We overclocked Phenom using AMD’s OverDrive utility as it's slightly easier than monkeying around in the Bios. Overclocking a Phenom used to be a painful experience as you have to use a certain amount of trial and error with the voltage settings and all the while you require a rorty cooler pounding away at full chat. Overclocking Phenom II takes a similar amount of work but you can carry over any settings that work with Phenom so the process is quicker and the noise level is significantly lower.
The results of overclocking Phenom II are impressive and we managed to hit a stable speed of 3.6GHz - an increase of 600MHz. With a 65nm Phenom, you’d be lucky to overclock by 400MHz.
Power Draw Results
Power draw in Watts (W)
The bad news is that Phenom II needs all the clock speed it can get as our 3GHz Phenom II had very similar performance to a 2.5GHz Core 2 Quad Q9300 at stock speeds. When we overclocked the Phenom II to 3.6GHz and the Q9300 to 3.0GHz, the Intel processor overtook the AMD in Far Cry 2, which suggests that clock-for-clock Intel has the edge. Part of the answer may lie in the use of DDR 2 memory rather than DDR 3, and you can be sure we 'll investigate this further when we look at the AM3 version of Phenom II.
Further up the performance scale, Phenom II X4 940 compares well with Core i7 920 at stock speeds. However, the 920 can overclock to 3.8GHz which lifts it far beyond the reach of Phenom II.
That positions Phenom II squarely in the mid-range and it gives AMD something of a problem. Phenom II offers an expensive upgrade path for existing AMD desktop customers that pushes the limits of value for money. But anyone building a new performance PC should have Core i7 on their shopping list.
Phenom II has made useful advances over Phenom, and we have to hope for AMD’s sake that DDR 3 memory gives a further boost to performance.
AMD's Phenom II is better than Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9300 but not a patch on Core i7 and that’s a problem. AMD is playing catch-up with a die-shrink and a move to DDR 3 while Intel is busy changing the world. ®
More CPU Reviews...
Intel Core i7
AMD Phenom X3 and X4
AMD Phenom II Socket AM2+ CPU
Re: price comparison
Not to mention the, like, 100 quids difference between the Phenom II and the i7 920. make it 600 quids if we're talking i7 extreme. A valid comparison, price-wise, would be 1 i7 (920) against 2 Phenom II. But now it's not even on the power consumption front anymore. Head hurts.
As per title, this really isn't a valid comparison as the Core i7 platform is DDR3 vs the Phenom 2 on DDR2. The other factor that's been completely ignored is also pretty damn important from both a home and business perspective - total platform cost.
£35 for 2 GB DDR2 1066 vs £100 for 2 GB DD3 1333 makes a difference as does £40 for an AM2 motherboard against £180 for the socket 1366 equivalent. If you factor that into the equation it looks like a much more respectable result. If the cost of setting up the Phenom 2 was £200 more expensive then a like for like comparison would be valid but at present it's apples and oranges.
I like blue and green too!
... but you wouldn't see me reusing them both on the same bar chart. Generally speaking you have a few millions of colors, they ought to be evenly spread throughout the pallet.
@E - Please refrain from using "PII" to describe Phenom II, since it's already been taken by Pentium II.
Paris, because she knows a box of crayons has lots of colors in it. Just don't ask her how many are in a box of 64.
What sort of memory configurations were in the test machines? The scores for the Core i7 are a lot better than everything else, which would indicate a significantly different configuration or technology.
I'd definitely like to see some numbers for the Phenom II with DDR3 memory to give a better comparison, although I'd expect it to still lose out to the i7 if we're comparing triple channel to dual channel.
It is one way to fill space.
This is a space-filler article complete with sensationalistic subtitle. PII has been known not to be terribly competitive against i7 for some weeks. This effort merely confirms what everyone knows.