AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition: New Hope?

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?

Join our discussion on this article!

  • ShadowKai
    I think on page 14 the author meant:

    "When Cool'n'Quiet is deactivated, idle power consumption rises to 51 watts. The jump in power consumption at 2.70 GHz is a direct result of the core voltage increase from 1.250 V to 1.400 V."

    And the bars for Phenom 9600 BE and Phenom 9600 BE (CnC) should be switched around.
  • I think it's also important to mention the fact that Vista SP1 includes it's OWN TLB fix which overrides the bios setting of many boards. I used an app that works in conjunction with Crystal CPUID to change the MSR directly to deactivate this secondary TLB fix. It caused a dramatic improvement in performance; the quick and simple WinRAR bench went from 232 to ~1300 after the fix. Just think it's worth mentioning!
  • I think I may have found a new problem with this bug. I have a Phenom X4 9600, and have tried two different motherboards. The problem occurs when running Windows 7. BSOD with a message stating that the operating system did not receive an clock interupt signal from the second processor. At first I thought it was a bios problem, but have since had to replace the motherboard. Tried Windows 7 again after replacing the motherboard and still having the same problem.