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AMD Phenom 9850 Black Edition
by Marc Prieur
Published on April 9, 2008

Power consumption
We measure power consumption of the processorís power supply stage with the help of an ammetric clip on the ATX12V connection line which it uses exclusively. This allows us to better isolate CPU power use instead of obtaining overall consumption. The only thing we should keep in mind is that the CPU power supply stage has an efficiency of between 80 and 90%.


Compared to our Phenom 9600 Black Edition, the Phenom 9850 Black Edition posts high power consumption whether in stand-by, semi-load or in full load.
Overclocking
While our first Phenom 9600 which was used in our test in November attained 2.65 GHz at 1.3V, the Phenom 9600 ę Black Edition Ľ we received this time didnít want to go above 2.5 GHz, a quite disappointing result.


On the other hand, the Phenom 9850ís scores are more encouraging because starting at 2.5 GHz we were able to attain 2.8 GHz while maintaining the initial 1.3V. Unfortunately, when increasing voltage, we couldnít get a stable 2.9 GHz ; however, 2.8 GHz with 4 sessions of Prime95 didnít pose any problems with this CPU.

Of course, knowing that this CPU comes from AMD and that we were only able to get our hands on the one model, we really couldnít draw any solid conclusions. However, knowing that AMD took advantage of the B3 stepping to add 200 MHz on commercial versions, it only seems logical that the B3s will go further in frequency.
Conclusion
Contrary to the Phenom B2, the B3 is actually a potential alternative to Intelís solutions. Of course, a Phenom 9850 is not on the exact same overall level as the Q6600 but it should come very close (roughly 95%) for an equivalent price.

Despite these improvements, we have two criticisms. On the one hand, the frequencies of these Phenoms are is still relatively low in the broad context of things. This deprives AMD of a true high end CPU and doesnít help it to rival in terms of overclocking. The second criticism is the noticeable increase in power consumption which should at least be resolved by the transition to 45nm ; however, unfortunately this isnít planned until the last quarter of the year.

In the meantime, Intel should widen its gap even more because its long awaited 45 nm quad core is starting to appear. For this reason, we can no longer compare the Phenom 9850 with the Q6600 but rather to the Q9300. Itís a duel we will come back to in the near future; however, it should largely be in the favor of Intelís processor. With the Phenom B3, AMD does better but probably not enough.

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