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Phenom II X2 555 Vs. Pentium G6950: New Budget Dual-Core Titans

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January 25, 2010 3:25:03 AM

Kudos to AMD! Gogogo!
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20
January 25, 2010 3:29:31 AM

good article we like to know ur human and can blow shit up
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24
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January 25, 2010 3:34:09 AM

Bring on the battle of the fanboys. I'll get the popcorn.
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21
January 25, 2010 3:41:17 AM

I see a bunch of overclocking articles... do you have any clue about how many of your readers overclock ? and how many of the public at large ?

My guess from personal anecdote would be 10% and 0.01 % resp ?
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-27
January 25, 2010 3:43:13 AM

obarthelemyI see a bunch of overclocking articles... do you have any clue about how many of your readers overclock ? and how many of the public at large ?My guess from personal anecdote would be 10% and 0.01 % resp ?

It's pretty much a free way to get better performance, so I'm glad they have so many articles about it.
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20
Anonymous
January 25, 2010 3:43:36 AM

That's great news for my next budget PC :D 
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8
January 25, 2010 3:45:28 AM

I'd say a decent majority do overclock, and this site isn't exactly for the general public. Not very people get what's going on here on Tom's.

POLL!!
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14
January 25, 2010 3:46:31 AM

obarthelemyI see a bunch of overclocking articles... do you have any clue about how many of your readers overclock ? and how many of the public at large ?My guess from personal anecdote would be 10% and 0.01 % resp ?


More like 50% and 5%, I think.
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8
January 25, 2010 3:47:39 AM

If you read this article, you are probably in a higher percentage group than the general public!
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11
January 25, 2010 4:00:43 AM

Good showing by AMD!
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14
January 25, 2010 4:02:40 AM

Most people, at least those who build systems for themselves, friends, and clients (who would read this article), probably overclock their cpu... even if it is only a very modest overclock on the included retail cooler. (Or, higher on an aftermarket one.)

As such, I must agree that it is a good thing that AMD seems to still have a market. (As such, we won't find Intel being the only player in the CPU market... at least for the next year anyway.)

With luck, AMD's shift to completely new chips will allow the company to keep a competitive presence in the low-end and mainstream market.
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4
January 25, 2010 4:08:47 AM

intel has to work harder on their low end mainstream efforts or they will continue to lose ground to amd
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-3
January 25, 2010 4:29:58 AM

i enjoy seeing a win here for amd. makes me happy. two wins actually.$100 dollar dual cores @ stock for stock it wins, due to it has higher stock clocks. secondly it survived the abuse put to it. even if the intel chip will clock higher, it failed. thats hard to forget. "its not the dog in the fight, its the fight in the dog."
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8
January 25, 2010 4:32:19 AM

Is it just me, or is there something weird on the "Benchmark Results: Synthetics" page. The table titled, "PCMark Vantage Hard Drive Test Score" shows the stock 555 performing better than the 555 when overclocked, which contradicts intuition and the paragraph that follows the table. Not a big deal, just thought I should point it out. Peace!
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1
January 25, 2010 4:53:26 AM

I think Tom's Hardware should focus on overclock for daily use. I would never go over 1.4V with a brand new processor, and I guess those who do wouldn't do it for daily use.

So I would really like to see some limitations applied when comparing the value of each processor. Some limitations would apply like max voltages, max temps, power saving on. Disabling custom features like Intel's turbo boost or hyper threading would be fair game if it made the overclocking easier/safer.

I appreciate the fact that you push the chip to the limit so the reader don't have to, but in the end the overclock results aren't really useful without guesswork of how much the performance would decrease when you apply daily use limitations. Can a Pentium G6950 keep 4.2GHz at 1.4V? Can the Phenom II 555 reach 3.8GHz at 1.4V?

Personally I wouldn't go over 1.35V with my i7 920, but I understand each fabricant, and each processor have its own limits. I'm not aware of the AMD processor stock or max voltage, but in this case I'm guessing 1.4V is a fair number to impose as limit with these two competitors.
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6
January 25, 2010 5:27:31 AM

On "Test Systems And Benchmarks" it says "Mushkin PC3-10700
3 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1333, CL". Was this a mistake when writting the article or did you really tested 3 dual channel processors with 3 memory sticks?.
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3
January 25, 2010 5:39:40 AM

Clarksdale is a big compromise, and I don't know why anyone would buy the Pentium without using the GPU. That's kind of the point.

If not, you go to the faster Core 2 based Pentium. It's cheaper, runs faster, and isn't lobotomized like LGA1156 processor. At least with the Lynnfield you get the faster memory controller, but with the Clarksdale, you get abysmal memory performance and all the bad compromises of the Lynnfield, without the main benefit. Who'd want this except budget buyers who want to use the GPU?

The Pentium G6950 is a real bomb. It's a horrible, brain-damaged processor that will be sold to the masses, because it can make for a cheap platform suitable for surfing. But when you quantify the performance, it's going to suck, bad. Better off with the older Pentiums, or an AMD product.

Also, I'd be really curious about the Athlon X2s. The Athlon X4 is just an inferior Phenom at a lower price, but the Athlon X2 has the much larger L2 cache, which could make it a very interesting product - especially considering the price. It should also use slightly less power, saving even more money.
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6
January 25, 2010 5:48:59 AM

What's with the weird L1 cache sizes anyway? The Athlon still uses 128K, 3 cycle L1 cache. And for the G6950, why do you have it 4 x 32K, and the Phenom II 2 x 128K? If you want to call the L1 cache seperate data and instruction, at least do it consistently, instead of making it confusing by applying it to the Pentium, but not to the Phenom.

It's also worth noting in the thermal limits that the Pentium G6950 includes a lot more than the AMD product, including the PCI-E controller and GPU. It's not an apples to apples comparison.
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-3
January 25, 2010 6:34:57 AM

ta152hWhat's with the weird L1 cache sizes anyway? The Athlon still uses 128K, 3 cycle L1 cache. And for the G6950, why do you have it 4 x 32K, and the Phenom II 2 x 128K? If you want to call the L1 cache seperate data and instruction, at least do it consistently, instead of making it confusing by applying it to the Pentium, but not to the Phenom. It's also worth noting in the thermal limits that the Pentium G6950 includes a lot more than the AMD product, including the PCI-E controller and GPU. It's not an apples to apples comparison.


its apples to apples because they compared on the given price point, not on the feature set. it'd be apples to pineapples if you compared a 100$ cpu vs a 200$ cpu eh?
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3
January 25, 2010 6:58:25 AM

burnley14It's pretty much a free way to get better performance, so I'm glad they have so many articles about it.

Well, obviously from this article itself, I wouldn't exactly use the term "FREE" since you would have just purchased a processor and fried it.

Would be better to use the term gambling since nothing is guranteed.
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8
January 25, 2010 7:38:52 AM

I think the main error with this article is attempting to overclock what is almost a SoC: as far as I know, the CPU, RAM controller and GPU are all clocked relatively to the main bus' frequency. Now, the CPU core and RAM controller may have been designed to bear much higher clock speeds than what the finished product is sold at, but the GPU sure isn't. I would venture a guess and say that what probably happened is that the CPU handled the overclock very well - but the GPU fried up, short-circuited and forced the mobo off.

As far as I know, reference speed for the GPU on this chip is 733 MHz, and the GPU itself is designed for a 900 MHz (maybe 1 GHz) speed at stock voltage. I would thus recommend against any overvolt in the next OC attempt.

Yup, SoC suck at O/C.
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-1
January 25, 2010 8:01:51 AM

Could we take motherboard price into account, when comparing CPU prices please?
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0
January 25, 2010 8:43:22 AM

I overclock everything that I can get my hands on, hell I even tried boosting the old 300mhc celeron rig I have but the BIOS are locked and same goes for my old P4 rig, but at least my 7600gs will do 540mhz core 360mhz memory =))
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-1
January 25, 2010 9:02:08 AM

This is the first time in a long while that i read about a fried cpu. Why is it even possible? We didnt use to have this risc with the core 2 family of cpu's. After seeing this i wouldnt recommand OCing this cpu beyond 3.5ghz, it will simply wear out after a while.
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-1
January 25, 2010 9:29:31 AM

ArticleFor this task we chose the Cooler Master TX3. While it's far from the most effective cooler out there, its $15 price tag makes it an ideal fit. Plus, it's compatible with Socket AM3 and LGA 1156 interfaces. With the fan running at 100%, the TX3 provides farily good cooling performance, although it's a little louder than we'd like.


I'd like to comment a bit on that sentence here!
I used such a cooler in a recent build (nzxt panzerbox with a better 120mm fan, i5-750 and corsair 550w psu) and it's not just a little louder than what you'd like, it's in fact a lot louder! I built the system in november or something, and had it in for repair just after new years (harddrive with smart errors). I ended up setting the cpu fan locked at 7v as the noise was just too much for what was supposed to be a whisper quiet system. The fan that comes with the cooler is so poor you'd think it came from thermaltake!
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0
January 25, 2010 9:55:28 AM

The thing that annoys me is that they compare the CPU cost to CPU cost. Have you ever looked at the price difference between a motherboard running an AMD chip-set vs. an Intel's? Your looking at a minimum $35.00 difference. So that really means you should compare a $100 AMD to a $65 Intel. Oh wait. That would mean comparing this to an E5200.
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-3
January 25, 2010 10:04:48 AM

About 2 weeks ago, I built a HTPC with the Regor 250. I couldn't believe how cool the heatsink stayed. To see these benchmarks with a thermal footprint lower than my 250 is really impressive. They are almost to the point of being able to passively cool their CPU. Nice work AMD!!
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1
January 25, 2010 10:09:06 AM

as i've seen on the benchmarks, g6950 is better on the majority of applications and in power consumption at stock speeds, other than that, its the 555.
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-4
January 25, 2010 10:14:24 AM

Looks like they got a little too excited with their Pentium processor. The OC was pretty impressive but Don should've known when to stop. It's only so much a dual-core can take, and it would've been a lot more fair if you compared the pentium and Phenom processors at the same clock speeds.
But it was a good try and an almost great article. I still dont understand why you put them up against a core i5.
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0
Anonymous
January 25, 2010 10:37:45 AM

I would like to see undervolting performance of these processors. Having a quick enough processor that doesn't use to much power is really the best and AMD processors often undervolt very well. Just as an example my Athlon II 620 is standard running at 1.3V but runs perfectly stable in my system at 1.1V. (One could also say that AMD is putting way to much juice on these processors)
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-1
January 25, 2010 10:40:21 AM

bak0nThe thing that annoys me is that they compare the CPU cost to CPU cost. Have you ever looked at the price difference between a motherboard running an AMD chip-set vs. an Intel's? Your looking at a minimum $35.00 difference. So that really means you should compare a $100 AMD to a $65 Intel. Oh wait. That would mean comparing this to an E5200.

You missed the part about the intended intel motherboard costing only 5 bucks more than the used amd one I assume?
Please read the article before you comment on it.

As you enter teh mainstream system configurations you'll notice that amd motherboards are just as expensive as intels. Only the x58 platform and legacy stuff like skulltrail and the equivalent amd fx stuff are uncomparably expensive. But the mainstream stuff isn't. Pick a p55 or perhaps even older p45 board and pit it against some 790 system of equal quality and they cost similarily.
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1
January 25, 2010 10:55:46 AM

bustaprLooks like they got a little too excited with their Pentium processor. The OC was pretty impressive but Don should've known when to stop. It's only so much a dual-core can take, and it would've been a lot more fair if you compared the pentium and Phenom processors at the same clock speeds. But it was a good try and an almost great article. I still dont understand why you put them up against a core i5.


That i5-750 is there as an external reference point, not for a direct apples to apples comparison. It also serves to point out where dual-core designs lose to quads badly and where they still keep up well.

I'm surprised though, I'd have expected the Pentium to do better than that at stock.
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1
January 25, 2010 11:12:40 AM

obarthelemyI see a bunch of overclocking articles... do you have any clue about how many of your readers overclock ? and how many of the public at large ?My guess from personal anecdote would be 10% and 0.01 % resp ?


Don't read the articles if you don't overclock. I read every one. I never use a laptop but I don't bitch when they write an article only pertaining to laptops. On a side note there is no reason everyone who does more than surf the web and write papers should not overclock, even if it is only at stock voltage. Its free performance. Everyone likes free
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1
January 25, 2010 11:23:01 AM

Why no Athlon II x4 620 in this benchmark? Quadcore for $100 to compare against the 555 would have been nice even if you pulled the numbers from a previous article.
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4
January 25, 2010 11:29:56 AM

One thing I would have liked to seen is if you could unlock the other two cores of the 555, and if so how that would affect the benchmarks. Just like overclocking, this can't be guaranteed but has to be considered a great value add with the Phenom x2 processors. I've worked with many 550x2s
building budget rigs for customers and every single one has successfully unlocked to a quad core. I hope the 555 continues this tradition.
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0
January 25, 2010 11:56:30 AM

Interresting... but AMD still lose.
Amd should bring back old technology like put many cpu on the same board.
Perhaps he can win that way.
2-3 AMD CPU against 1 Intel CPU.

:p 
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-6
January 25, 2010 12:11:41 PM

i am a little surprised that the athlon II x4 wasn't thrown in since it is in the $100 price mark as well
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2
January 25, 2010 12:14:30 PM

Quite an incomplete article. I would bench X2 555, G6950 and i3-530 to find out the best budget dual core. X2 555 is a gamers’ CPU while G6950 is an office PC CPU so the premise behind this comparison is a little bit off. I’ll be more interesting to know if the extra $20-25 that i3-530 asks over X2 555 is worth it for a budget gamer.

BTW, I can’t believe how high you tried to run that G6950; 1.475v. Voltage that high is often considered suicide benchmark run on 45nm CPUs and you set it for a 32nm part. The 1.5v on X2 555 is also way too high. It hasn’t killed itself yet but I have reservation about it finishing a two year upgrade cycle.
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-1
January 25, 2010 12:27:13 PM

I for one am glad AMD is still a contender of sorts!!! But I must say that the g6950 should fare well if things are toned down a bit on the overclock as Don suggests!
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0
Anonymous
January 25, 2010 12:35:40 PM

Well duh the 4.41GHz is unsustainable... Should have benchmarked with something SUSTAINABLE in over clocking instead of being lazy and using something that cannot be tested it would have at least shown some sort of increase and comparison against AMD.
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-1
January 25, 2010 12:40:41 PM

JVLebbinkI would like to see undervolting performance of these processors. Having a quick enough processor that doesn't use to much power is really the best and AMD processors often undervolt very well. Just as an example my Athlon II 620 is standard running at 1.3V but runs perfectly stable in my system at 1.1V. (One could also say that AMD is putting way to much juice on these processors)

I would argue that all processor undervolts well and not just AMD. I had my E6400 at stock at 0.915v and my current Q6600 at 3.0GHz @ 1.2v.

HonisWhy no Athlon II x4 620 in this benchmark? Quadcore for $100 to compare against the 555 would have been nice even if you pulled the numbers from a previous article.

Good idea. I like to see X2 555, G6950, i3-530 and X4 620 in a single test.
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1
January 25, 2010 1:25:08 PM

Looks like its Fat Cow Season!
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0
January 25, 2010 1:26:12 PM

You should have tried unlocking the two cores....hey if its a free performance boost like overclocking then it should be utilized on the cpu which has it
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0
January 25, 2010 1:38:48 PM

I'm liking the performance/ price ratios here! AMD really is a master of the low end budget segment.
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-1
January 25, 2010 1:42:32 PM

pei-chenGood idea. I like to see X2 555, G6950, i3-530 and X4 620 in a single test.


Yes, but according to Anand the AthlonIIx4 630 will take the place of the 620 at $99 now that the 635 is out at $119, it should be the x4 630 the one for the comparison or even the AthlonIIx4 635 as the i3-530 is a $125 processor.
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-1
January 25, 2010 2:03:29 PM

As chip strata get thinner I think you should examine how robust the chips are with respect to overclocking and increased voltage. Up until now we have been lucky with chips that could be overclocked until they produce errors as long as you control the temps. The 32nm chips may have to be dealt with differently.
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0
January 25, 2010 2:10:35 PM

pei-chenI would argue that all processor undervolts well and not just AMD. I had my E6400 at stock at 0.915v and my current Q6600 at 3.0GHz @ 1.2v.

Hey I hadn't thought of that. I thought I was doing good just running mine at 3.0 and leaving the voltage alone (I think it's supposed to be 1.25 but CPU-Z reports it as 1.36). Gonna have to try adjusting my voltage now, thanks.
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1
January 25, 2010 2:15:41 PM

ta152hClarksdale is a big compromise, and I don't know why anyone would buy the Pentium without using the GPU. That's kind of the point.


I'd have to disagree with you there. Just because it has an onboard GPU doesn't mean you have to use it. The CPU is comparably priced compared to the 555, and even the entire platform is comparably priced as there are some budget H55 and P55 motherboards out there. That price dictates it's in a viable price range for budget enthusiasts, and the H55, P55, and 785G motherboards can all be used with discrete graphics.


ta152hIf not, you go to the faster Core 2 based Pentium. It's cheaper, runs faster, and isn't lobotomized like LGA1156 processor. At least with the Lynnfield you get the faster memory controller, but with the Clarksdale, you get abysmal memory performance and all the bad compromises of the Lynnfield, without the main benefit.


I don't think that is correct. I would be surprised if the G6950 wouldn't beat the Core 2 based E6500, clock for clock for sure, and even at the E6500's stock clock advantage.
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2
January 25, 2010 2:16:45 PM

kartuCould we take motherboard price into account, when comparing CPU prices please?


I did, please read the article.
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6
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