Phenom vs. Athlon Core Scaling Compared

Phenom 9000 At 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 And 2.8 GHz

AMD hasn't been very lucky with its new processor generation based on the Barcelona design (Stars core). First of all, it arrived many months later than promised, and failed to deliver the expected performance to attack Intel and its Core 2 processor armada. Instead of speeds of up to 3 GHz, the current Phenom models are available at only 2.2 and 2.3 GHz (Phenom 9500 and 9600). The 2.4 GHz Phenom 9700, a 2.6 GHz Phenom 9900 and the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz triple core Phenom models 7600 and 7700 should follow within a few weeks.

If this weren't enough, AMD was unlucky enough to suffer from a bug in its current B2 core stepping. It affects the L3 cache's translation lookaside buffer (TLB) and may lead to data corruption and system crashes. While all manufacturers, including both AMD and Intel, discover certain bugs from time to time (these are known as errata), most of them can be patched by BIOS microcode updates. This also applies to Phenom, although AMD expects a 10% performance drop once the workaround is applied. We didn't face any anomalies during our Phenom vs. Athlon 64 X2 core shootout, nor ourPhenom motherboard compatibility testing, but chances are that you might be affected some day. If you want to be on the safe side, we strongly recommend waiting for the B3 stepping, which should be available in the spring, as the performance impacts may be larger than you're willing to accept.

Let's look at what Phenom will do at higher clock speeds.