AMD launches new quad-core Phenoms
As you should know by now, bug-free silicon is denoted by the xx50 at the end of the model name. With this in mind, you’ll notice that the two triple-core and 9100e processors are still B2 stepping. Last we heard, the B3 triple-core 8450 (2.1GHz), 8650 (2.3GHz), and 8750 (2.4GHz) should arrive sometime in April.
The best thing I can say about the Phenom X4 9750 and 9850 is this: AMD is back in the game. The banishment of the TLB erratum to the history books is, of course, a welcome development, and the higher clock frequencies now available are a small but important step in the right direction. The Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition can’t always keep pace with the Core 2 Quad Q6600 or the Core 2 Duo E8500, but it’s close. AMD still hasn’t caught up to Intel’s 65nm “Kentsfield” processors in terms of overall performance or power efficiency, yet it has produced a credible alternative to those products. That fact, combined with aggressive pricing and the bold move of offering an unlocked upper multiplier on a $235 quad-core processor, has enabled the Phenom to grab our attention. We can finally say with confidence that if you have an existing Socket AM2 system and want to upgrade, buying a Phenom looks like a more attractive upgrade path than making the switch to Intel.