AMD Quad-Core Phenom X4 9850 Reviewed (Verdict: Owned by Intel Quad Cores)

The Phenom X4 9850 is at the top of AMD's latest heap of quad-core Phenoms. It's free of the performance-sapping bug that plagued the first batch of Phenoms, and AMD hopes it'll claw back some ground from Intel. Maximum PC stacked it up against two quad-cores from Intel—the mid-rangeish Penryn Core 2 Quad Q9300, as well as an older Core 2 Q6600. Ouchies for AMD, the Intel pair blew past it.

The Penryn-based Q9300 "owned the night," with the Q6600 trailing, and Phenom in back of both. It wasn't "so far behind as to be dead in the water" but "it doesn't quite go head-to-head with the Penryn lite." (They call the Q9300 Penryn-lite because it has half the cache of the higher-end Penryn quad-cores.)

The 9850 X4 is the fastest AM2 chip around, however, so if you're sticking with that board "it's a pretty good upgrade." The bigger problem is that AMD still has nothing to touch Intel's top quad cores, and won't for months, at least. [Maximum PC]