz right now, it badass for games, and its gonn kinda suck to drop from 3ghz to 2.3ghz, I would be happy if i could get one to 2.5 or 2.6 ghz, so i would'nt take suck a hit on games, as of last yesterday I'm running a ps2 emualtor, and it's a hog. I already have a guy who wants to buy my x25600, so the phenom would end up costing me like 100 bucks actually, thats sems a lot better than a rebuild and 500 bucks.
January 6, 2008 3:06:00 PM

Don't do it. Just hold on a little more, then get the improved Phenom, along with the improved BIOS. Hopefully that will bump up the performance a bit to compete with Intel's Yorkfield.
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January 6, 2008 3:15:05 PM

^AGREED. Wont compete with the Yorkfields tho
January 6, 2008 4:19:09 PM

Well the Phenom 9500 costs only $190 at newegg. It's a damn cheap quad for the price. If you're not gonna OC, it's probably a good deal.

The only problem is that you might not see a large performance gain, if any.
January 6, 2008 4:30:27 PM

I'd say wait for B3, I'm going to guess that will be around April?
January 6, 2008 4:54:23 PM

It could be in 2nd quarter as well... but I guess the prices will become more interesting with the release of the Phenom X3/X2. The athlons will become cheaper I hope.
January 6, 2008 5:05:05 PM

reconviperone1 said:
I have read the reviews on the phenom, i know it doe'snt compare to a intel quad, howver I have a asum am2 board, the bios is all set to take a phenom, and frankly i don't feel like reinstalling everything. As i said in another post I want to turn my vhs tapes to mpeg4 or divx. I have a x2 5600 right now and i love it, it great for games, and runs pretty cool, but i need 4 cores. I'd rather spend 220 dollars for a cpu than 500 dollars for a board, intel quad, and my precious time, but jeezus i don't want to have a suck ass cpu, help me decide.


Honestly the Phenom 9500 for $189.99 right now on Newegg is a great deal. You already have an AM2 board compatible with Phenom, so why upgrade to a whole new platform? And generally speaking, the TLB bug is a very rare bug. I'm an Intel fan myself, however, given your circumstances and situation, the Phenom 9500 would suit you just fine. Try not to listen to all the fanboy hype and what not, focus on what the processor can do, and, granted its cost, judge whether or not it's a better buy.

If I personally had the money to get a Phenom and I had an AM2 board already updated to take Phenom, I'd get it. Look at reviews on Newegg from people who have purchased the product, the product gets great reviews. So let that be a factor in your purchasing as well.
January 6, 2008 5:09:45 PM

only if:
1) you get the unlocked multiplier and know how to overclock it to 2.6-3ghz. its not as easy as intel

2) you plan on running multiple ati cards like the 3870

or if you can only afford amd!

i am getting one but then again i have 10 computers
January 6, 2008 5:14:22 PM

I agree with TC. I'd wait for the B3 stepping before making the jump. For anyone else that's thinking of the Phenom, you should also be aware that the 790FX boards seems to have a problem with the SB600 south bridge. So hold off until the next board revision with the SB700 south bridge mobos are released. A report on the 790FX motherboard problem can be found at:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/13832

I've been wanting to go to a quad for some time myself as my computer sometimes slows as I multitask programs that demand more than the dual core can give. Don't know if I can hold off until Phenom is fixed though, so I might buy a new Intel platform, even though its more expensive for a complete system.

January 6, 2008 5:14:40 PM

If your codecs will benefit from quad cores, then buying a 'fixed' Phenom sounds like a good deal; OK, it will be slower than the Intel CPU, but unless you're compressing video professionally and make money from doing it faster, the time savings probably won't be worth $300.
January 6, 2008 5:34:49 PM

The ONLY reason for the 'bug' in the current Phenom to be a factor in purchase decisions is if your motherboard's BIOS has the option to disable the fix for it, as this fix slows down performance.

Nobody has yet to be able to produce the crash in the L3 Cache memory that is the cause of this TLB errata bug everyone keeps talking about. Anandtech, the guys at Xtremesystems, (H), etc., they've all tried to cause the error with their synthetic software and have not been able to. Only AMD, in their lab environment with their synthetic stress testing software, caused the error to occur.

So as long as your motherboard's bios has the feature to disable the fix I would say this bug is a non-issue on purchase decisions. Actually, I think in the last release of AMD's Overdrive there is a 'turbo' option in it now, which basically disables the errata fix (thus not slowing down your processors ~10%).

All that said, Anandtech's Gary said that on the week of the 14th they will be releasing their big 790FX article and how to get the most out of Phenoms. I would definately wait until at least then because (in my opinion) they do an outstanding job with their reviews. If you don't want to wait, I would say get a Black Edition 9500 if you can find one or else roll the dice and play the waiting game a little longer and hope that AMD releases Phenoms with much more overclocking headroom (or at the very least higher clocks at stock).
January 6, 2008 5:53:45 PM

Wait for new stepping. You'd have to be mad to buy now. Crappy AMD
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January 6, 2008 7:57:34 PM

You have a good cpu now. I would wait for the new stepping or for further price drops. Fry's will probably have one for $199 with board later in the year, just like they did with the q6600, which was a killer deal.
January 6, 2008 8:10:21 PM

Not to mention that I don't think B2 phenoms will be removed by B3s. Which probably means that B2s could drop in price dramatically til they run out. Still we are seeing the price of the 9500 going down slowly. This is just the beginning...

Honestly I don't like the 770/790 chipsets. The south bridge is too old in my opinion but also the crossfire doesn't scale as well as in the intel chipsets as this test reveals: http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2007/12/31/...
January 7, 2008 2:30:47 AM

thefumigator said:
Honestly I don't like the 770/790 chipsets. The south bridge is too old in my opinion but also the crossfire doesn't scale as well as in the intel chipsets as this test reveals: http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2007/12/31/...


Mostly due to the FSB Overclocking, rather than the multiplier overclocking. Which kinda invalidates part of his opinions in that review.
January 7, 2008 12:03:49 PM

TechnologyCoordinator said:
I'd say wait for B3, I'm going to guess that will be around April?


Err... After some research it looks like it might be later than April, I should hope to goodness for AMD's sake it isn't.

Does anyone know officially when AMD's release timeframe for this is? All I can find is Q2 which could be April, May, or June.
January 7, 2008 12:30:35 PM

dragonsprayer said:
only if:
...
2) you plan on running multiple ati cards like the 3870


CrossfireX is not exclusive to AMD, there will be Intel boards that support but it's not known when we'll be seeing them.
January 7, 2008 12:40:31 PM

TechnologyCoordinator said:
Err... After some research it looks like it might be later than April, I should hope to goodness for AMD's sake it isn't.

Does anyone know officially when AMD's release timeframe for this is? All I can find is Q2 which could be April, May, or June.


I haven't seen anything myself. At first there were some rumors that the B3 would be available in Q1, 08, but then it got pushed back to Q2, 08. Now I wonder if AMD is being purposely vague about it so there are no further disappointments. But money is running mighty low, so AMD may just not have the ability to do the R&D as fast as we would like.
January 7, 2008 1:10:49 PM

sailer said:
But money is running mighty low, so AMD may just not have the ability to do the R&D as fast as we would like.


But Hector could always charge the R&D on his card!


January 7, 2008 3:16:58 PM

Mathos said:
Mostly due to the FSB Overclocking, rather than the multiplier overclocking. Which kinda invalidates part of his opinions in that review.


you mean that -probably- going Phenom Black edition could make the Xfire capability to go as efficient as Intel as shown in the test? I'm somewhat confused, is the CPU so relevant for SLi or Xfire scalability?

Quote:
CrossfireX is not exclusive to AMD, there will be Intel boards that support but it's not known when we'll be seeing them.


They are already available. I like the P35 based asrock + wifi and solid capacitors ;-) but those that already sports 2 PCIe are already crossfire enabled. I think...
So they are nice motherboards but I'm sticking with AMD for now, its serving me very well, maybe upgrading to phenom as soon as it reaches my place whenever the cost justifies it.
January 7, 2008 3:43:53 PM

Well, processor speed and computing ability will impact FPS in games at lower resolutions. Say less than 1280x1024 in most games. At that point the GPU is no longer the bottleneck and, any FPS benchmarks will reflect on CPU performance. As you hit higher resolutions the GPU's performance becomes more the issue than CPU. You might notice a 3-7fps difference between processors at that point. I run at 1680x1050 for example, since thats my monitors native res.

The review there the guy was running an Engineering sample phenom with an unlocked multiplier(black edition basically), and just upping the multiplier on the phenom to get a higher clock speed. But with the QX9770 he was OCing the FSB, by a fair amount as far as I could tell, QX9770 runs at 1600Mhz FSB if I'm correct? When you OC using the FSB speed, you're also OCing the RAM, and PCI/PCIe buses at the same time. That in turn will have a fair effect on the performance of the system, especially when compared to just upping the multiplier.

If you get a phenom though, wait for the black edition if you can. That should also be B3 stepping. If you don't want to wait, feel free to go get a 9500 or 9600, they don't overclock well, but for the price they're a good quad. At least now they're priced competitively compared to how they perform against the q6600 retail at Newegg.
January 7, 2008 4:25:28 PM

I believe there is a non-b3 black edition out now, but I refuse to recommend AMD's quads until B3 is out.
January 7, 2008 9:55:53 PM

I don't overclock but if the phenoms get lower in price -as its happening- I wouldn't wait. But yeah, maybe they release the B3 with agressive pricing and I would regret buying the phenom just now.

As for the test, I understood is not fair for the AMD system, but looking at the scores...:

AMD 790FX:
single ATI card 11096
2 Xf'd ATI cards 15026 (35% more)

Intel X38:
single ATI card 13516
2 Xf'd ATI cards 21496 (59% more)

...or the X38 is a great chipset or the overclock helped to the XF scale...
January 8, 2008 3:41:11 AM

If the OC on the FSB effected the PCIe bus clock yes, it would of boosted both cards. So that would be two bus overlclocked cards in XFire being compared to 2 non oced by bus speed cards.
January 8, 2008 10:51:54 PM

That q9300 sounds good for 270 dollars, but Im gonna wait for the b3 stepping, Im hoping whatever I get clocks in at at least 2.6ghz by default or overclock. I think the phenoms should be ok for gaming(not as badass at my 3ghz x2-5600), but Im kinda thinking of getting a console to game on anyway since they are all online
January 9, 2008 2:07:53 PM

TechnologyCoordinator said:
Err... After some research it looks like it might be later than April, I should hope to goodness for AMD's sake it isn't.

Does anyone know officially when AMD's release timeframe for this is? All I can find is Q2 which could be April, May, or June.


I know TC why not start a thread about it? another one for the portfolio of enormously popular threads lol.
January 9, 2008 10:37:50 PM

Well I don't know how good it will be for gaming, but here is what I'm going to go to. I'm gonna keep my asus m2ne am2 board, add 4gb ddr800(6gb when i get vista 64), and a 512mb 3850(maybe a 8800gs). As I said before Im gonna wait for the b3 stepping and hopefully i can get it overclocked to 2.6ghz(my board is pretty decent for overclocking). I know i will be able to do video editing and things like that, but i do like to dabble in bioshock,beyond the red line, and hellgate london every now and again. Of course 2 of those are on the console, so i may just game on console.
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January 9, 2008 11:37:12 PM

Now phenom has become a risk. I love it.
January 10, 2008 12:04:27 AM

Phenom? Risky?

No way.
January 10, 2008 12:06:05 AM

I wouldn't think of the Phenom itself is a risk, but rather would I risk the money to buy it for its performance rather than a different chip that would get the same or better performance. But I'm practical, I don't like to spend money unless I'm sure of a benefit.
January 10, 2008 1:14:26 AM

Word !, that why Im thing of getting it, 200 bucks for a cpu(less when i sell mine), the other stuff i was gonna get no matter what.
January 10, 2008 3:20:29 AM

I should point out something else when I think about the Phenom as a risk. In your case, you only have to buy the chip, but since I presently have a 939 platform, I'd have to buy the chip, a motherboard, and some ram, for a total of $600-$700. So my investment would be a lot higher. I could afford it without problem, but I consider the investment as a whole in its practicality.

Further, since I would be buying a motherboard anyway, the most reasonable one would be a 790 mobo, but the 790 series uses a SB600 south bridge which has been shown as having problems. Its the whole combination of things, not just the Phenom itself, that causes me to either hold off until a B3 stepping and hopefully a better motherboard, or make the entire break to Intel.
January 11, 2008 12:25:04 AM

sailer said:
I should point out something else when I think about the Phenom as a risk. In your case, you only have to buy the chip, but since I presently have a 939 platform, I'd have to buy the chip, a motherboard, and some ram, for a total of $600-$700. So my investment would be a lot higher. I could afford it without problem, but I consider the investment as a whole in its practicality.

Further, since I would be buying a motherboard anyway, the most reasonable one would be a 790 mobo, but the 790 series uses a SB600 south bridge which has been shown as having problems. Its the whole combination of things, not just the Phenom itself, that causes me to either hold off until a B3 stepping and hopefully a better motherboard, or make the entire break to Intel.

Hell, if you have to buy a new mob and cpu, go intel, Im just stuck with am2, plus i love this motherboard(actually the x2 5600 too, but it;s not a quad). If i had to buy all of that , the sticker outside my box would say intel inside, Im the president and oly member of the "bang for your buck union", and a q9400 and mobo is a better value if you have to buy everything.
January 11, 2008 12:29:01 AM

On another note, I've got my x2 5600 running at 3206 ghz, god i love this thing, It's runs everything smoothly, even my ps2 emulator.
January 11, 2008 12:33:08 AM

lets wait for B3... I want to see its cost also. I'm pretty sure I'm going for it as my asrock on my system supports it. Not the same luck with my other system which is AM2 and it doesn't support it, so maybe its time for me to upgrade that one to an intel 45nm hopefully. Sounds nuts, I'll be the only one with both a intel quad and a Phenom?
January 11, 2008 1:09:16 AM

reconviperone1 said:
a q9400 and mobo is a better value if you have to buy everything.


The Q9400 (or is it the Q9450, I can't remember the number for sure at the moment) has really caught my attention and if the benches on it come out good, I plan to get it and then figure out a good mobo. Don't know whether that would be a X38 or X48, but something along that line.
January 11, 2008 1:10:43 AM

I have Phenom on your same motherboard and it is working great.

In your situation though, I would honestly wait to see how things play out. That X2 at 3.2Ghz should be plenty fast!
January 11, 2008 8:08:27 AM

take 6400+ its faster then phenom.
January 11, 2008 9:46:56 AM

reconviperone1 said:
I have read the reviews on the phenom, i know it doe'snt compare to a intel quad, howver I have a asum am2 board, the bios is all set to take a phenom, and frankly i don't feel like reinstalling everything. As i said in another post I want to turn my vhs tapes to mpeg4 or divx. I have a x2 5600 right now and i love it, it great for games, and runs pretty cool, but i need 4 cores. I'd rather spend 220 dollars for a cpu than 500 dollars for a board, intel quad, and my precious time, but jeezus i don't want to have a suck ass cpu, help me decide.

To see price wise better performance I would suggest the 9600 and if possible the BE. In dual core the 9600 is about an equal to 6000+ with only the 6400+ win in benchmarks. The 9600BE OC to about 2.8GHz for most as anandtech done a review showing 4 with 1 at 3GHz, 1 at 2.9GHz, and the other 2 stable at 2.8GHz. The 9600BE OC'ed to 2.8GHz would beat the 6400+ in dual core optimized programs.
January 11, 2008 10:38:38 AM

One of my friends upgrade from Opteron 185 to the phenom 9500.

This CPU is a good CPU for the price. He is under vista 64 and it run with not problems at all.

If you are going to buy one buy the Phenom 9600 BE. This CPU is aroun 230 in some stores.



January 11, 2008 10:42:42 AM

Go for it and you wont regret
January 11, 2008 11:28:39 AM

lol, thats the only thing i dont like about intel right now, the non existant upgrade path.
January 11, 2008 6:34:57 PM

how in the world is it non-existent? Much better then AMDs upgrade path
January 11, 2008 6:35:37 PM

lord_kld said:
take 6400+ its faster then phenom.


Maybe in certain games, but not in video work and encoding.
January 11, 2008 8:26:16 PM

Hell if it matches the 6000+ Im ok, I know the the q6600 and q9400 will be faster, but hell It's not like the thing is slow, I used a x2 4200 and it was fine for every games I played, it ran at 2.2 ghz. But god i love this x2-5600(am i repeating myself).
January 11, 2008 9:36:29 PM

TSIMonster said:
how in the world is it non-existent? Much better then AMDs upgrade path



Intel actually does have an upgrade path.

AMD promissed full upgradability, but has not delivered it.


In terms of upgradability I don't think one company is much better than the other.
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