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Energy Efficient CPUs Ahoy! Phenom X4 9350e & 9150e Tested

Energy Efficient CPUs Ahoy! Phenom X4 9350e & 9150e Tested



The New Phenom X4 9350e & 9150e

The New Phenom X4 9350e & 9150e

It has been quite the turnaround for AMD in recent weeks. First, there was the unexpected buzz about AMD/ATI's new Radeon HD 4800 series. Reviewers and users have been unanimous in declaring these new graphics cards a return to form and competitiveness for ATI. The fact that market leader NVIDIA slashed prices of its GeForce 9800 GTX says it all about the new cards' immediate impact on the graphics scene.

Then there was the launch of AMD's new Puma platform for notebook at Computex, along with a number of design wins that inspired confidence that we could be seeing an alternative to Centrino 2 (which was delayed). Plans are also afoot for AMD to enter the ultra-portable segment with a new platform (Shrike) incorporating a 45nm chip with ATI's integrated graphics sometime next year.

It has been a hectic and generally fulfilling June for AMD but the company is poised to continue its momentum. Today, AMD announced the addition of three new processors to its Phenom family. The most powerful of the trio is a new 'Black Edition' (with unlocked multiplier), the Phenom X4 9950, which is clocked at 2.6GHz, 100MHz faster than the other Phenom 'Black Edition', the X4 9850. At a maximum TDP of 140W, the new 9950 will have a significantly higher TDP than any of AMD's existing quad-core processors which are rated at 125W. One can consider the 9950 and 9850 to belong to the same 'lineage', as both are the only Phenoms now to operate on a 2.0GHz HyperTransport Bus, with a similarly clocked memory controller.

The other two however is a different proposition entirely. While the 9950 is meant for those who value performance over other considerations, the other Phenom quad-core CPUs are a new class of energy efficient processors from AMD. With an 'e' suffix behind their model numbers to signify its difference, the first two of these new processors, the 9350e and 9150e have the lowest maximum TDP of any quad-core processor in the market now at just 65W, placing it in dual-core territory for power consumption. Even Intel's new 45nm Yorkfield quad-core processors are rated higher at 95W.

AMD expects these three new processors to be available in retail shortly after its 1st July debut and while the X4 9950 predictably becomes the most expensive Phenom processor at US$235, the new energy efficient processors are listed at US$195 for the 9350e and US$175 for the 9150e, placing it in direct competition against some of Intel's dual-core offerings and older, 65nm quad-core processors. Below is a short summary of the new Phenom X4 processors launched:-

The New AMD Phenom X4s
Processor Model / Processor Characteristics Clock Speed L2 Cache L3 Cache HyperTransport Bus (3.0) Memory Controller Speed Max TDP (W) Estimated Price (US$)
Phenom X4 9950 'Black Edition' 2.6GHz 512KB x 4 2MB 2.0GHz 2.0GHz 140 $235
Phenom X4 9350e 2.0GHz 512KB x 4 2MB 1.8GHz 1.8GHz 65 $195
Phenom X4 9150e 1.8GHz 512KB x 4 2MB 1.6GHz 1.6GHz 65 $175