AMD Phenom II X4 975 & 840 Reviewajmatson -
Price: Approx. $100 & $200
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With the turn of the year, AMD is working hard to keep updating its current processor line. As with most manufacturers, tweaks to current designs lead to new speed boosts or even new chips based on how well the tweaking process works. AMD is a big runner with chip tweaks, bringing us a slew of models and capabilities to choose from. AMD has always been great at releasing new chips aimed at every user's budget, big or small. With this latest round, AMD brings to the table a new low price Phenom II quad-core, as well as the newest quad-core flagship to replace the Phenom II X4 970. These two chips share the majority of the Phenom II characteristics with the exception of the X4 840, which allows it to become the cheapest Phenom II quad-core on the market.
Will these new chips hold up among the current leaders? We will be putting them through a set of tests designed to tell us just that. Without further ado, we will start off with a better look at the processors and what makes them each special before getting into the testing portion.
The first chip we have up on the test bed today is the AMD Phenom II X4 840, a new addition to the Phenom II line that offers performance at a low cost. The Phenom II X4 840 is a quad-core processor that can be had for about $100 at launch. Not bad for a four-core processor with the Phenom II name. But, before you get all excited, this CPU is lacking in one area that other Phenom IIs have - it has no L3 cache, only L1 and L2. Will this make a big difference between other Phenom II quad-cores? Only testing will tell. Other than not having an L3 cache, the X4 840 is just like any other Phenom IIs. It has support for DDR3 and DDR2, HyperTransport 3.0 and more.
Next, we have the new top end processor for the quad-core line, the AMD Phenom II X4 975. This CPU takes the pride and glory of the X4 processors and moves into the reign of being the flagship CPU. The X4 975 is clocked at a high 3.6GHz and shares the same specs of former Phenom II X4 Black Edition processors including a 6MB shared L3 cache, 2MB total L2 cache, HyperTransport 3.0 and of course the unlocked multiplier that Black Edition CPUs have, which normally makes them better and easier to overclock.
Now that we have seen the hardware, let's pop them in and get to the testing.