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Phenom II Competitive Today, But What About Tomorrow?
By Thom Holwerda on 2009-02-23 10:58:20
With Intel's Core i7 and Nehalem processors being out and about; Intel's "next-gen" processors are already here today. AMD hasn't been sitting still, and launched the Phenom II earlier this year. Ars decided to take a look at how the competition will go this year, and overclocked a Phenom II to 4.2Ghz, and benchmarked it against Intel's latest and greatest.

The results of the benchmark are promising for AMD, but raise a lot of doubt and questions as well. Ars concludes that Phenom II can compete head-on with Intel's Core 2 Quad, and that considering its price point, it's an excellent choice for gamers as well. However, the problems start as soon as you compare Phenom II to the Core i7.

Even overclocked to 4.2Ghz, with the IMC running at 2.53GHz (1120MHz memory clock), the Phenom II can not always outperform the lower-end Core i7 which runs at 2.67Ghz. Ars concludes that AMD will face problems in the future that it cannot solve with ever increasing clock speeds. AMD's next 45nm refresh will need to be accompanied by architectural changes resulting in "significantly higher performance clock-for-clock".

Concluding, Ars writes:

Today, right now, Deneb is great, especially for gaming. AMD could conceivably relaunch a gaming-centric Phenom II FX chip without watching it get laughed off the market (provided it was relatively cheap). Down the road, things don't look even half so certain. Even if Deneb picked up an additional 15 percent performance clock-for-clock right now, it still wouldn't be enough to put the chip on an even footing clock-for-clock with the Core i7-965. That's a problem AMD has to solve on a shoestring budget in the worst economic conditions we've seen in decades.

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