I can’t say that quad-core AMD processors using new B3 stepping surprised today. Against the background of quad-core Intel processors, they still look not very convincing falling behind the competitors in terms of performance, power consumption and overclocking potential.
Nevertheless, we can’t help stressing the fact that AMD is moving in the right direction trying to improve their Phenom X4 family at any rate. Namely, they have really rapidly fixed the notorious TLB bus that harmed the image of all processors on K10 micro-architecture a lot. Moreover, they have also increased the processors clock speeds, which is a definite advantage. The top Phenom X4 processors have even managed to catch up with the youngest Core 2 Quad representatives. Unfortunately, there is no performance parity to talk about just yet, but the gap between AMD and Intel has definitely grown smaller.
But the most important thing is that AMD have adjusted their price policy in a very smart way. Namely, the official price for AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition processor is set at $235, which is less than what the cheapest quad-core Intel processor is currently selling for. AMD Phenom X4 9750 will be offered for $215, while the youngest model – Phenom X4 9550 – is priced at $195. This way AMD has finally given up unjustified illusions and is going to offer their Phenom X4 processors at reasonable and fair prices for their performance level.
And it means that quad-core AMD CPUs will become more popular as a basis for inexpensive multi-threaded systems that may be of interest to certain user groups out there. For example, as inexpensive computers for rendering and media content processing tasks.
In conclusion I would like to say that triple-core processors that AMD starts distributing among their OEM partners these days may boast even better marketing potential than Phenom X4 the way we know it today. The price of the triple-cores is going to be even more affordable despite their relatively high computational power in multi-threaded apps. Phenom X3 8600 working at 2.3GHz will sell at about $175, while Phenom X3 8400 with 2.1GHz frequency will be priced at around $150. However, we are going to discuss Phenom X3 a little later when these processors acquire B3 stepping and become available in retail segment.