Hoping to put a fly in Intel's ointment.
So, it’s the 19th of November and as previous information suggested Phenom has indeed launched. In fact, technically today’s launch isn’t just the processor but the entire Spider platform, consisting of the Phenom processor range, AMD 3800 graphics cards and the AMD 7-series chipset. Mind you, Phenom chips are only currently available in the US, so for us Brits it’s still a bit of a paper launch – hopefully retailers will have stock and start shipping in the next few days.
Only two Phenom parts are actually available, the 9600 and 9500; the 9700 was supposed to launch today as well, but a few manufacturing problems have pushed that back to December. The 9600 clocks in at 2.3GHz, while the 9500 runs at 2.2GHz. Both offer 512KB of level-2 cache per core (2MB total) and 2MB of shared level-3 cache, considerably less than Intel’s 12MB level-2 cache on its latest Penryn chips, although AMD uses an on-die memory controller so the difference is expected. This range of Phenom’s use a DDR2 memory controller, but later chips will move up to DDR3, presumably once the jump becomes worthwhile.
Price wise the Phenom 9600 and 9500 are retailing for about $320 and $290 respectively, placing them up against Intel’s Q6600 which goes for about $280. In terms of performance we’ve yet to see what Phenom can do, but AMD will need to do something special to regain the performance crown. Hopefully we’ll see some UK pricing and a release soon.