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AMD Unleashed: Four CPUs, Two GPUs, All Overclocked

Comparison To The $1,250 PC

Now it’s time to use the results from our Radeon HD 4870 X2 testing to compare the three top AMD processors to an Intel Core 2 Quad. In the following charts, the purple Athlon 7750 data has been replaced with data taken from the SBM $1,250 PC, and all percentages are calculated based on the stock SBM machine.

While the overclocked Radeon HD 4870 X2 frequencies are nearly identical, again, keep in mind for games that the SBM machine was running Catalyst 8.12 display drivers, while the AMD machines were running newer Catalyst 9.2 drivers.

The Phenom II X4 940 BE comes out on top in games. However, its two largest victories are with Unreal Tournament 3 and Supreme Commander, which were already more than playable with any of these processors. The poor showing again in Supreme Commander could very well be a result of the older display drivers, as both the $625 and $1,250 systems fell far short of these AMD processors’ performance for this game. Driver suspicions aside, the Phenom II delivers solid performance and proves it is worthy of being in this level of a gaming system. 

Impressive victories in MainConcept and WinRAR were not enough to bring the higher-clocked Phenom II up to the same overall combined score as the 3.62 GHz Q9550. While our voltages were pushed high, and 3.8 GHz is far from a guarantee, we can't overlook the $80 savings that comes along with choosing the Phenom II X4 940 BE.

The overclocked Phenom II X3 720 BE is able to catch up to the $1,250 PC in games, but it is left in the dust in the majority of the encoding and applications tests. The Phenom X4 9950 only takes a win with Supreme Commander. But otherwise, it never really stands a chance against the quad-core Intel. With both quad-core processors sharing advantages in the same applications, it’s a story of “anything you can do I can do better.” Of course, the Core 2 Quad Q9550 costs nearly twice as much as either of the AMD processors, so opting for them instead means you would have quite a few extra bones to throw toward other hardware if either of these processors delivers the desired level of performance. 

  • setting aside 1366 and AM3

    In 2 or 3 years when QX9770 chips start showing up for $250-$300.

    Will AMD have a cheaper socket AM2+ compatible chip on the market that will outperform it?

    If so, AMD would be a nice alternative.
    Reply
  • setting aside 1366 and AM3

    In 2 or 3 years when QX9770 chips start showing up for $250-$300.

    Will AMD have a cheaper socket AM2+ compatible chip on the market that will outperform it?

    If so, AMD would be a nice alternative.
    Reply
  • In 2 or 3 years Intel will have 16 cores on a single cpu, and amd tech will, as always, be useless, outdated, and worthless... Just like they are now.
    Reply
  • radguy
    So did I miss somthing or where does it say what each of these processors is overclocked to. I get that the p2 x3 720be is at 3.67 but what about the rest of them. Am I missing it somewhere (very possible) or do I have to look back at your previous articles to figure it out? shouldn't that be on the test systems and configuration page. I am trying to sort through the data.
    Reply
  • dirtmountain
    Nice article Paul and some exhaustive work! Don't overlook the 780G/SB710 that also feature ACC for a price of $72
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157154
    making the Phenom2 x3 720 a viable option in the SBM budget category. I'm also going to be curious about the new Phenom2 x2 and Athlon2 x2 processors that are coming out June 2nd.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    Has anyone noticed the benchmarks for the i5's on anandtech yet?
    Reply
  • nerrawg
    Great article guys - love the comparisons to the SBM machines - really gives some insight into CPU and GPU scaling and how much to spend on your processor versus your graphics for gaming builds. Thanks!
    Reply
  • Sihastru
    apache_livesHas anyone noticed the benchmarks for the i5's on anandtech yet?
    I did. Considering the pricing scheme of the i5 (so close to AMD) and it's high performance numbers (so close to the i7) AMD is in big trouble.

    Intel will shift all the processors that are now under the i7 (even if the 920 is rumored to become EOL, one step down on it's portfolio, which means high end Intel dual cores, will go into or under the mainstream, where AMD already has a hard time.

    This doesn't make me very happy, even if I am an Intel fanboy. Aggressive pricing schemes are overrated. AMD needs something new. Now.
    Reply
  • DjEaZy
    ... BIG THX to the Tom's crew... was not so hard after all? ... now, thx to YOU, we have a info about intel, nVidia and AMD/ATi solutions... how they stack up in price/performance/cost of ownership... NICELY DONE!!!
    Reply
  • erdinger
    Yes thanks, many people complained in the system builder marathon and you listened to the complaints... great.
    Reply