AMD Delivers Performance, Value with Phenom 9350e

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

When can you get four cores for the price of two? AMD hopes you'll ask that question and take a look at the value priced Phenom 9350e.

AMD's continued push into Intel's territory is now being spearheaded by the latest Phenom processors, a series of multi-core processors that promise performance while maintaining value.

Case in point; when the 9350e version of the Phenom was announced on July 1st, it came with a sticker price of just $235. That price has already been dropped down to $195 to make the Phenom even more phenomenal.
Price is only part of the story here, there is of course a big focus on performance – both overall speed and energy usage. AMD has been aiming for the Holy Grail of performance as defined by the latest measurement, performance per watt. While a performance per watt rating is clearly aimed at those looking to "green" up their PC offerings, it does also indicate a level of engineering that can be difficult to attain, more processing power with less energy. AMD is also adding another consideration to the value equation, performance per dollar, and the company is succeeding in pushing that envelope also.

AMD sent over a 9350e for us to take a look at and we were quite impressed with the improvements to the Phenom design offered by their latest processor.  

Billed as an energy efficient processor, the AMD Phenom X4 9350e Quad Core Processor   is 65 watt unit that offers 2.0GHz performance with 2MB total dedicated L2 cache, 2MB L3 cache, and a 3600MHz Hyper-Transport bus all on AMD's standard socket AM2+ architecture.

We installed one of these units into a new Gigabyte MA790X-DS4 mother board and added 2Gbytes of Kingston DDR2 ram, an ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 display adapter and powered the system up with a ThermalTake 1000watt ToughPower PSU. Our test unit was built with performance in mind and our initial tests showed that this low power CPU does indeed offer high performance.

Using PerformanceTest V6.1 from Passmark, we were able to exercise the system to give us a Passmark rating of 770.5, under the 32 bit version of Windows Vista Business Edition. While that in itself is a good score, we did build our test system with top of the line components and power usage peaked at 167 watts, and used 119 watts while idle. 

The of course, the most important score here would be what the CPU itself offered and PassMark rated the CPU Integer Math at 248, CPU Floating Point Math at 1411.9, and CPU Encryption at 58.1. For comparative specs, we pulled up a review that we did on a SuperMicro 5035B-T system running a Intel Quad Core 2.33Ghz CPU. That unit  peaked at 231 watts under the maximum load of the PassMark test suite and offered offered a very good overall score of 1066.5. The Intel Quad-Core Xeon E5410 / 2.33 GHz has a street price of around $350 and PassMark rated the CPU Integer Math at 375.1, CPU Floating Point Math at 1846.6, and CPU Encryption at 67.0. The Intel CPU clearly outperforms the AMD unit, but at a premium for price and energy used.

While an Intel Quad-Core Xeon E5410 based PC may be better suited for high performance workstation use, the AMD Phenom 9350e may just be the ideal performance CPU for low cost desktops and inexpensive gaming rigs. Ultimately it will be up to system builders to choose which manufacturer to go with, but AMD is sure to not disappoint when it comes to prices verses performance.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com