iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






AMD Phenom II X4 940 Processor

Performance tests and comparison with rivals.

January 20, 2009

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  1. Our test method is described here.
  2. All data types are reduced to one relative integer score: performance of a reviewed processor compared to performance of Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, which is considered 100 points.
  3. Detailed results are available in this cumulative Excel spreadsheet. The article contains only summaries of each benchmark class.
  4. If detailed results are worthy of your attention, we mention them.

3D modeling and rendering

Even the first chart suggests that Phenom II is going to fight for its place under the sun and compete with Core 2 Quad. And the detailed results imply that the matter won't rest here. For example, it takes the new processor less time to render the test scene in Lightwave than Core i7 920. And in Maya, Phenom II renders faster than Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (Core i7 retrieves a defeat here). So, we won't be surprised to see Phenom II compete not only with equally-priced competitors, but also with more expensive CPUs in some tests.


The same layout of forces, only the "ladder" is less sloping. If we take into account that this group of tests is quite conservative and does not use more than two cores very efficiently, Turbo Boost in Core i7 processors gets a chance to prove its worth. It's only natural to assume that we can narrow the performance gap by overclocking a couple of cores in Phenom II. Fortunately, Phenom allows to control core multipliers independently, even if automatic overclocking is not implemented on the hardware level. But proprietary utilities can take care of this feature (for example, a user can specify a level and method of overclocking, which will be automatically chosen when a given application is started). It requires a tad more manual input for initial configuration. But this procedure is fun, and it may yield more interesting results than any automatic method. We plan to look into Phenom II overclocking in our future articles. As for now, let's get back to our test results at the nominal frequency.


Especially as we face the first clear-cut victory over both competitors without any overclocking here.

Professional photo processing

However, it's too early for AMD fans to send for champaign. Adobe Photoshop traditionally favors Intel processors, so it is bound to support Core i7. And it really does. However, Phenom II still controls the situation in its competition with the Q9300.

Scientific applications

In this group of tests, Phenom II takes the first position among all processors we've ever tested in Maple. It also sticks to the group of leaders in Mathematica. But then we take a look at results in MATLAB, and they spoil the overall impression. We already described the issues of this test. In this case we use the same library version for all processors (mkl.dll), because this very solution is used in the next version of this program (2008b), that is recommended by developers. But this approach is apparently far from optimal. And yet, we cannot say that the built-in benchmark measures temperature on Mars, even though the spread of results read from different measurement series is too big for a reliable comparison of processors with similar performance. Besides, we haven't determined how well it reflects even typical MATLAB tasks. But these questions apparently have to do with our test procedure, not the objective of this review. From the practical point of view, we should keep in mind that Phenom II X4 940 is close to Core i7 920 in the other two tests. Lagging behind the Q9300 (even formal) is out of the question. So Phenom II X4 940 has a good potential as a mathematical "solver".

Web server

AMD processors performed well in this category of tests. And Phenom 9850 also demonstrates the best result in this test than in all other categories. And Phenom II presses this success. However, it's in this very test that Q9300 only formally outperforms Q6600. Hence the maximum gap between Phenom II X4 940 and Q9300 in comparison with results in the other groups.

Total professional score

Phenom II X4 940 is slower than Core i7 by 4.38%. But the Q9300 is outperformed by 7.55%.

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