Beyond X3, the Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

AMD rolls out multiple new processors that spell multiple opportunities for system builders.

If a system builder is looking for maximum performance from AMD, then the CPU of choice becomes the $235 Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition. The so called black edition offers four cores and ups the clock speed to 2.5Ghz, which brings additional performance. Interestingly, AMD aims the 9850 Black Edition at over-clockers and even provides utilities and tools to help push the CPU beyond its actual design specs.

While that may help to maximize performance, the simple fact remains that over-clocking may void the warranty and requires a more expensive CPU cooling solution, two very important considerations for a system builder.

We swapped the X4 into our test system and started the bench marking process, our PassMark overall score increased to 572.5 and the CPU String Sorting Score came in at 2945.9. At idle the system consumed 151 watts of power and the system peaked to 226 watts consumed while under load. As expected, the Windows Vista Performance Information tool showed an increase, the overall rating for the system increased to 5.7 and the Processor scored a 5.9.

So what does it all mean?

With general availability of the X3 and X4 Phenom CPUs, AMD is offering system builders an alternative to other, more expensive CPUs. Although, the Phenoms don’t approach the performance of Intel’s top of the line quad core CPUs, the Phenoms do come at an attractive price point, perhaps changing the industry measurements from performance per watt to performance per dollar.

The real success for  system builders selling Phenom processors will come from combining low cost components to bring "enough" performance to the massed at a very palatable price.

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

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