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AMD's new Phenom X4 processors promise sky-high speeds. Should Intel be worried?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 20 November 2008, 23:30

Tags: Phenom X4, AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qap7v

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Intel showed its desktop processor hand with the release of a triumvirate of Core i7 processors earlier this month.

Fiendishly fast but expensive as a platform proposition once the £200+ motherboard and healthy chunks of DDR3 memory were taken into account, Intel effectively sewed up the £1,500+ system market for the foreseeable future, supplanting Core 2 with Core i7 goodness.

With Nehalem parading at the high-end, Intel's erstwhile performance champion, Core 2, is now left holding the microprocessor fort for mid-priced systems, with AMD's attractively-priced Phenoms providing a modicum of competition in the £500-£750 box territory.

AMD knows that it is unlikely to win the CPU performance crown back from Intel anytime soon, but is preparing to bolster current Phenom X4 offerings with models based on its 45nm manufacturing process that debuted with the enterprise-class Shanghai Opteron CPUs released recently.

Now, Phenom X4 45nm - also known as Deneb, and virtually identical to the present Phenom with respect to underlying architecture - will be a drop-in upgrade in all present AM2/+ motherboards, and if indications from a tech day that HEXUS attended in Austin, Texas, are indicative of  retail-processor performance, AMD may well cause system integrators to take another look at the company's wares.

In wholly AMD-controlled conditions we witnessed a Deneb 45nm processor - cherry-picked, presumably - run at near-4GHz with basic air-cooling and comfortably higher than 5GHz with crazy-ass LN2 - a far cry from the headroom-limited and disaster-ridden Phenom mkI that currently tops out at a lowly 2.6GHz with the X4 9950 Black Edition.

Should AMD be able to productise the all-new Phenom mkII at, say, 3GHz+ at launch, with promise of higher frequencies and DDR3 support to come, along with a street price of around £200, then Intel may not have it all its own way.

From what we saw, Deneb isn't shaping up to be a Core i7-killer, it's not imbued with the necessary architectural chutzpah to do that, but there's enough MHz oomph under the hood, it seems, to bring AMD's upcoming CPUs back into the mind of the value-conscious enthusiast.

Intel worried? No, but the chip giant may need to re-jig the pricing of its mid-range 45nm Core 2 CPUs if it intends to keep AMD on a tight leash.

The news of a potential AMD CPU mini-revival can only be construed as a positive sign for the consumer, and we wait with bated breath to see how the new 45nm CPUs shape up when released in less than two months time.

HEXUS Forums :: 62 Comments

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should be good for the price wars
Lets not forget now that hexus showed that an i7 could also run at 4ghz in less than ideal conditions. :rules:

Assuming that AMD could make these 4ghz chips, there would be amazing price wars between the 2.

I'm on the cautiously hopeful side of this though.
Yeah im with CK, im sceptical that these CPUs wil be anything special or will make any difference to the market but i really hope they do!
There's been alot of rumors the last few months concerning Deneb with samples allegedly being overclocked to 4.2 on air and the FX brand resurfacing in summer 2009, if the leaked roadmaps are true the highest clocked 45nm avaliable at launch will be 3GHz.

Good to see AMD nearly got to 4Ghz it shows great improvement to people who've had their eye on this processor, looking forward to a review to see if these numbers/rumors are true.
gigabyte have got the compatible bios out for my 790x-ds4, just waiting for the processor itself now :)