|AMD Phenom-II X4-980 BE Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 02 May 2011|
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AMD Phenom-II X4-980 BE Deneb Processor Review
Manufacturer: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by AMD, Inc.
Last week I was a little surprised to find an email in my inbox about a new AMD CPU. Like many of you, I have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of a desktop platform for the new Bulldozer lineup. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that the CPU being released this week isn't from a new series. That being said, it is always fun to test the newest CPUs of any series, especially the extremely popular Phenom-II X4 series CPUs.As is common with AMD CPUs, the next in the Phenom-II X4 Black Edition series is being released; the Phenom-II X4-980BE HDZ980FBK4DGM. The X4-980BE will take over as AMDs flagship quad-core processor and guess what, it is 100MHz faster than the current quad-core king at 3.7GHz. Without surprise the Phenom-II X4-980BE will be released at the same price the X4-975BE was released in January 2011 with an MSRP of $195. And because we are just that reliable, Benchmark Reviews is here to give you the run down on the Phenom-II X4-980BE to show you how it stacks up against its younger brothers and the similarly priced (though slightly more expensive) Core i5-2500K.
By now we are all familiar with the Phenom-II X4 series, or at least we thought we were until AMD released the Phenom-II X4-840 CPU back in January 2011. Just so we are aware, being called a Phenom-II doesn't automatically mean you get a L3 cache anymore. You really have to pay attention to the numbering convention now in order to figure out what you are getting. The Phenom-II X4-980BE, like the other Phenom-II X4-900 series processors, is built on the Deneb die. There aren't any changes to the processor itself, except for the fact that its core clock speed is set to 3.7GHz instead of 3.6GHz like the Phenom-II X4-975BE. Basically, the stock multiplier is bumped up from x18 to x18.5. Multiply that by the bus speed of 200MHz and you get your 3700MHz.
The BE on the end of the name Phenom-II X4-980BE stands for Black Edition. This means that the stock multiplier of x18.5 isn't locked like it is on non-Black Edition processors, making it easier to overclock because you don't have to rely on increasing the bus speed as much. Since the bus speed doesn't just control the overall clock of the processor, overclocking can be dangerous for other components, especially if they aren't as good at overclocking as the Phenom-II X4-900 series processors have proven to be.
I have to admit that most of my excitement at the release of new AMD CPUs within the Athlon-II and Phenom-II series is based off the fact that the previous processors get a price cut. The overclockability of these two series of CPUs has been proven here at Benchmark Reviews time and time again. They remain solid at high clock speeds and the resulting performance increases can be pretty amazing. At the same time, the already low prices of the Athlon-II and Phenom-II lines of CPUs make them great for overclockers and non-overclockers alike, though I have found the Athlon-IIs to be of a little higher price/performance ratio.Without further ado, let's head inside and check out the next step in the Phenom-II series, the Phenom-II X4-980BE.