Mainstream Quad Core Processors Compared from AMD and Intel

CPU by massman @ 2008-04-30

In this review we compare AMD´s latest AM2+ based Phenom X4 9850 to Intel´s mainstream Q9300 Processor. Which one gives you more performance for the buck? Answering this question is not as straightforward as you might think. With AMD aggressive pricing and new B3 revision does it stand a chance against an upgraded Q6600? Let us find out.

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Test setup and methodology

Test setup

Madshrimps Test Setup

  • AMD Phenom X4 9850
  • Intel Core 2 Q9300
  • Cooling
  • Noctua NH-U12P
  • Stock Aluminum Intel Heatsink
  • Mainboard
  • MSI K9A2 Platinum v1
  • Asus Commando
  • Memory 2 * 1GB TeamGroup PC6400
  • Sparkle Calibre 8600GT 512MB (drivers FW 169.21)
  • Tagan 480W PSU
  • Western Digital 320Gb SATA HDD
  • Windows XP SP3

  • Methodology

    The following benchmarks were used:
  • SiSoft Sandra 2007: CPU and Memory benchmark
  • Lavalys Everest: Memory latency
  • SuperPi 1M
  • Wprime 32M
  • Wprime 1024M

  • PCMark05
  • TechArp X264 HD benchmark
  • Cinebench 10

  • 3DMark2001SE
  • 3DMark06
  • Prey
  • Crysis

    We ran both setups at 2,5 and 3,0GHz to compare. Detailed information here:

    Madshrimps (c)

  • Phenom X4 9850 - 200x12,5=2500MHz - 2000MHz (NB) - 533MHz 4-6-6-22(*) - Unganged
  • Phenom X4 9850 - 250x12=3000MHz - 2500MHz (NB) - 500MHz 4-4-4-10 - Unganged

    Both ganged and unganged are dual channel memory settings, but in ganged mode the memory is seen as an 1x128bit block and in unganged, the memory is seen as an 2x64bit block. Ganged has more synthetical bandwidth, unganged is overall faster.

    Madshrimps (c)

  • Q9300 - 333x7,5=2500MHz - 500MHz 4-4-4-10
  • Q9300 - 400x7,5=3000MHz - 500MHz 4-4-4-10

    All settings were set in the bios.

    (*): Bios automatically changed 4-4-4-10 into 4-6-6-22. More about this on the overclocking page.
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    Comment from Gamer @ 2008/05/01
    Great article there Massman !!!
    Comment from Massman @ 2008/05/01
    Thank you Gamer :-)
    Comment from goingpostale1 @ 2008/05/13
    Great article, surprised me to see the Phenom so close to the Core Quad. Thanks for another great review.
    Comment from jmke @ 2008/05/13
    if you're not into overclocking the AMD Phenom offers a very interesting price/performance ratio, only in the power usage department will it lag behind due to the larger manufacturing process