AMD Phenom II X4 970 BE Review: The Best Quad Core?
The K10-based Deneb lives on with AMD’s introduction of the new Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition quad core processor, clocked at an impressive 3.5GHz. With its operating frequency and competitive pricing, AMD is gunning for the mainstream performance crown. Join us as we find out if the X4 970 BE has what it takes to be the best bang-for-buck quad.
The 45nm Deneb-based AMD Phenom II X4 920 and 940 first hit the market in January 2009. That was followed by the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition in April 2009, and then the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition in August 2009. Today, AMD is launching a total of six new processors to reset the top Phenom II X2, Phenom II X4, and Athlon II price points. The list of processors are as follows.
|AMD Phenom II X6 1075T||3.0GHz (3.5GHz TC)||~$239|
|AMD Phenom II X4 970 BE||3.5GHz||~$179|
|AMD Phenom II X2 560 BE||3.3GHz||~$99|
|AMD Athlon II X4 645||3.1GHz||~$119|
|AMD Athlon II X3 450||3.2GHz||~$84|
|AMD Athlon II X2 265||3.3GHz||~$74|
These processors’ retail pricing are estimated, in US dollars.
In this article, we will be looking specifically at their new AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition quad core processor, clocked at 3.5GHz. Based on past performance findings and with the new 970 BE’s clock speed price point, AMD is seeking to have the fastest processor for the mainstream market. In other words, it is targeted squarely at the Core i5-760 from Intel, which costs a good US$30 more. Despite the introduction of the 970 BE, which is clocked just 100MHz than the older Phenom II X4 965 BE, the latter will still continue to be sold alongside the new one.
A quick look at the Phenom II X4 970 BE here; it is based on the Deneb architecture: Socket AM3, 45nm lithography, four cores – each with 512KB of L2 cache, and a shared 6MB L3 cache. Nothing else has changed between the 955 BE, 965 BE and 970 BE; you get incremental speed bumps, unlocked multipliers, and support for dual channel DDR2 and DDR3 memory.
The older C2 Phenom II 965 BE had a TDP of 140W, but that was brought down to 125W with a C3 revision. The 970 BE is C3 silicon, and AMD still manages to keep the TDP at 125W.