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AMD Phenom 9600 Black Box Edition Review

Former staff writer    -   February 24, 2008
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Specifications:

Since these are the newest AMD Processors, we will show the specifications on all four.

AMD PHENOM PROCESSOR TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Model / Processor Frequency: AMD Phenom Processor Model 9900 / 2.6GHz ***
  • Model / Processor Frequency: AMD Phenom Processor Model 9700 / 2.4GHz **
  • Model / Processor Frequency: AMD Phenom Processor Model 9600 / 2.3GHz (Normal and Black Edition)
  • Model / Processor Frequency: AMD Phenom Processor Model 9500 / 2.2GHz
  • L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (512KB total L1 per processor)
  • L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (2MB total L2 per processor)
  • L3 Cache Size: 2MB
  • Memory Controller Type: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller *Note: configurable for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes
  • Memory Controller Frequency: Up to 1.8GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
  • Types of Memory: Support for unregistered DIMMs up to PC2 8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) *Note: future 45nm processors versions to include support for DDR3 memory
  • HyperTransport 3.0: One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 3.6GHz full duplex
  • Total Processor Bandwidth: Up to 31.5 GB/s bandwidth
  • Packaging: Socket AM2+ 940-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA) *Note: Phenom processors are backward-compatible with Socket AM2 motherboards
  • Fab location: AMD's Fab 36 wafer fabrication facilities in Dresden, Germany
  • Process Technology: 65nm (.065-micron) Silicon on Insulator (SOI)
  • Approximate Transistor count: ~ 450 million (65nm)
  • Approximate Die Size: 285 mm2 (65nm)
  • Nominal Voltage: 1.1-1.25 Volts
  • Max TDP: 95 Watts *ACP: *to be announced (see next section below)
  • ***NOTE: The Phenom 9900 has a higher 2.0GHz memory controller frequency
  • ***NOTE: The Phenom 9900 has a higher HT frequency of up to 4.0GHz (full duplex)
  • ***NOTE: The Phenom 9900 has a higher 140W max TDP
  • **NOTE: The Phenom 9700 has a higher 125W max TDP

 

Features:

NEW ACP POWER MEASUREMENT:

  • In answer to our customers who have asked for a more accurate and fair way to market their system power consumption, AMD has introduced ACP (average CPU power) wattage ratings. You can expect AMD to release these ACP power specifications for the Phenom processors in the near future. The ACP ratings will be significantly lower than the maximum wattage TDP ratings as our TDP has historically conveyed a theoretical power threshold that is practically impossible to see on even the “hottest” batch of chips under 100% loads. ACP will be useful to our customers who wish to convey a realistic estimate of power-draw based on the components in their system. Please see the following links (created for the "Barcelona" native quad-core Opteron launch) for more information about ACP: http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/ProductInformation/0,,30_118_8796_12353,00.html www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/DownloadableAssets/43761A_ACP_WPv7.pdf

 

HT3.0 SETTINGS:

  • Though HyperTransport 3.0 is capable of higher frequencies than the northbridge/memory controller runs at, for best operation and performance, the HT speed should always be set to the SAME FREQUENCY as the memory controller specification for the particular CPU being tested. This can be done in the BIOS or in AMD Overdrive.
    Example: the HT frequency for systems with the Phenom 9600 or 9500 processors should be set to run at 1.8GHz, the same frequency as the memory controller in those processors for best performance
    Example: the HT frequency for the 2.0GHz engineering sample should be set to run at 2.0GHz, the same frequency as the memory controller for best performance

 

PHENOM MEMORY CONTROLLER FREQUENCIES:

  • The memory controller in Phenom has its own power/voltage control *AND* its own clock (independent of the CPU frequency). This is quite different than past variants of Athlon 64 processors, which run the memory controller at a divisor based on the CPU frequency. This has two significant implications:
  1. The memory controller maximum frequency specification is a constant and separate specification apart from the CPU max specification (see below spec), and…
  2. All Phenom processors, regardless of the CPU frequency, run DDR2 memory at the proper specified frequency.
  • Example: an Athlon 64 X2 processor running at 2.3GHz does NOT run DDR2-800 at 800MHz, but rather only at ~766MHz because the memory controller gets its frequency as a result of a divisor acting off of the CPU freqency… with Phenom, this is no longer a concern as memory controllers get their own independent, dedicated clock)

 

AMD COOL’n’QUIET ON WINDOWS VISTA:

  • “DOs:”
  1. Update your motherboard to the latest BIOS
  2. C’n’Q must be “enabled” in the motherboard’s BIOS (Note that many motherboards have that setting disabled by default)
  3. The power management scheme/setting must be "balanced" or "power-saver" in the Vista OS control panel
  • “DON’Ts:”
  1. Do NOT Select “Performance” as Vista’s power management scheme/setting as it will disable C’n’Q functionality
  2. Do NOT manually set the CPU frequency or multiplier in the BIOS. Doing so will lock the processor speed and disable C’n’Q functionality
  3. There is NO need to install a separate AMD CPU driver… Vista has a built-in AMD CPU driver



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Specifications & Features
  3. Testing (Setup, Overclocking & Benchmarks)
  4. Testing (Apopysis & Winrar)
  5. Testing (Specview, PCMark Vantage)
  6. Testing (SiSoft Sandra Professional)
  7. Testing (Sciencemark, Cinebench, HDTune)
  8. Testing: Crysis
  9. Testing: Knights of the Sea
  10. Testing: BioShock
  11. Testing: Call of Duty 4
  12. Testing: World in Conflict
  13. Testing: Call of Juarez
  14. Testing: 3DMark 06 Professional
  15. Extras
  16. Conclusion
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