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Should I upgrade to the Phenom 9950, or wait and switch to Intel?

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October 6, 2008 2:08:01 AM

I currently have an Athlon 5600+ and am looking to get a second 8800gt and sli it and upgrade my cpu. Should I get the phenom 9950 and overclock it, or should I wait, and save up to switch to intel and get a new motherboard and processor?
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October 6, 2008 2:11:18 AM

by your sig, I would wait until around x-mas and see the prices then
October 6, 2008 2:11:30 AM

carman594 said:
I currently have an Athlon 5600+ and am looking to get a second 8800gt and sli it and upgrade my cpu. Should I get the phenom 9950 and overclock it, or should I wait, and save up to switch to intel and get a new motherboard and processor?


A 9950be performs below q6600, Intel's oldest quad, at stock, for 140w compared to 95w TDP, and don't oc nearly as well. It's a bad investment. You should wait and save up, especially with both AMD's and Intel's next generation cpus so near.
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October 6, 2008 2:12:28 AM

I've heard about the nahaleam, but what is amd working on? Will it beat it?
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October 6, 2008 2:12:44 AM

^+1

@dagger
October 6, 2008 2:17:14 AM

carman594 said:
I've heard about the nahaleam, but what is amd working on? Will it beat it?


That's unlikely, since AMD is using the same Phenom architecture with die shrink, while Nehalem use a new architecture that gives more performance per ghz over existing Kentsfield/Yorkfield, which is already significantly faster than Phenom.

They're not out yet though, so anything at this point is guess.
October 6, 2008 2:23:25 AM

dagger said:
especially with both AMD's and Intel's next generation cpus so near.

That is ALWAYS true. Buy when you have the money for what you want. (and your wife/girlfriend/fiancee says you can)
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October 6, 2008 2:29:23 AM

I agree about the not waiting but the OP has a decent system at the moment, and the new offerings are right around the corner. If at worst the the prices of current tech will drop
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October 6, 2008 2:45:54 AM

I looked on the ASUS web site, and in some reviews, but found nothing definite on whether or not your mobo can handle a 140W CPU.
Even if it can, as dagger points out, it may still not be a great idea. If you'll have the budget for a new Intel build, that's a much better choice.
October 6, 2008 2:48:27 AM

descendency said:
That is ALWAYS true. Buy when you have the money for what you want. (and your wife/girlfriend/fiancee says you can)


C2D was released over 2 years ago. At that point if someone had asked: Should I wait for nehalem?, I would have agreed with you, but in this case it is a few months away and he has a pretty decent rig as it is now. Right now there is a chance that waiting could benefit him since we are not but a month or 2 away from knowing if it is worth it or not.

This is not the: "Should I get a 6400 now or wait for a 6420?" question. It is more of: "Should I get a p4 660 now or wait for C2D?" question where the better choice is only a month or 2 away. I am not saying that nehalem will give us the same jump in performance, but you should see where I am going with this.

Yes, playing the waiting game in technology is probably the wrong thing to do 80 - 90% of the time, but there are other times when waiting just a little bit longer could yield very positive results, and when you already have a decent system then it makes the decision all that more plausible. imo

Best,

3Ball
October 6, 2008 2:48:45 AM

I agree, you should wait, if for no other reason then for the price drop. Although there is "always something new around the corner," it seems the corners come around every six months or so and it sucks getting something right before the industry gets around the corner. My advice: wait for Deneb and i7.
October 6, 2008 2:54:15 AM

dagger said:
A 9950be performs below q6600, Intel's oldest quad, at stock, for 140w compared to 95w TDP, and don't oc nearly as well. It's a bad investment. You should wait and save up, especially with both AMD's and Intel's next generation cpus so near.


I'm not referring to the OP, but I just checked the numbers for this claim. I believe at stock, the Q6600 is slower than the 9950BE. Nothing signficant, but just thought that I'd correct a small misinformation.

Links here:
Gaming Performance:
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...

Real-life applications:
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...

Here's the only benchmark on anandtech I found where Q6600 beats the phenom.
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
October 6, 2008 2:55:26 AM

I would be looking at around christmas time. Should I wait to SLI also?
October 6, 2008 2:57:01 AM

I say wait for both and then upgrade to which one is better for u
October 6, 2008 2:57:36 AM

Will they be out by christmas time?
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October 6, 2008 3:05:53 AM

Nehalem should be. Deneb is supposed to be out Q1/09, but counting AMD's record on launches, I wouldnt count on it
October 6, 2008 4:46:12 AM

Onus said:
I looked on the ASUS web site, and in some reviews, but found nothing definite on whether or not your mobo can handle a 140W CPU.
Even if it can, as dagger points out, it may still not be a great idea. If you'll have the budget for a new Intel build, that's a much better choice.


All the newer 9950BE's are 125w, they lowered the TDP on them.

And with your rig, unless you're planning on buying a new mobo so you can get an SB750 board as well, I'd wait. Deneb should release in January, Nehalem will be out in a month or so, don't expect to see it buyable till the end of December though (anyone remember the 9770 release, or most of the Penryn 9000 line?).

Phenom 9750 (2.4ghz) is about 9% slower than q6600 on average clock for clock. 9850 is generally is generally pretty close to q6600, and 9950 is usually ahead, except of course on apps that are optimized for Intel architecture, DivX for example. If Deneb/Shanghai delivers close to 15% IPC increase, then it will put it in line with Penryn, or slightly behind nehalem. Granted from what we've seen Nehalem is on the same level or slightly behind penryn in single threaded games.
October 6, 2008 5:29:33 AM

Wait for Deneb then compare between Penryn, Nehalem and Deneb. Now is not a good time to jump platform.
October 6, 2008 11:04:09 AM

Some people say that the deneb will run on my board.
October 6, 2008 11:20:28 AM

3Ball said:


Yes, playing the waiting game in technology is probably the wrong thing to do 80 - 90% of the time, but there are other times when waiting just a little bit longer could yield very positive results, and when you already have a decent system then it makes the decision all that more plausible. imo

Best,

3Ball


I almost waited with a 4600+ on a 690V board, but I had the Gigabyte board since May without a Phenom, so I said "what the heck, I'll go with the one triple core that's actually decent". I'll still probably upgrade to Deneb, but I'm in no hurry and can wait to see if 2nd generation Denebs later in 2009 use high k.

Something better always comes down the pike. I didn't wait for a new GPU last February because I had a lowly 7600gs, and 6 months later, a sub $200 4850 matches the 3870x2 I spent $450 on. Still, despite some months being CPU limited, it was worth it.

Deneb will bring improvements to current B3 architecture, and Nehalem will bring new tech on the Intel side (with only memory voltage issues being reported as of now). Since they're only a couple of months away at most. I'd advise anyone to wait, even if they want to benefit from price drops on EOL tech like a Q6600 and socket T.

johnyeah said:
I'm not referring to the OP, but I just checked the numbers for this claim. I believe at stock, the Q6600 is slower than the 9950BE. Nothing signficant, but just thought that I'd correct a small misinformation.


I voted you up one, because stock facts are important, but most enthusiasts here would say that the Q6600 overclocks to 3.6 on air and thus beats the 9950. I found a similar response when I showed that the 8760 I upgraded to actually matched or beat Intel duals in the same price bracket. Yet, those Core 2's probably overclock better, even though there were reports of the 8750 reaching 2.7 last April.

Wouldn't you know it, two weeks after upgrading, they released an 8750BE? Still might overclock, or maybe not. I tend to rely upon stock comparisons because I've only overclocked once, back in the P4 days.

carman594 said:
Some people say that the deneb will run on my board.


Do not listen to them. They are wrong. Your board might take a B2 9600, if it has bios support, but it won't take one of the AM2+ versions of Deneb slated to have DDR2 support. Even for those with an AM2+ board, they'll have to have an updated bios and the two models won't be out for too many months (leaked roadmaps say December through Q1 2009). Most Denebs will be AM3 using DDR3.
October 6, 2008 11:49:27 AM

Wow so much misinformation.
OK the 9950BE is 145 TDP all 4 cores running at 2.6 GHz at max.
They are easily OC'ed to 3GHz.
The best motherboard to utilize the 9950BE uses the 790GX northbridge coupled with the SB750 southbridge.
Stock performance beats the Q6600 and is on par with the Q9300 at a chip cost of $170 that real bang for buck.
October 6, 2008 12:40:20 PM

Even if a 9950BE is easily overclocked to 3.0, the Q6600 is easily clocked to 3.6 and has a better IPC. Note that I actually buy only AMD, but I try to be fair. I do not think that comparisons should be based on overclocking, which can vary due to CPU stepping etc. Comparisons should be based on stock clocks.

In that sense, a Q6600 loses slightly to a 9950BE, and a 9850 equals a Q6600. Yet, I don't think any of the 3 are good choices now because Deneb and Nehalem will change things. If someone insists upon building a system based on EOL components and won't upgrade for years, then a Q6600 is the best choice for future proofing, but a 125 watt 9750 or 95 watt triple core 8750BE or upcoming 8850BE is almost as good when price of AMD motherboards and DDR2 are factored in.

My problem with the 140 watt Phenom is that it was just an attempt by AMD to match Core 2 enthusiast quads. They should not have bothered. AMD should just have accepted nothing above 2.4 prior to Deneb. The value of a total AMD platform when chipsets and GPU's are factored in is clear. It's a budget winner compared to Intel dual cores in the same price range, but go a bit higher and the Q6600 is viable.
October 6, 2008 2:15:13 PM

yipsl said:
Even if a 9950BE is easily overclocked to 3.0, the Q6600 is easily clocked to 3.6 and has a better IPC. Note that I actually buy only AMD, but I try to be fair. I do not think that comparisons should be based on overclocking, which can vary due to CPU stepping etc. Comparisons should be based on stock clocks.

In that sense, a Q6600 loses slightly to a 9950BE, and a 9850 equals a Q6600. Yet, I don't think any of the 3 are good choices now because Deneb and Nehalem will change things. If someone insists upon building a system based on EOL components and won't upgrade for years, then a Q6600 is the best choice for future proofing, but a 125 watt 9750 or 95 watt triple core 8750BE or upcoming 8850BE is almost as good when price of AMD motherboards and DDR2 are factored in.

My problem with the 140 watt Phenom is that it was just an attempt by AMD to match Core 2 enthusiast quads. They should not have bothered. AMD should just have accepted nothing above 2.4 prior to Deneb. The value of a total AMD platform when chipsets and GPU's are factored in is clear. It's a budget winner compared to Intel dual cores in the same price range, but go a bit higher and the Q6600 is viable.


A Lucid and Rational Post.
Not alot of them here..........

A few points to add.

#1 - When Comparing Processors, I consider the system they will be in. If they are in a retail system wherey ou can't OC, then overclocking should never be considered.

#2 - If you have no intention of OCing, it should be given very little weight. (You may change your mind in two-three years when the choice between OCing and buying a new sytem comes up, so a small weight should be added.)

#3 - If you are a more advanced user that does optmize their CPU in the BIOS for either speed or extra low power usage, then it is silly to not compare CPUs based upon a the speeds at which you reasonably expect to run them.

AMD is very competitive right now for #1 and #2.
This board is filled with #3s, where it has a hard time competing.
=============================================

For the OP, I would recommend either sticking with your current board processor for now if you want to stay AMD. The Denab will be a big step forward and I suspect a true AM3 board will result in better results than any current AMD board. If you are considering the 9950BE, you will likely need to upgrade to a board that supports that processors power envelope as well as has the 750South Bridge to get the full benefeits.
Since AMD will be making a huge step early next year with Denab, I would not do a whole sale upgrade now.

If you are going to be a wholesale upgrade now, then I think Intel is the only choice if you are a #3.

October 6, 2008 2:17:55 PM

bobbknight said:
Wow so much misinformation.
OK the 9950BE is 145 TDP all 4 cores running at 2.6 GHz at max.
They are easily OC'ed to 3GHz.
The best motherboard to utilize the 9950BE uses the 790GX northbridge coupled with the SB750 southbridge.
Stock performance beats the Q6600 and is on par with the Q9300 at a chip cost of $170 that real bang for buck.


Yep, the "revised TDP" of 125w AMD released is actually ADP, average instead of top consumption. No changes in the chip whatsoever. It's a marketing ploy in response to complaints.
October 6, 2008 8:26:11 PM

Well, I'm thinking of getting a second 8800gt and sli it. I'm thinking of ordering it today or tomorrow. I have a sli capable motherboard. Should I hold off or should I go for it? I play at 1920x1200.
October 6, 2008 9:49:54 PM

dagger said:
Yep, the "revised TDP" of 125w AMD released is actually ADP, average instead of top consumption. No changes in the chip whatsoever. It's a marketing ploy in response to complaints.


The 125W is TDP.
a c 127 à CPUs
October 6, 2008 9:51:50 PM

dagger said:
Yep, the "revised TDP" of 125w AMD released is actually ADP, average instead of top consumption. No changes in the chip whatsoever. It's a marketing ploy in response to complaints.


Actually only the server chips (Barcy) use the ADP. The Phenoms do use the TDP. But if you look up the equivalent Barcy then it will show the TDP as lower which is the ADP. Now why they would use that for the server chips which tend to have a higher load 24/7 than the desktop chips is beyond me.
October 6, 2008 9:56:49 PM

jimmysmitty said:
Actually only the server chips (Barcy) use the ADP. The Phenoms do use the TDP. But if you look up the equivalent Barcy then it will show the TDP as lower which is the ADP. Now why they would use that for the server chips which tend to have a higher load 24/7 than the desktop chips is beyond me.


Ye gads man! Ye didn't flame me and request a link for proof!

Are you feeling okay? Not coming down with something are you?
a c 127 à CPUs
October 6, 2008 9:57:45 PM

^No its just common knowledge. Or should be. I knew about the ADP since Barcys release. Why AMD decided to go with it on the server chips is beyond me.
October 6, 2008 10:12:45 PM

carman594 said:
Have you guys read this: http://www.techpowerup.com/71979/Phenom_X4_X3_45nm_Line...


If that chart is true and AMD gets the IPC atleast around that of a similar clocked 45nm penryn, but for much cheaper, then I may go with 20550 X4 for a quad build so that I can reuse my 4gb of DDR2. Not holding my breath though! lol

Best,

3Ball
a c 117 à CPUs
October 6, 2008 10:22:30 PM

carman594 said:
Have you guys read this: http://www.techpowerup.com/71979/Phenom_X4_X3_45nm_Line...


With your X2 5600+ @ 3.2Ghz and gaming at 19x12 I think you will first become GPU bound before your CPU starts bottlenecking.

Adding another 8800gt only delays the enviable. You should consider selling the 8800gt you have now while you can still get pretty good money for it - and consider a move to a GTX 260 or HD4870.

I think you would be fine either way - but if you think a new mobo/cpu may be coming your way in the next 3-4 months I'd probably lean toward the HD4870 for either an AMD 790fx chipset with sb750 or an Intel P45/48 - and possibly give yourself a CrossFire alternative down the road.

It's probably just me but it seems the new nVidia chipsets are kinda .... meh ...

edit: These are interesting times on both the Intel and AMD homefronts in the next few months. There is nothing wrong with hangin' tight and riding out what you got because hardware will always be faster, cheaper and more capable just down the road ...
October 6, 2008 10:52:50 PM

carman594 said:
Well, I'm thinking of getting a second 8800gt and sli it. I'm thinking of ordering it today or tomorrow. I have a sli capable motherboard. Should I hold off or should I go for it? I play at 1920x1200.


Go for it. Performance at 1920x1200:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=14
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=15
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=16
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=17
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=18
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=19
October 6, 2008 10:55:48 PM

johnyeah said:
I'm not referring to the OP, but I just checked the numbers for this claim. I believe at stock, the Q6600 is slower than the 9950BE. Nothing signficant, but just thought that I'd correct a small misinformation.

Links here:
Gaming Performance:
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...

Real-life applications:
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...

Here's the only benchmark on anandtech I found where Q6600 beats the phenom.
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/amdphenom9350e_07010...


Why not link to complete reviews instead of picking only pictures that support your views? Also, you made a mistake on the first picture, it actually shows the opposite. Better edit it out. :p 
October 6, 2008 11:20:59 PM

3Ball said:
C2D was released over 2 years ago. At that point if someone had asked: Should I wait for nehalem?, I would have agreed with you, but in this case it is a few months away and he has a pretty decent rig as it is now. Right now there is a chance that waiting could benefit him since we are not but a month or 2 away from knowing if it is worth it or not.


I don't disagree with the post, I just disagree with the idea. There is a lot of talk about how Nehalem will be a nice upgrade, but there seems to be a common consensus that the basic user (gamers) won't get much performance out of this iteration. The next Nehalem release (correct me if I am wrong) is Q4 2009? In other words, it isn't as close as many claim.

If someone isn't willing to shell out major dollars for Nehalem, it's unlikely to be worth it. When you shell out that kind of money for a system your $$$/performance ratio is terrible compared to the previous generation of hardware. If you are going to spend that kind of money, then the answer is obvious.
October 7, 2008 1:16:16 AM

descendency said:
I don't disagree with the post, I just disagree with the idea. There is a lot of talk about how Nehalem will be a nice upgrade, but there seems to be a common consensus that the basic user (gamers) won't get much performance out of this iteration. The next Nehalem release (correct me if I am wrong) is Q4 2009? In other words, it isn't as close as many claim.

If someone isn't willing to shell out major dollars for Nehalem, it's unlikely to be worth it. When you shell out that kind of money for a system your $$$/performance ratio is terrible compared to the previous generation of hardware. If you are going to spend that kind of money, then the answer is obvious.


Assuming that I read that correctly then I will take you up on the correction. Nehelam is going to release within the next month and should have some supply within the next 2 months imo. Not sure what the supply will look like, but alas...it will be here. We do not know yet how much it will benefit us, but waiting a month to evaluate could easily be worth it imo.

Also, try to remember that not everyone builds with the idea of price/performance in mind. Not saying that the OP isnt looking for that, but not everyone feels that way. Some people just want the fastest and in some cases (even if not the fastest) the newest. I myself do not always put price/performance ratio at the top of my priorities. It just depends on my financial situation and the market at the time. Just thought that I would mention that, because the answer is not always obvious as not everyones situation is the exact same.

Best,

3Ball
October 23, 2008 12:35:03 AM

BadTrip said:
Nehalem should be. Deneb is supposed to be out Q1/09, but counting AMD's record on launches, I wouldnt count on it

Oh,even though they're in mass production?

You guys *cough dagger* are seriously pissing me off with your blatant fanboi feelings.
And no,it doesn't use Silicon on Insulator,it uses high-k metal gates.
Or,you could check Intel and AMD's site and actually stop being a jackass(assume everything).Either way,dudes.

Aswell,who really needs a "gaming CPU"? Your REAL performance is going to not be from the CPU,but the GPU.
a c 127 à CPUs
October 23, 2008 12:54:10 AM

jaragon13 said:
Oh,even though they're in mass production?

You guys *cough dagger* are seriously pissing me off with your blatant fanboi feelings.
And no,it doesn't use Silicon on Insulator,it uses high-k metal gates.
Or,you could check Intel and AMD's site and actually stop being a jackass(assume everything).Either way,dudes.

Aswell,who really needs a "gaming CPU"? Your REAL performance is going to not be from the CPU,but the GPU.


Just because the way you put it is being like a jerk here is something you should read:

Quote:
Fourth-generation Strained Silicon. AMD’s first 45nm product features transistors
using AMD’s fourth generation of strained silicon technology, utilizing Silicon
Germanium, Dual-Stress Liner and advanced Strain Memorization techniques for
increased switching speed and power-efficiency.


Quote:
High-k/metal Gates. As part of AMD’s Continuous Transistor Improvement (CTI)
approach, AMD has the option to introduce high-k/metal gates into 45nm production
to further enhance transistor performance. The “gate first” approach, developed with
IBM, is designed to provide a simpler, less time consuming way to migrate to high-k
metal gate technology and secure benefits that include improved performance and
reduced power consumption.


Thats from here:

http://www.amd.com/us-en/0,,3715_15503,00.html?redir=45...

and here

http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/Downloadab...

AMDs first 45nm products are not HK/MG. They have the option to but will not be releaseing the first Deneb chips with HK/MG.

Shanghai is in full production and they are starting Deneb but Deneb will not be released until Q1/09 unless AMD brings that up which at this point I doubt.

Nehalem is set for release next month and is using HK/MG on a 45nm Process.
a b à CPUs
October 23, 2008 3:24:53 AM

jaragon13 said:
Oh,even though they're in mass production?

You guys *cough dagger* are seriously pissing me off with your blatant fanboi feelings.
And no,it doesn't use Silicon on Insulator,it uses high-k metal gates.
Or,you could check Intel and AMD's site and actually stop being a jackass(assume everything).Either way,dudes.

Aswell,who really needs a "gaming CPU"? Your REAL performance is going to not be from the CPU,but the GPU.


Who needs a gaming CPU? My vote is for a gamer.
October 23, 2008 6:57:47 AM

just wow . i knew of the intell chip but knew nothing of amd chip . i had a nice 939 set up and sold it for am2 . big mistake in my opinion . i could have maxed out what i had and ben happy . you already have a pretty nice set up already . you can get another 8800gt and wait out the chip wars for a while to see wich one you like . then decide wich set up you like best .

!