AMD Phenom X4 9950 BE & 9350e Review
By Vince Freeman :
July 2, 2008
AMD has finally made good on their promise of a 2.6 GHz Phenom X4 9950, and a Black Edition to boot, but we were interested to see at what retail price it would be introduced. The $235 1KU price is a bit of a surprise, especially given that it's at the same level as the 2.5 GHz Phenom X4 9850. This latest Black Edition will also push the Phenom X4 9850 into standard mode, although older BE versions will still be available. The 65W Phenom X4 9350e is set at $195, which puts it on par with the 95W 2.3 GHz Phenom X4 9650. This is still an excellent value for those looking at a low-power Phenom X4, and especially attractive to AM2 motherboard owners seeking a quad core upgrade.
At this price level, there is very little in terms of Intel quad core competitors, and most of the processors in the $200+ range are mainstream Core 2 Duo models like the 2.66 GHz E6750 and E6850, which hover just under the $200 level. The newer Core 2 Duo E8200 (2.66 GHz) and E8400 (3.0 GHz) are in the same range, but the 3.16 GHz Core 2 Duo E8500 jumps up considerably to over $250. In terms of Intel quad cores, the $200 Core 2 Quad E6600 is still the lowest priced, and moving any higher on the list brings up uncomfortably close to the $300 level.
* Please note that these prices were taken at the time of review and are not meant to reflect long-term trends.
The Phenom processor has had an interesting life so far, including the initial TLB bug and a switch in the naming conventions, and AMD is really looking to turn another page with the newest models. Both processors have their pros and cons. The Phenom X4 9950 BE is the fastest AMD quad core, and sports an attractive $235 price tag and a not-so-attractive 140W TDP. The Phenom X4 9350e is a far more intriguing product release, as it is the first low-power quad core, checking in at a frugal 65W, and sporting a sub-$200 price tag. Of course, at only 2.0 GHz, performance suffers a bit, especially with games, but multithreading speed and multi-tasking smoothness are good.
Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition Ratings
- Fastest AMD Quad
- Competitive Price
- High-end Multi-threading Performance
- Unlocked Multiplier
- 3.0+ GHz Overclocking
- 140W TDP
- Mainstream Gaming Performance
Phenom X4 9350e Ratings
- 65W TDP
- Lowest Power Quad at Load
- Competitive Multi-threading Performance
- 2.0 GHz Clock Speed
- Disappointing Gaming Performance