- Oct 24, 2007
AMD Phenom X4 9750 Quad Core CPU Review
Manufacturer Product Page: AMD Phenom? X4 Quad-Core Processor
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When it comes to their CPU division AMD has been having a tough time of it lately. First, their long anticipated "native Quad core" which was only just released this year had a bug in it (aka the "TLB erratum"); causing many a long time AMD buyer (who had already held off on upgrading to 775 because of the "just around the corner" X4s) to flock in droves to the already mature Intel 775 Core 2 quad core technology. In retrospect announcing that they had a bug in their chips was probably just about the worst thing they could have done. Heck, by that point they may have been just as well off in postponing the Phenom release as releasing it in that condition to be hammered by Intel's marketing machine did them no good at all. Maybe it was the sudden rush of Canadian sensibilities via the ATI take-over which made the heads of AMD suddenly grow a conscience, or maybe not; whatever the reason and no matter how laudable their ideals, it was a devastating blow to an already rocky company who were both low on liquid assets and trying to merge two company cultures into one. However, above all else they no longer had the top end of the market (hurting already shaky morale) as the Q6600 from Intel was stomping all over even the fastest X2 they could make.
This perfect storm of tragedy definitely threw them for a loop and in my opinion what really hit them the hardest was confirmation they had overstated the upgradeability of early AM2 motherboards. In the early AM2 days AMD said most AM2 capable motherboards would be able to just drop in a X4 and work perfectly with just a BIOS upgrade, this was quickly debunked when the Phenoms were released as they require HT 3.0 (thus the new and “improved” X4 capable AM2 boards are called “AM2+”) to work best. This was the equivalent of a swift kick in the head to an already downed opponent and the future looked awfully bleak as even super die hard AMD customers felt betrayed, threw in the towel and went to the dark side (heck this is what did it for me as my super expensive ASUS motherboard would never run an X4 properly!).
However, AMD gave themselves a bit of breathing room to regroup and fix that horribly overblown bug on their B2 revision silicon that hardly effected anyone (yet the fix seemed to universally slam every X4 owner). Now like a street fighter who can take a hit, AMD has staggered to their feet, shaken off the past errors and have a new weapon to resume the fight with. The only question is whether this weapon is nothing more than a broken beer bottle (which is really a terrible weapon and your much better off using a UNbroken beer bottle as a bludgeon than a broken one as a cutting/stabbing implement) or is the geeky equivalent of a base ball bat and six "friends" similarly equipped?
Today we will be looking at one of AMD’s latest weapon in winning back the faithful who had lost their way and have been debating stepping into Intel's camp. The weapon that we are referring to is the bug fixed X4; or to be more precise the 2.4ghz 9750 X4 in its B3 revision. In this review we are going to put the X4 through its paces, both in Windows XP and Vista to see what it is made of and compare it against the venerable Q6600. We will of course be overclocking the X4 until is screams to not only make sure the TLB error is toast but also see what the new Phenoms are truly made of. One thing is for sure: it may not be a pretty sight at the end but we intend to see how effective this now TLB error free native quad core really is.
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