After a longer than anticipated delay the new Phenom processors saw the public light last November, but unfortunately for AMD not even then things got back to plan. Put in simple terms, instead of getting a full pack of competitive products, we only got two moderately clocked Phenom processors (9500 and 9600) that are characterized for offering quad-core processing on a budget rather than outpacing competing Intel Core 2s.
As part of the Phenom launch, AMD also unveiled a new platform (used by the ASUS M3A32-MVP we are testing today) built around the AMD 790FX chipset and the semi-new socket AM2+. This new platform still uses DDR2 memory but adds HyperTransport 3.0 support and split power lanes (which benefits power savings). The socket AM2+ is backwards compatible with Athlon X2s and Semprons, so it can serve as a middle platform if you can't upgrade CPU and motherboard all at once.
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