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 9950 and 9350e were pretty close since both are based off the same core, have identical cache sizes and are down clocked to the same idle speeds thanks to AMD Cool’n’Quiet technology. At load we can begin to see why the Phenom X4 9350e is rated at 65W and the 9950 is rated at 140W! By just running POV-Ray across all four cores we saw the total system power consumption jump up by 93W. At full load the Phenom X4 9950 consumed 57W more than the Phenom X4 9350e.
The new energy-efficient Phenom series of processors brings the first 65W quad-core processor to the masses and that is a good thing for a market that is looking to be ‘green’ at every chance they get. Since the Phenom X4 9350e and 9150e processors carry a maximum rated TDP specification of just 65 watts they are sure to be popular for home theater PCs, small form factor PCs or for those looking for a system that energy efficient and inexpensive. The fact that both of these processors are priced below $200 means that consumers do get some serious bang for their buck. When it comes to energy efficiency the AMD Phenom X4 9350e was neck to neck with the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 45nm ‘Yorkfield’ processor, which is priced at $267 and up. If AMD could just get the performance on par with what Intel has these processors would be a home run. All of the current Phenom X3 processors are 95W, so these two 65W processors use less power than even the triple-core processors. AMD has designed these processors to go perfectly with the AMD 780G platform and they should also work fine on the older AMD 690G platform for those looking to save some more money.
The AMD Phenom X4 9950 raises the performance bar for AMD and it was able to hang with the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 in many of our benchmarks. The Phenom X4 9950 is just a speed bump, so there isn’t too much fun to say about it. The processor enjoys a 100MHz clock frequency increase, but on the flip side the max TDP went from 120W on the Phenom X4 9850 to 140W on the Phenom X4 9950. This means that the processor will only work on motherboards with the right power configuration and will not be plug-in-play on many older boards that were designed previously. Our MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard had no problems handling this processor and BIOS version 1.5B5 supports all three of these new processors. AMD has a website that recommends motherboards for their processor and it lists only two other boards that supports the Phenom X4 9950, which are the Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe and MSI K9N2 Diamond. The AMD Phenom X4 9350e and 9150e have 13 recommended motherboards, so be sure to do your research if you plan on buying the Phenom X4 9950!
Pricing for the new AMD Phenom X4 processors is aggressive and AMD expects the Phenom X4 9850 to drop from its old $235 price point down to $205 next week. AMD pricing for all processors can be found on this site if you want to see how they all stack up.
AMD has launched three more Phenom processors that are sure to get people talking. The energy efficient 65W Phenom processors are the ones to keep an eye on. They are priced under $200 and will be a nice upgrade path for those looking to drop in a processor and move on. The Phenom X4 9950 is the new flagship part, but with a 140W TDP rating and $235 price point, it uses more power and can’t compete at the same level of performance as the newer Intel 45nm quad-cores that start at $267 with the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300. Add the fact that only three boards are recommended for use, you have a niche part that many consumers might not even consider. The AMD Phenom X4 9350, on the other hand, is a part that will get people talking!
Legit Bottom Line: AMD Phenom X4 energy-efficient processors are just 65W and perform right where we expected a 2.0GHz Phenom to run at. The AMD Phenom X4 9950 raises the performance bar, but it also raises the max TDP and limits the number of motherboards you can use it on.