Exclusive Preview: Shocker, almost as fast as Quad
At CeBIT 2008 we had a chance to test a Phenom 8600 with the J&W RS780UVD-AM+ board. We could not do an extensive test, but it should give you some impressions.
As expected, this B2 stepping CPU is running at the same speed as the 9600. While we have a Black Edition which can change the multiplier, overclocking on this Tri-Core is limited. Also the BIOS was still beta, so we could only do overclock with FSB @ 230MHz.
We checked out how "gaming" would perform with the inegrated HD3200 on the board. Sorry, only 3DMark was available, but we see clearly there is very little difference between tri-core and quad-core. Phenom based CPUs are clock-for-clock faster than any X2. The X2 4850E is running with 2.50GHz compared to the 2.30GHz of the Phenoms, but they are much faster.
For our power-consumption test we allocated two CPUs to LameMT and two CPUs to 3DMark06, while the tri-core got two cores for lamemt and one for 3DMark06. We disabled the onboard IGP and put an HD3870 in to have a little comparison to our Intel testbed. The tri-core is quite disappointing because it used nearly as much energy as the quad-core.
The tri-core is a good improvement for AMD to increase performance, because the X2 is quite outdated and there is still no AMD product which can compete with any Intel Core CPU. We think AMD will sell the tri-cores at the price of an Intel dual-core. While the power-consumption is quite high, the most important for any user is the price. Getting three cores for the price of two will be a nice deal, anyway.
If you've got any thoughts of your own about AMD's new tri-core, feel free to discuss the issue on our message board, here's the thread.