AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition review
By this point in 2008, I'm sure the name Phenom requires little in the way of an introduction, with the brand name for AMD's latest range of desktop CPUs gaining what could almost be called infamy both before, during and subsequent to its launch. After some long, long delays to the 'Barcelona' codenamed architecture from which Phenom is spawned came a part with lower clock speeds than initially promised and, to make things worse still, an erratum in the CPU which needed to be worked around at BIOS level, dropping performance further still as a result. In short, Phenom failed to live up to its name, allowing Intel to continue in the driver's seat for current CPU performance.
However, rather than simply give up the ghost, AMD have been aggressive in their marketing of Phenom on two fronts - Firstly, on price (as they needed to be against some of Intel's impressive offerings), and secondly by offering a Phenom CPU with an unlocked multiplier at a far, far lower price than Intel's unlocked Extreme Edition parts. Following on from some 'Black Edition' Athlon 64 X2 CPUs we saw towards the end of its lifespan in the limelight, so AMD have taken this idea and ran with it into the Phenom era. The result is the Phenom 9600 Black Edition, and that's exactly what we're here to investigate today.
Although B3 stepping Phenom CPUs (which fix the TLB erratum and thus improve performance) are almost upon us in retail as we write this, in this article we'll be taking a look at a B2 Phenom 9600 Black Edition, putting it through its paces with the TLB erratum fix both enabled and disabled, as well as seeing how much overclocking headroom is available in this tempting multiplier unlocked offering.