AMD's Tale Of A Too-Hot Test Drive

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Previously referred to as B3, Advanced Micro Devices' X4 Quad Core 9550, 9750 and 9850 amount to a new revision of the CPU in which the TLB erratum that plagued the last round of Phenoms is no longer present. The CRN Test Center set up a test bed and ran some tests on the 2.5GHz X4 9850 Black Edition.
Our test system included a Giga-Byte Technology Co. Ltd., MA790FX-DQ6 motherboard installed in an Antec Inc. case with an Ultra 3X 1000-watt power supply and a 160 GB SATA hard drive, running Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1.

PRODUCT NAME: AMD X4 9850 Black Edition

PRICE: $235 in 1,000-unit quantities.

: ASI, Avnet, D&H, Ingram Micro, Synnex, Tech Data

COMPANY: Advanced Micro Devices
Sunnyvale, Calif.
(408) 749-4000

Our testing included the benchmarking software, Geekbench 2. With a total score of 4,382, the Black Edition is right where it should be in performance. But since it's the only one in the lineup with an unlocked multiplier, we decided to take our evaluation unit for a ride.
First, we ran the benchmarking utility in AMD's overclocking application, Overdrive, and got a score of 7,294. Once the overclocking began, at 2.6GHz, the score reached 7,505. We continued pushing the limits until we reached a multiplier of 15x, which had the CPU running at an even 3.0GHz. At this setting, the Overdrive benchmark score was a remarkable 8,851.
Soon after our benchmark test was completed, our system froze and, after shutting down, would not reboot. A quick swap of the processor confirmed that the Black Edition had locked during testing. Re-flashing the motherboard's BIOS brought the system back to life.
System builders should be aware that most motherboards will need to have their BIOS flashed to the latest version before they will recognize the CPU. The Phenom 50 series is priced between $195 to $235 per 1,000 units and they are available now through the channel.
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