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AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition - AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition

By Edward Chester


  • Recommended by TR
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

Another power saving improvement comes from the new ability of idle cores to flush out the contents of its L1 and L2 caches (remember these are normally only readable by one core) to L3 cache (which the other cores can read). The processor can then halt clocks to the idle core and consequently save power. It's not a complete shutdown of the core like Intel has managed with its Core i7 architecture but it's better than what came previously.

As for those under the bonnet performance increases, AMD was actually relatively tight-lipped about most of them, simply claiming that when combined they added an extra three per cent to the overall performance improvement. In fairness, the technicalities of what's going on with those improvements is probably beyond the scope of this article anyway. After all, you buy a CPU based on the end result, not how and why it got there.

Two versions of Phenom II will eventually be available. The current versions use AMD's current AM2+ packaging. This means owners of AMD motherboards bought within the last couple of years will be able to simply swap their old CPU for a new one (mileage may vary here so you should check your motherboard manufacturer's website). You'll just need to update the BIOS, which in this day and age is quite a simple process. Obviously this is a huge 'cost of ownership' advantage for AMD compared to Intel, even without comparing the actual prices of the CPUs.

The second version of Phenom II will be based on its new AM3 packaging, the principle advantage of which will be a move to DDR3 support. This will also be AMDs package of choice for its brand new CPU designs (remember Phenom II is essentially just a tweaked design) when they eventually arrive.

That's pretty much the essence of Phenom II, so to see if all this theory holds up and whether Phenom II is actually worth laying down your hard earned cash for, it's time to do a bit of testing.

As with our Core i7 performance analysis, we've taken a consumerist stance with our testing, eschewing theoretical memory bandwidth benchmarks and raw floating point calculation performance metrics for real world tasks. There are a couple of 'canned' benchmarks in the form of the 3D rendering tests, Cinebench and POV-Ray. However, these are industry standard benchmarks that we feel people value, as they can easily be downloaded and run by anyone.

Test Setup

Common System Components

AMD ATI Radeon 4870 X2 Graphics Card

Western Digital Raptor X 150GB Hard Drive

Pioneer BDC-S02BK Blu-ray Drive

Core i7 Test System

Intel DX58SO SmackOver Motherboard

2 x 1GB Qimonda IMSH1GU03A1F1C-10F PC3-8500 DDR3 RAM

Core 2 test Sytem

Asus P5E3 Motherboard

2 x 1GB Qimonda IMSH1GU03A1F1C-10F PC3-8500 DDR3 RAM

AMD Phenom Test System

Gigabyte MA-790GP-DS4H Motherboard

2 x 1GB Corsair Dominator CM2X1024-8500C5D DDR2 RAM

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January 8, 2009, 11:57 pm

In the system specs you state that the

i7 was 2/3 x 1gb DDR3

Core2 was 2 x 1gb DDR3

Phenom 2 was 1 x 1gb DDR2

Is this correct that the Phenom only had 1gb ram? As surely that would affect benchmarks.


January 9, 2009, 12:07 am

Nope, incorrect. Corrected now.


January 9, 2009, 11:43 am

how would this have compared to common dual core setups and an intel q6600 (overclocked)?


January 9, 2009, 2:54 pm

How much difference do we think DDR3 memory makes, in these speed tests?

The MP3 test is very interesting. By the way, how many simultaneous MP3 encodes were happening on the Intel quad-cores with hyperthreading - was it 8? And does this test not suggest that Intel processors are way more efficient at thread synchronising, but when a Phenom II is allowed to chug through a task on each physical core without much thread synchronisation then the AMD is actually about as fast?

(Thread synchronisation is the guilty secret of multicore computing. It stops multi-threaded tasks being as fast as they could in theory be. In simple terms, where two threads need to access the same data - which is surprisingly often in programs where multiple threads have to co-operate on the same task - then the L1 and L2 cache of all cores needs to be flushed to actual RAM, before any thread can be sure that the data will be read correctly. Flushing the cache is a time-consuming operation. Maybe Intel have a way to do this more efficiently? Maybe it is just because of Intel's new memory controller and DD3?)


January 11, 2009, 5:02 am

I agree it would be advantageous to see this processor compared with the Q6600. The decision is either plop a 6600 into the motherboard, Jump to core i7 or switch to AMD. The Q6600 sems still to be holding its own and is of a similar pricepoint


February 2, 2009, 2:05 pm

edward you might want to trow in a Q9400/Q9300 as a direct comparison based on price

as all the intels cpus in this review is all above $300, the i7 920 platform cost twice that of a a AMD Phenom 940 platform, and the QX9770 costs over $1000+, even the i7 965 cost $1000+, whine the nice Phenom II 940 is $230


March 12, 2009, 5:29 pm

i know this is off topic but "empire total war" is still slow on this cpu even when overclocked to 3.2ghz. the load time is killing it.


April 25, 2009, 5:10 am

Ya know from reading this thread; my conclusion is this.

This is no different than the arguement over Chevy vs. Ford and who is better.

All I have seen is nothing but a FPS war of numbers.

Yes Intel crunches number faster in some cases; but look at the price you pay...


I just assembled a Phenom 940 3.0 ghz, EVGA 730a, 4 gig DDR2 800, ATI 4870 PCI-E card. Liquid cooling from Domino ALC.

I have yes pushed it stale at stock Vcore to 3.6 ghz.

I play Bioshock and Crysis at 1600x1200 max monitor will go to. I can whip things around while playing and no studdering or pausing and MOST OF ALL NO CRASHING. I run at 37-40 temp all the time.

I spent $900.00 assembling this system. For just a Intel i7 Quad Core CPU costs almost $1,000.00; then add everything else.

The system does what I want it too and It does the job also.

Have fun...:-P

mechanical software

August 28, 2013, 6:29 pm

Cinebench has both a single-threaded and multi-threaded test while POV-Ray is just multi-threaded.

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