Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fan, video card and hard drive model. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements POV-Ray 3.7 was run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load. All of the systems used identical hardware minus the motherboard and processor.
Results: When it came to idle power consumption the AMD Phenom X4 9850 consumed the more than any of the other processors we tested. The testing was done with AMD’s Cool’n’Quiet feature turned on in the BIOS of the MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard, which is noted as it is disabled by default. Cool’n’Quiet helps lower the power consumption significantly at an idle state as when it was disabled the AMD Phenom X4 9850 consumed 178W at idle.
The new AMD Phenom X4 50-series of processors is how Phenom should have launched back in November of last year. This stepping of Phenom doesn’t offer higher performance versus the older Phenom B1 and B2 steppings, but does remove the TLB erratum that caused many consumers to skip over Phenom when considering a platform for their next system. Those that already have an AMD Socket AM2 platform now have a solid upgrade path to look forward to. With upcoming price cuts the AMD Phenom X4 50-series will offer more bang for the buck thanks to the higher clock speeds on the X4 9850 and 9750, so AMD has become more competitive with Intel with the new series. AMD has also dropped pricing on the Phenom series, so not only are these processors ‘fixed’ with higher clock frequencies, they have lower prices!
In addition to the new Phenom X4 50-series, AMD announced the availability two triple core processors today: The X3 8600 and the X3 8400 at 2.3 and 2.1GHz respectively. The X3 8400 will be priced in the neighborhood of ~$150 and the X3 8600 ~$175. The X4 9100e will go for something around ~$200. Because these CPUs will be made available to OEMs only at launch, AMD will not be disclosing exact pricing at this time. What is interesting about the launch of the Phenom X3 series of processors is that they are done with the B2 stepping. That means that all of the Phenom X3 series of triple-core processors WILL have the TLB issue that was just fixed on the Phenom X4 50-series thanks to the B3 stepping. Legit Reviews asked AMD about this since it seems a bit strange that they are using the old stepping on the initial batch of triple-cores. AMD informed us they are not ‘clearing out’ the old B2 steppings on triple-core processors, but that sure seems to be the case from what we can tell. AMD also informed Legit Reviews that the triple-cores would eventually be moved over to the B3 stepping cores in mid to late April, which reinforces our ‘clearing out’ theory.
On top of that AMD announced an energy efficient quad core, the X4 9100e at 1.8GHz with a TDP of only 65 Watts at maximum power. This is a very low TDP as the Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition Processor that we looked at today has a TDP of 125 Watts and operated with between 1.25-1.35V. AMD will be offering a 95W variant of the X4 9750 to OEMs, but retail DIY consumers are going to be left out in the dark on this one. The X4 9750 available in the channel is a 125W part!
Legit Bottom Line: AMD fixes the Phenom X4 processor with the release of the 50-series, but launches the Phenom X3 processor series with B2 steppings that have the same issuses as the old Phenoms. Strange huh?