Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

In the reviewer's guide AMD compares the Phenom 9350e with an Athlon X2 4850e:

For comparison, I've provided power numbers for our Athlon X2 4850e energy-efficient processor (rated at a maximum TDP of 45 watts). The focus with the new Phenom "e" processors was in keeping the maximum wattage low enough for small thermal envelopes. Please note that future power state improvements may potentially lower the idle power consumption for all Phenom processors.

Phenom X4 9350e (65W TDP) on Gigabyte 780G mobo with Vista:
Idle: 60W
Load: 108W Peak

Athlon X2 4850e (45W TDP) on Gigabyte 780G mobo with Vista:
Idle: 45W
Load: 90W Peak

It so happens that we have both of these processors and were able to make the same comparison. Our power figures are somewhat higher than AMD's for two reasons. The power supply on our test bench is a hulking great Enermax Galaxy 850W and you can be sure that there are efficiency gains to be made if you select a power supply with a lower rating. The second reason is that we used a Radeon HD 3450 graphics card in our test system. This is a passively cooled graphics card with a low power draw that has very similar capabilities to the graphics core in the 780G chipset on the Sapphire motherboard that we used. Take off 10W for the oversized power supply and 25W for the graphics card and our figures pretty much agree with AMD.

We hadn't intended to use a graphics card but we ran into problems with the Phenom X4 9350e as it wouldn't complete PCMark05 when we were using the IGP. The benchmark froze repeatedly during the gaming section of the tests so we plugged in the HD 3450 graphics card and found that it made no difference. Both the Athlon X2 4850e and a Phenom X4 9750 had no problem with PCMark05 so this issue would seem to be specific to the low power Phenom. Once the HD 3450 was installed we stuck with it and that's the reason why you can't directly compare our figures with those from AMD.

The performance of Phenom 9350e was exactly what you would expect; it's a slow quad-core processor that performs better than Athlon X2 4850e in tests that are processor-intensive and draws about 20W more than the dual core.

Compared to the Phenom X4 9750 it loses out in every performance test but the power savings under load are significant. This would appear to confirm AMD's view that ‘… the Phenom X4 9350e is specifically targeted for multi-taskers who want energy efficiency as well.'

‘With a Phenom X4 energy-efficient CPU and 780G as a foundation, system builders and OEMs can design multi-tasking PCs with dual-monitor support and excellent integrated graphics that fit into small form factor power envelopes using a modest power supply for under $500!'

Now we can't see the market for such a setup being that large as most people will do fine with a dual core processor. That said, if you do run an antivirus program and do a lot of video and photo editing, which you like to do while listening to music and browsing the web, all those cores could come in useful. Moreover, as more and more software begins to take advantage of multiple cores, having four is always going to be preferable to dual core.

Verdict

The Phenom X4 9350e delivers quad core performance and only requires a modest amount of power, which is great. However, the price is pretty high and it's arguable that a cheaper, faster dual core will bring more benefit for most people, at least in the short term.

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