While the overall performance numbers may keep the Phenom X4 9850 BE firmly in the mainstream camp, AMD has made sure to price their initial quad core offerings very competitively. AMD has set the following prices in 1KU: the Phenom X4 9850 at $235, the Phenom X4 9750 at $215, and the Phenom X4 9550 at $195. Now that B3 is a reality, the Phenom X4 50-series represents a great value, especially for those upgrading AM2 or AM2+ systems.
At this price level, the Intel selection weeds out pretty fast, and you're looking at a mainstream Core 2 Duo like the 2.66 GHz E6750. After that, it's a big jump to the $300 Core 2 Duo E6850 and E8400, while the lowest cost quad core is still the Core 2 Quad E6600 at a retail price of $250. The remainder of the Phenom X3 and X4 releases are being sold to OEMs only, and AMD has not released official prices.
* Please note that these prices were taken at the time of review and are not meant to reflect long-term trends.
The initial Phenom release did not come off as expected, and not only did the performance fail to meet expectations, but a nasty TLB bug reared its head and kept buyers away. The emergence of the Phenom 9600 BE was a step in the right direction, as was the feeling that the TLB issue was overblown, but many buyers waited for B3 just to make sure. Now we have had a first look at the Phenom X4 9850 BE, complete with a B3 core at 2.5 GHz, and there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. The higher clock and low price certainly help, but the overclocking potential of the Phenom X4 9850 BE is its most surprising feature, and one that should win AMD more enthusiast converts.