iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






AMD Phenom X4 9850

Bugs fixable and not.

June 11, 2008

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Preface to the charts

Our test procedure features two peculiarities of data representation: firstly, all data types are reduced to one - a relative integer score (performance of a given processor relative to that of Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, given performance of the latter is 100 points). Secondly, detailed results are published in this Excel spreadsheet, while the article contains only summary charts for benchmark classes. Nevertheless, we'll sometimes draw your attention to detailed results, if they are worthy of your attention.

Professional tests

3D Modeling and Rendering

The first disappointment hasn't kept us waiting: if we compare Phenom X4 9850 with its theoretical rivals from Intel (that is Core 2 Quad), it's significantly outperformed even by Core 2 Quad Q6600, which clock rate is lower by 100 MHz, and it's based on the old core (Kentsfield). And the equally-clocked Q9300 based on the new Yorkfield core outperforms Phenom X4 9850 by 13%, that's a certain defeat (because the X4 9850 is a top processor in its series, while the Q9300 is not).


Even though the bug is fixed and the list of programs for this group of tests has changed a little, the nasty tendency we found in the engineering sample of Phenom is still here: for some reason, this class of software does not favor the K10 core. In our previous tests Phenom was outperformed not only by many Intel processors, but even by Athlon 64 X2 6000+. The test procedure has changed, we've got new program versions, another test has been added, and the top Phenom is again outperformed even by Core 2 Duo E6600, which operates at a lower clock rate and has only two cores. AMD is not doing well in the CAD/CAM group. In all three packages at that - you may have a look at detailed results.


Phenom failed this test again. It's a shame, really, because the dual-core processor from Intel with a similar clock rate scored two points higher.

Professional photo processing

At least something: our previous tests in Adobe Photoshop show that a processor with more cores can hardly be outperformed by a processor with fewer cores. At leasts Phenom X4 9850 copes well with this easy task: it's faster than Core 2 Duo E6600 and Core 2 Duo E7200 here. So this processor upholds the honor of its group (quad-core processors) as a good choice for Photoshop. But versus the equally-clocked Q9300... well, you can see it with your own eyes. Even if you have a look at detailed results, you won't see anything consoling: we use seven Adobe Photoshop tests, and Phenom is outperformed in each of them.

Scientific applications

This terribly low result is caused by an almost 6-fold (!) defeat of Phenom X4 9850 by the winner in this group (Q9300) in the Sparse test from MATLAB benchmark. The older MATLAB version did not show such strikingly low results. However, the new version (we'll lift the veil over our future articles) won't have such problems with the three-core Phenom X3! Thus, we can assume that four AMD cores somehow conflict with some functions of MATLAB 2007. We have no other logical explanations to this phenomenon.

Web server

That's a good result for the first time. Phenom even manages to gain a 12% advantage in one test (Synthetic MySQL) over the absolute champion in this group - Core 2 Quad Q9300. By the way, Athlon 64 X2 also performed well in this category, so the core continuity is preserved here.

Total professional score

Very low results in CAD/CAM and scientific tests, plus mediocre results in the other groups, and so we get a naturally average score in the professional class of software. That's far from impressive, especially for a top processor from AMD.

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Page 1: Introduction, testbeds

Page 2: Professional tests

Page 3: Non-professional tests, conclusions

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