AMD Phenom II X4 940 Reviewajmatson - January 7, 2009
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When I went into this review I kept an open mind about what to expect. I did not want to get my hopes up but neither did I want to set a bad expectation. When I started off my testing I kept two things in mind. One was where the Phenom 9850 stood on the scoring chart and one where the Intel Q9450 stood. I gave this as my marker for success or failure, since the Q9400 series is a top performing Quad Core processor with the exception of the newer i7 series and the Phenom 9850 was the mainstream Phenom at the time and is what the Phenom II will be replacing. I had a chance to pre-test the Phenom II 940 at the AMD campus prior to starting the review and I was very impressed at what I was seeing, but as an enthusiast I needed more time to get hands-on with it. Now after all is said and done, I am quite impressed, I admit. Coming from the Phenom 9850, which is a good performer with some downfalls, the Phenom II is like night and day. First, the speed alone jumps hurdled over the previous Phenom chip sometime almost doubling it. On top of that the Phenom II 940 beat or matched the Intel Core 2 Quad in 80% of the scientific tests and went head for head in the video tests. On top of that, there were several benchmarks that the Phenom II 940 even beat out the newest Intel Core i7 920. When it came to overclocking, the Phenom II 940 I was able to pull out 3.755GHz at 1.5 volts using an aftermarket heatsink. This comes out to about a 26% overclock, while great the Intel Core i7 920 obtained over that using a locked multiplier. The Phenom II 940 is a "Black Edition" which the multiplier is unlocked, so with better cooling, the potential is out there. I would like to point out that this is a better overclock than I could ever get with the Phenom 9850, which hit a wall at 700MHz overclocked no matter what I tried.
Now what everything comes down to. For the price, the Phenom II is a killer processor. The prices are rumored to be around $235 for the X4 940, which when coupled with the 790GX boards that run about $100, you have a great platform on which to game and more for around $335. Considering the Intel Core i7 920 alone is running about that for just the processor and not to mention tagging on another $200 plus for an X58 motherboard, and you are hitting the $500 plus range with performance not much better than the Phenom II 940 when it comes to gaming, which is negligible. Coming from the old Phenom processors, the new Phenom II is a breath of fresh air. This review has exceeded what I expected from the new processor and has put a new smile on my face for AMD. Now Intel has some rethinking to do around their price to performance ratio for their processors with this new offering from AMD. If you have that itch to upgrade or build that new gaming rig, you would be a fool not to consider the AMD Phenom II processor. Also of note in the future, AMD will be offering a version of the Phenom II that supports DDR3, so keep an eye out here at OverclockersClub.com for us to bring you a real head-to-head with the Intel Core i7 processors.
- Runs cooler than the Phenom 9850
- Phenom 940 has unlocked multiplier
- Price rivaling current Quad Core CPU offerings
- Increased L3 Cache
- HyperTransport 3.0
- Stock clock speed on 3.0GHz on the Phenom II X4 940
- Only a 25% overclocked increase on air