Today we are covering the official launch of the new AMD Phenom II X4 processors. The flagship model in this new series is the Phenom II X4 940 which works at 3.0GHz, while the 920 is just slightly slower at 2.80GHz. Both processors should be available from retailers anytime soon and are meant to be compatible with all current AM2+ motherboards provided they are supported with an updated BIOS.

Based on the AMD 45nm Deneb core, the new Phenom II CPUs have been eagerly anticipated in hope that they could rival the dominant Core 2 Quad and most recently the devastating Core i7 series that Intel used to up the ante and most likely put its closest competitor in further trouble.

While the Core i7 is radically different to anything Intel has created in recent times, calling for a new socket design and chipset support, the Phenom II X4 works on the same AM2+ socket as previous Phenom models. At the end of the day this can only work in AMD's favor.

Under that same presumption, it would seem like the Phenom II is not out to steal the performance crown but to try to undercut the Core i7, delivering top notch performance at a fraction of the cost. We are not closing the book on the performance of AMD's new Phenom II X4 processors, but at least on paper we don't see how a slight frequency boost, more L3 cache, and some extra instructions will get the needed leverage to compete at the top. While it is disappointing to find AMD once again trailing behind Intel, they are still providing consumers with excellent value alternatives.

As we've pointed out in our few last articles related to the Core i7 platform, the basic components of building such a system will set you back no less than $700. What AMD will need to exploit here then is the value that they can provide using the Phenom II, much like they are doing in the graphics world with the very successful Radeon HD 4000 series.

We will be discussing next some of the changes and improvements in the Phenom II X4 processors, and then our benchmark comparison tests that will include a Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core i7 and a previous generation Phenom system.