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AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition review

By Julio Franco · 13 replies
Apr 23, 2009
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  1. AMD kick started 2009 with guns blazing introducing their latest Phenom II X4 platform on early January. Although the launch was comprised of just two processors, that's all AMD needed to compete head to head with the Intel Core 2 Quad range.

    Today AMD is releasing two new processors, the Phenom II X4 955 and 945, which are based on the same “Deneb” architecture though with a few notable changes. The most prominent change is that these are AM3 processors, and therefore can be used with either DDR2 or DDR3 memory. AM3 processors are also completely backwards compatible with AM2+ motherboards.

    The Phenom II X4 955 will remain affordable with a suggested initial retail value of $245. This new processor looks as having the potential to be the ultimate upgrade solution for AMD users, as it can be paired with AM2+ motherboards that were released as far back as 2007.

    Read the full article at:

    Please leave your feedback here. Thanks!
  2. polidiotic

    polidiotic TS Booster Posts: 103


    I'm a little disappointed. Though the processor does show an improvement over the older X4 procs, it still pales in comparison to the i7 procs. I was waiting to build my new PC for when this processor was released, and was hoping that it was a better competitor. Now, the price on this sucker is fantastic, but I'm seriously considering to go for the better performer... intel, since the i7 920 isn't much more expensive. I was really pulling for AMD, because I've been a long time supporter, but the numbers just make sense to go Intel this time around.. Oh well... better luck next time AMD.
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,402   +38

    The Phenom II is not supposed to be compared to the i7, it competes with the current Core 2 range, notably the Penryn-based Core 2 Quads.

    And it is a better bargain compared to the i7 IMO, because of the larger variety of boards that are available. The chipset options are almost limitless, compared to only the X58 for the i7. You can actually grab a decent AM2+ board for under $100. Show me an X58 board that costs that much.

    Sure, the i7s are much faster. But for gamers, GPUs are still the main factor that determines gaming performance. Pair a Phenom II X4 and a Core i7 with a GTX 295\285 each and you will see no noticeable performance difference between the two machines. At least I would not.

    AMD has always been an innovator, and will probably pull off something fantastic in the near future, especially with the money Abu Dhabi is pumping into GlobalFoundries.
  4. polidiotic

    polidiotic TS Booster Posts: 103

    Well, maybe they should have thought about competing with i7, then. ;P

    Point taken about the motherboard prices, but there are still a multitude of options available from Gigabyte, Asus, etc. I'd rather get much better performance in a cpu and pay a little bit more for a motherboard, capable of handling tri-channel ddr3 memory (which you can pay about $80 for 3 sticks of 1600 @ NewEgg), when the i7 920 is about the same price as the ii x4 955. All the while, still having the option for an excellent gpu, which means AMD is left in the dirt... Gaming is probably the most important thing for me in getting the best hardware, but it's not the only thing... I do a lot of word processing, work with Adobe PS 7 IL, and several other things, so better performance all around would be good for me.

    Sorry, meant $80 for 3 sticks of 2gb DDR3-1600 (totaling 6gb)
  5. eafshar

    eafshar TS Enthusiast Posts: 81   +18

    if i were u, i'd save the 100-150 u'd save by getting the 955 and spend it on the gpu instead. thats the difference between 4850 and a 4890.. just my 2c
  6. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,992   +2,427

    That is an excellent point.

    pol*****ic I am not sure where you are getting your info but AMD/ATI have an impressive range of GPU's at the moment and like the Phenom II X4 955 they are affordable. Furthermore the Phenom II X4 955 is not that much slower than the Core i7 920, the gap has certainly been closed. Gamers will not notice the difference between the Phenom II X4 955 and the Core i7 processors.
  7. polidiotic

    polidiotic TS Booster Posts: 103

    Everyone has their preference. There's a reason why I've been waiting for 955 to come out, but the fact is... intel is and has been outperforming AMD for quite some time, now. The last 2 pcs I've built have been with AMD procs, but companies are like anything else... they fluctuate in performance and produce better/worse products.

    Anyway, I built my pc tonight... and I put my money where my mouth is. Purchased an i7 920 & a gtx 285, along with various other performance pieces, including a 30gb ssd drive for the operating system.

    To each his own. I built a computer that'll last for 5+yrs and when the time comes, I can upgrade to a faster i7.

    Were gaming my only interest, that would be a valid argument, but it's not. This isn't going to be a gaming-only pc.
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,402   +38

    You would hardly see a massive increase in performance from going to an i7.

    And no PC used for gaming lasts for 5 years without an upgrade. The i7 will most likely be old tech when Sandy Bridge comes along and revolutionizes the processor market again like the Core 2 did.

    You made your choice though, I hope it is for the better.
  9. polidiotic

    polidiotic TS Booster Posts: 103

    An increase is an increase... and the price difference really isn't that astronomical. I wasn't looking for a budget pc, anyway. I've had 3 computers in a row that had lasted about 5yrs (current one only 4yrs, since the mobo is on the frits - figured I'd just get a new one now), and yes you do typically require an upgrade... but usually the upgrade comes in the form of a new gpu and I don't think intel is finished with i7 yet, so I'm sure that when the time comes, I'll be able to upgrade to a considerably faster chip in the next 3+yrs if need be (whether it's way after market or otherwise). I always plan out my pc purchases for lasting at least 5yrs, so the money I put into it up front usually pays off. If it doesn't, I'll let you know. ;P

    I hope it's for the better, too, incidentally. lol
  10. PaulWuzHere

    PaulWuzHere TS Guru Posts: 267

    I have to say I am impressed with the performance of the Phenom II's. They are extremely affordable and are just all around great chips. I have to say I agree with nvidia on this one, "i7 is a waste for gaming"

    Also Rage_3K_Moiz why are you backing up AMD and saying it is a great CPU for the price when you have a Core 2 Extreme? Not trying to start anything... just seems odd to me.
  11. polidiotic

    polidiotic TS Booster Posts: 103

    Not saying I wasn't impressed with the specs provided by AMD with this new chip... In comparison to the previous AMD chips, it's quite nice and I'd obviously prefer it to the older models. I was just hoping for a more competitive chip with the i7s. I just don't get why AMD isn't producing something on-par with the higher performance intels. They already have a multitude of mainstream procs available to the consumer, so the next logical step, one would think, would be on the higher end of the stream.

    For me, it came down to either getting the i7 920 or the X4 955 (both similar in performance, but the i7 supports ddr3 tri-channel ram, and upgrading in a couple of years would be simple... and equating to even better performance, in comparison to the x4s (as it stands). Can't wait for the next solution from AMD, since my current PC is on the fritz, so I made my decision now.

    As for Nvidia's comments? All I can say is "bulls***." I haven't owned an i7 yet, but those that I know who do have nothing but great things to say in terms of gaming and performance in other venues, as well as stability. I love Nvidia's gpus, but they've been known for tough-talking their competition and other companies in the same industry. I'd take their comments with a grain of salt... Intel has always had performance cpus that have shined, and AMD has always been the little brother that's got some great talent in price/performance ratios... but nothing that screams "domination."
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,402   +38

    You do realize that the CPU is almost two years old now?

    I bought it because I can afford it. I know that the average consumer cannot and thus like AMD's idea of providing the mainstream consumer with such powerful chips. The Phenom IIs hold their own compared to the Core 2 Quads, and that is an impressive (albeit long-overdue) leap for AMD's Phenom architecture.
  13. eafshar

    eafshar TS Enthusiast Posts: 81   +18

    im not gonna try to focus on ur specific needs.. but the bottom line is that i7 ONLY supports ddr3 ram. but the phenom II's support ddr2 and ddr3. while ddr3 prices are going down a lot.. i have not seen any reviews indicating any noticeable performance advantage. to be honest.. i'll probably go with an i7 920 my self too if i was buying brand new system for myself because i can pay the extra money and have this bad habit of wanting to have the best thing even if the extra cost is not totally justified.

    if i was building a system for a friend i would not buy it since in reality its performance increase is not noticeable .. i'd go with the high end phenom II. the money can be better spent on GPU. since gpu is the main gaming bottleneck.
  14. This really proves how well AMD has made it's Phenom II CPUs. AMD CPUs will just get faster and faster and will match Intel performance and may even exceed it! I would Buy this CPU, because for someone who wants performance but doesn't want to pay to much its perfect. Intel i7 Charges well above decent prices like 700 Pound, thats bad, very bad. I could buy a new computer for that much! Or even 2! AMD you won't really pay more than 200 to 300 pound for one of these CPUs and the performance is near enough to Intel i7's. Plus the OverClocking on these Phenom CPUs can take you to about 7 Ghz (World record, Previous Phenom 2 CPU) with liquid nitrogen cooling, that just blows intel i7's out. Good Job AMD!

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