The AMD Phenom II X5 955 processor is more than a speed bump as it brings Socket AM3 support to the flagship AMD desktop processor. The extra 200MHz is a nice touch though, as at 3.2GHz the Phenom II is more competitive with the Intel Core 2 quad-core processors. The Intel Core i7 series of processors still leads over the Phenom II X4 955 in all the benchmarks, but it costs hundreds more to build a platform using a Core i7 versus a Phenom II.
Performance is key when it comes to choosing a processor and the Phenom II X4 955 proved to be tough competition to the slightly more expensive Intel Q9550 processor. Not bad considering the Q9550 cleaned house when it came to performance back in 2008. The AMD Phenom II X4 series of processors are strong and good performing chips. They just needed to be released 8 months earlier to make a significant dent in the market. While AMD doesn’t win the performance crown they do make up for it with pricing as the Phenom II X4 955 retails for just $245 shipped. Not bad for a processor that can reach ~4GHz with air cooling! This is a very good value for today’s market, but what is coming out in the weeks and months down the road?
Looking ahead, Intel has the Core i5 series (Lynnfield) of processors in the works. Anandtech has a preview of this upcoming mainstream platform for Nehalem and the results are very interesting. The downside to the new platform is that it uses new socket technology known as LGA-1156. Rumored prices for these processors are $196 for the Lynnfield 2.66GHz processor and $284 for the Lynnfield 2.80GHz processor. The good news for AMD is that Intel shouldn’t be releasing these processors until August.
Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition is the fastest desktop processor in AMD’s aresnal and rightly so, as it supports socket AM3 technology and a 3.2GHz clock frequency.