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AMD's Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition: Can the Phenom II Compete with a DDR3 Enabled Kentsfield?
George Ross, February 22, 2009

It has been awhile since AMD was able to give Intel any serious competition. In January AMD released the Phenom II X4 series of processors for there aging AM2+ platform. Does AMD's Deneb processor have what it takes to be competitive with a DDR3 enabled Kentsfield setup?

Overclocking with the Phenom II X4 940 is a thing of beauty. Just up the CPU multiplier and give the voltage a little bump and that is it. The processor that was used in testing maxed out at 3.8GHz using the 1.5V maximum specified core voltage. An 800MHz increase in speed is as I said earlier a thing of beauty.

Test Hardware
The K9A2 Platinum that was used in testing this Phenom II X4 940 used an older BIOS v1.4. The newer BIOS v1.6 did not allow the processor to overclock as well. Here are the rest of the particulars on the test setups.

Processors AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition @ 3.6GHz AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition @ 3.8GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 @ 3.6GHz
Motherboards MSI K9A2 Platinum GIGABYTE GA-EP45C-DS3R
Memory G.SKILL 4GB DDR2 1100 (PC2 8800) @ 533MHz (DDR 1066) 5-5-5-15 Dual Channel Mode OCZ 4GB DDR3 1600 (PC2 12800) @ 720 MHz (DDR 1440) 7-7-7-28 Dual Channel Mode
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3250310NS 250GB 7200 RPM 32MB cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
Video Cards POWERCOLOR Radeon HD 4870 @ 800MHz core 1100MHz memory
Catalyst 9.1
Optical Disk Drive Pioneer DVR-215DBK
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate x64

General Computing Benchmarks

As you can see the Kentsfield setup is faster than the 3.6GHz Deneb in every benchmark, but the multiple CPU render run of Cinebench 10. At 3.8GHz the Deneb manages to win five out of the nine tests when compared to the 3.6GHz Kentsfield setup.

Gaming Benchmarks

The Kentsfield setup bests the Deneb setup in overall frames per second by 22% at 3.6GHz and 8% at 3.8GHz.

Power Consumption
AMD's Cool'n'Quiet was not used in the Deneb setup. This would have reduced the idle power numbers as the new Phenom II line of processors idle at 800MHz when not under load.

While the Phenom II X4 940 is not as fast as a DDR3 enabled Kentsfield it is definitely in the same league. AMD has made some major strides with there latest generation of processor. Even better is the pricing a Phenom II X4 940 can be had for $230 with free shipping. If you are looking to get some more use from that old AM2+ setup the Phenom II X4 940 is an upgrade that is a must have.

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