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

Illustration for article titled 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.

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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.)

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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]

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DISCUSSION

@fastmike: I recently replaced a FX53 with a dual-core E8400 (and a new Gigabyte P35 MB) and it was a tremendous speed boost overall. The customer spent about $400 total for the new CPU/MB/Memory (2GB), and he reported that Crysis would finally run at High settings, and the computer felt much faster running apps.

If your FX55 is in a Socket 939, you're not going to find a dual-core upgrade better than the Opteron 180. It's about $140, and may be just the thing for a quick upgrade. The Opteron 165 is $100 and a little slower.

Beats a complete mainboard swap any day, but gets you a little less performance than the Intel chips.

Check your motherboard specs and make sure it will take the CPU and that you don't need a BIOS update.