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Just two weeks ago AMD launched their new Phenom II X4 processors. As we learned in our review, the flagship model also known as the Phenom II X4 940 performs on par with its Core 2 Quad competition, which comes as great news for AMD who was severely lagging behind Intel before this launch.
When we reviewed the Phenom II we indicated that Intel could react by lowering prices which unsurprisingly they did last week. AMD followed suit just a day later, so the Phenom II X4 940 can now be had for $235 (it was $275) which is about the same value of a Core 2 Quad Q9400.
Now, we don't pretend to forget about Intel's current high performance processor, the Core i7, which has the 920 model selling for $300. With the recent price cuts, Intel has made sure the Core i7 is no longer eating on its Core 2 sales. This plan also works for AMD who is able to compete with the Core 2 in terms of performance and value, but would be left completely empty handed if they wanted to compete at the Core i7's level.
Still, the Core i7 platform requires a more expensive Intel X58 motherboard and DDR3 memory, which puts it on a league of its own. The Phenom II X4 on the other hand can be dropped into an existing AM2+ system and makes use of inexpensive DDR2 memory. A real bargain hunter will likely see value in the new Phenom II X4, especially now that they sport some overclocking abilities.
We showed some preliminary overclocking results in our Phenom II X4 review. Using an air-cooler we reached a stable frequency of 3.60GHz with the 940. Although a 20% clock increase may look small when compared to the overclocks we've been getting out of Core 2 Duo processors in the past few years, it's still a massive improvement over the original Phenoms.
At any rate, what matters the most is not how far you can overclock the Phenom II X4, but rather how well it scales and therefore performs once overclocked.
We will find that out as we push the Phenom II X4 940 through a series of tests running at 3.60GHz. It'll also have to face some fierce competition from a range of Intel Core 2 and Core i7 processors. And of course, we'll illustrate you on what was involved in getting this overclock out of the Phenom II X4.