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


Power Consumption

Because CineBench has seperate single- and multi-threaded modes, it makes for a good benchmark for power consumption. To test this, we ran each test with the system plugged into our Watts Up power meter in multi threaded mode. The tests were then repeated in single-threaded mode. This should give us a good idea on how much power these processors consume across a wider variety of full-load scenarios - after all, you're not always loading all four cores! Average power consumption for the duration of the test is given, in watts.

We also checked the idle power usage of each system, with all 'efficiency' features enabled. To test this, Vista was set to 'balanced' mode, which includes shutting down the hard drives, etc. The time for this was increased to 1 minute, and readings were taken after a few minutes of idling.

Even with power-saving features like Cool n' Quiet, the Phenom is quite a hog, sipping 162 Watts of power just sitting there. I should take a moment to remind everyone - make sure you have your OS set to sleep mode when you are away from it! If you are the type who just leaves the PC on (maybe you have it set so the monitor shuts down) that is incredibly wasteful.

Even though the Phenom is a pig at idle, it's pretty much identical to the Q6700 under both single- and multi-threaded loads. The 45nm Yorkfield core is far more efficient however.

Using a bit of 5th-grade math, I was able to put the next graph together to put things into an even clearer perspective. Since we have a performance result from CineBench, and know the amount of average power used to obtain that result, we can find out how much power it took to achieve that result in the form of "Performance per Watt" (Higher is Better in this case):

The efficiency of Yorkfield is extremely apparent here. Between the Q6700 and the X4 9950 though, they use about the same amount of power, but the Q6700 is faster in the test, so is more efficient overall.

If I were to follow my Mom's advice of to not say anything at all unless I have something nice to say, this review would have been over long ago.

The fact is, the Phenom is nowhere near the Core 2 Quad in terms of pure performance, or even AMD's old standby "Performance for the Price". It's not even close, and in fact somewhat embarassing for AMD. We used to be able to say "If you primarily do this, buy that CPU, and if you do other things, buy this one". As it is now, I can't think of a single reason to buy this over a Core 2 Quad, if you're looking to go the 4-core route. And if you are taking dual-core into consideration, which gives up some multithreading performance for overall clock speed, you will only be looking at Core 2 Duo at the $200 price range (or even the $50 price range)

Maybe you have an Athlon 64 X2 sitting in a new-ish AM2+ motherboard, and want to upgrade... In that case, then yeah, a Phenom is probably worth considering. If you are in this situation though, you're already probably wearing an AMD hat, and there's absolutely nothing that can convince you that AMD is anything but the greatest CPU company ever to exist.

For the rest of us, Intel makes a compelling argument against that. And that argument is only going to get stronger with the Core i7, which is reported to launch with a $284 offering and by all indications performs even better than Core 2 Quad clock-for-clock.