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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [10.17.08]
Manufactured by: AMD


The Test

As mentioned, we will be putting the X4 9950 up against the Core 2 Quad Q6700 and Q9550. About 2 weeks ago, the 9950 was exactly the same price as the Q6700, but recently benefited from a nice price drop. However, I wouldn't doubt if the Q6700 sees a similar drop, with the Core i7 launch imminent.

I had considered including some similarly-priced dual core processors in this review, but honestly one should opt to buy dual- or quad-core based on different needs. Dual cores are more suited for gaming for instance, with higher clock speeds at a lower price. Quad cores benefit from highly threaded computing, like video encoding, 3D rendering, etc.

The Specs

Intel Motherboard: Abit IP35 Pro (Intel P35 Express / ICH9R chipset) (reviewed here)
AMD Motherboard: Abit A-N78HD (GeForce 8200 mGPU) (reviewed here)

Memory: 2GB OCZ PC2 6400 SOE Urban Elite 4-4-3-15 (reviewed here)
Video Card: GeForce 8800GT 512MB
Audio: Disabled
Hard Drive: Hitachi DeskStar 250GB 7200 RPM SATAII (reviewed here)

OS: Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bit SP1
Video Card Drivers: ForceWare 179.15
Intel Chipset Drivers:
Nvidia Chipset Drivers: nForce 15.24

BIOS Settings: Strict clock timings enforced (no "Auto" settings), 4-4-3-15 timings, AHCI enabled, all integrated peripherals disabled.

All our reviews are "powered by" Thermaltake, who provide us with power supplies for testing.

SiSoft Sandra 2009

As always, we'll start off with some theoretical benchmarks courtesy of SiSoft Sandra. SiSoft have just released version 2009, so that's what we'll be using. 2009 introduces a couple of new tests that benchmark a CPU's performance in cryptography and hashing.

Things are off to a rocky start for the 9950, as it lags behind the Q6700 by 30% in the Dhrystone test. Luckily, strong floating-point performance allows it to catch up in the Whetstone test. However, both processors are far behind the Q9550 (which I should remind once more, costs $100 more than the X4 9950).

This time, things are reversed, with the Phenom showing strong integer performance when SSE is used, but falling behind in SSE2-accelerated floating point calculations.

Finally, we have some encryption performance results to share. And these go right in line with what we have been seeing so far.

Next Page: (System Performance: PCMark Vantage)