AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition
AMD fans that want to overclock their processors can rejoice at news that the CPU maker is offering a Black Edition of its current fastest quad-core model. The Black Edition turns the Phenom into a much more attractive CPU for many prospective buyers.
How much overclocking potential does the Black Edition really offer? And can the AMD OverDrive tool really deliver on its promise of easy and painless overclocking?
Thanks to the unlocked multiplier on the Black Edition, AMD's OverDrive overclocking utility can finally be used more sensibly, allowing users to test the limits of their CPUs within Windows, without needing to reboot for every hanged setting. The unlocked multiplier lets you overclock the CPU without having to raise the motherboard's FSB or Hypertransport speed. This means that the board does not have to operate outside of its specifications, so it remains stable.
The toughest competition in computer stores for AMD's Phenom processor is Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6600. Compare Prices on Core 2 Quad Q6600 Costing about $300, it's almost identical in price to the Phenom 9600 Black Edition. Which is a better value for the money will be decided by the two CPUs' respective power consumption and performance.
We overclocked the Phenom 9600 Black Edition to its stable limits and then ran it through our entire benchmark course. It seems like a contradiction that AMD allows buyers to overclock this model to their hearts' content, even though it still uses the faulty B2 stepping. After all, AMD decided to delay all processor models running at more than 2.3 GHz due to the TLB bug in this very same stepping. Does this mean that Phenom overclockers are at a higher risk of having their systems become unstable?