• Recommended by TR
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition


Our Score


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It's arguable that for many of you, gaming performance will be of paramount interest when it comes to buying new parts for your PC. However, the simple fact of the matter is, if you have a powerful gaming PC, CPU performance is not going to be your bottleneck. So as long as you have a reasonably nippy dual core or quad core CPU, you'll be fine. It's for this reason we didn't go to town with our game testing and have looked at just two games, Crysis and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.

Both games use scripting to run through a custom time demo, with frame rates recorded along the way. Each setting is run three times and an average taken to ensure a consistent and fair result. We used a 'low' graphical setting to demonstrate the affect a fast CPU can have when graphics card performance isn't a bottleneck and then we used a 'high' setting to show the limited affect a fast CPU has when your graphics card is the bottleneck.


Unfortunately, our QX9770 test bed refused to run Crysis at 1,920 x 1,200 with 4xAA but even so, I think we can safely guess how things may have panned out. The QX9770 would probably have just crept ahead in this otherwise largely graphics card limited situation.

While it's clear the new Phenom doesn't leap ahead of the competition it has done the most important thing and at least mostly caught up. Sure it still trails the QX9770 but then that CPU costs four times as much so I think we can forgive it.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Again, AMD fails to take top spot in this benchmark but it has made some significant gains, particularly in the higher resolution test. So far, so pretty good.

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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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