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AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Review

Rating: 6.5.

Today we are looking at the new high end quad core processor from AMD. The Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition is the new performance oriented, 4 core multiplier unlocked processor set to replace the 975 Black Edition at the top of their quad core lineup. The big question is … with competitively priced six core AMD processors, is there any room now for AMD quad core editions?

Let’s cut straight to the chase, AMD have struggled to keep up with Intel in recent months, as their Core i3, i5 and i7 processors continue to dominate the performance charts. Thankfully Bulldozer is just around the corner and offers much improved levels of performance for the AMD buying audience.

I make no bones about it, I am a big fan of the six core AMD designs, the 1100T is a great processor which can handle gaming and 3D rendering with ease, and the lower cost 1055T is still one of the best value for money solutions on the market. I have to admit, when I hear that AMD is releasing a new quad core ‘clock bumped’ processor based on current technology, I can’t help but take pause for thought.

Why? Well my reasoning seems logical to me. If you have a six core processor design such as the 1055T retailing for £130 do we really need a 975 Black Edition with less cores, retailing at £20 more? Sure, the ‘unlocked’ 975 might overclock to 4.2ghz+ easy enough, but the ‘locked’ 1055T can get very close to this with the right cooler. My views are simple, six cores is better than four (especially for less money). The clock boost needed for a quad core to be truly competitive just isn’t often practical.

The Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition is basically the same as the Phenom X4 975 Black Edition, but its 100mhz faster. Exciting? No, not at all, but let’s have a look.

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  • Frankie

    I really dont get the Quad core releases, its just opening them up for a butchering. the 6 cores even get beaten.

    They need to massively drop the prices to slot in behind the 6 core versions of their chips or just ditch this range totally.

  • Thomas

    1055t is still their best chip for the money, ive seen it on sale for £120 recently. why would you pay £140 or £150 for this 980BE?

    Their GPU division seems much better organised imo

  • Robert

    The problem AMD face is that these chips are actually really good, but Intel are 1-2 years ahead on a design level. It just shows how good those new Core i5’s are.

  • Harry Bedin

    fair review, I bought a 1090t last month and its great, but the cores thing makes sense to me. If they can make good 6 cores, why not just ditch the 4 cores entirely? Its not like their designs dominate and Intel are taking the low end, making it sensible.

    The pricing is way off.

  • Earnest

    Just what we need, another 100mhz for the same price as before. which does absolutely nothing to compete against Intel.

    Even their six cores are so far behind, so whats the point of this? Why not bring out a six core chip like the 1100T, but clock it to 4ghz (they all run at this no problem), and just be done with it all until bulldozer. Even that is very boring, but at least at 4ghz it might seem interesting.