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Phenom II X4 955: AMD's Dragon Platform Evolves

Benchmark Results: Synthetics

From a price perspective, AMD seems to be aligning itself most closely with Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q9550—a chip selling for $270 on Newegg. In PCMark’s overall suite score, that 2.83 GHz contender is able to slightly best AMD’s X4 955 in a fairly close match.

The Phenom II X4 940 trails a bit behind the X4 955, and the X3 720 drops off more significantly—the result of losing one core of compute muscle.

Both the Core i7 965 Extreme and Core i7 920 offer notable performance increases compared to the Q9550. And at $288, stepping up to the i7 920 looks like an advisable proposition.

Again, the Phenom II X4 955 comes close to Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q9550, but falls just short. Given the $30 price difference, though, we’d expect this result. Of particular note are the CPU scores, which demonstrate the Core i7’s advantage in this synthetic test, even versus Intel’s own Core 2 micro-architecture.

Sandra 2009 employs new terminology for its arithmetic and multi-media benchmarks, measuring giga-instructions per second, giga-floating point operations per second, and mega-pixels per second (in addition to the gigabyte per second memory bandwidth test).

Immediately, we see the arithmetic prowess of Core i7. AMD’s Phenom II X4 demonstrates improved performance in the multi-media metric, standing up to the Core i7 920 without a problem.

Core i7’s triple-channel memory controller gives is a huge memory bandwidth advantage, but Phenom II’s integrated controller lets it move significantly more data per second than the Core 2 Quad’s MCH-based architecture. Most interesting is the Phenom II X4 940’s poor bandwidth, which is, in fact, repeatable.