The coming of the new year always brings the promise of new and better things to come. Some see it as a fresh start, others as a chance to begin to better what they already have. But, it is universally seen as a milestone with an eye of hope towards the future. Millions upon millions of New Year’s resolutions will be made. Promises to spend more time with family, lose weight, quit smoking, get in shape….all will be made in hopes of a better way of life. The common theme of New Year’s is the bettering. It’s pretty rare that you hear someone resolve to start smoking, gain unhealthy amounts of weight and make 2011 the year of poor nutritional intake.
And what about technology? Will the changing of the year provide new products and bettering of existing products? So far the new products are drawing quite the buzz and delivering quite a bit in ways of performance. All of the major players have issued new technology with performance capabilities we had not previously seen. AMD has brought us Bulldozer, Bobcat and its HD 6900 line. Intel has brought us Sandy Bridge and nVidia, the high end GTX 580. But the existing lines have not been forgotten, and have been updated and upgraded with pricing reasonable for even a non-enthusiast. AMD has released two new Phenom II quad core CPUs that are at both ends of their lineup – the flagship 975 Black Edition at 3.6Ghz with an unlocked multiplier and an entry level X4 840 at 3.2Ghz.
The AMD Phenom II 975 Black Edition is a speed bump in the line and has all of the attributes you have come to expect in a Phenom II. The Phenom II X4 975 Black Edition is built on tried and true C3 silicon 45 nanometer process for the AM3 socket and has a stock core frequency of 3.6Ghz. Featuring 2Mb of L2 and 6Mb of L3 cache and an unlocked multiplier, the Phenom II X4 975BE is aimed squarely at the enthusiast. The 3.2Ghz Phenom II 840 is a little different. Though it bears the Phenom name, it is built on the Propus core more commonly associated with the Athlon II line. And like the Athlon II, the Phenom II X4 840 has a 2Mb L2 cache, but lacks any L3 cache. The Phenom II X4 840 is also more energy efficient with a 95 watt TDP, compared to the 125 watts of the 975BE and other Phenom II quad cores CPUs. Priced at $99.00, it is an entry level in the Phenom lineup, but at 3.2Ghz it is an entry level that promises plenty of raw power.