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The Latest Phenom CPU Problem: The Nail In AMD's Coffin?

Updated on July 13, 2008
A new set of bugs are running wild through AMD's disaster-on-silicon Phenom CPU... once again! Can Dr. Ruiz get anything right?
A new set of bugs are running wild through AMD's disaster-on-silicon Phenom CPU... once again! Can Dr. Ruiz get anything right?

Just when all the talk issuing from the marketing department of AMD was centered on how they had successfully fought through the horrific TLB errata problem with their K10 (Phenom) cores through a B3 stepping all of a sudden another evil insect stuck its head out of the entomology theme park that AMD's CPU Research & Development department has become.

The newly revised Phenom lineup is currently:

  • Phenom X4 9950, 4 core, 2.6GHz, TDP 140W, Bulk Price $235
  • Phenom X4 9850, 4 core, 2.5GHz, TDP 125W, Bulk Price $205
  • Phenom X4 9750, 4 core, 2.4GHz, TDP 125W, Bulk Price $215
  • Phenom X4 9650, 4 core, 2.3GHz, TDP 95W, Bulk Price $195
  • Phenom X4 9550, 4 core, 2.2GHz, TDP 95W, Bulk Price $175
  • Phenom X4 9350e, 4 core, 2.0GHz, TDP 65W, Bulk Price $195
  • Phenom X4 9150e, 4 core, 1.8GHz, TDP 65W, Bulk Price $175
  • Phenom X3 8750, 3 core, 2.4GHz, TDP 95W, Bulk Price $175
  • Phenom X3 8650, 3 core, 2.3GHz, TDP 95W, Bulk Price $145
  • Phenom X3 8450, 3 core 2.1GHz, TDP 95W, Bulk Price $125

This structure brings it somewhat into line with Intel's higher end Quad and Dual offerings, although the Wolfdale and Yorkfield CPUs are built on a 45nm process and thus a full generation ahead of the K10s 65nm architcture.

With this recent pricing restructuring it could be argued that at least now AMD is reasonably competitive with the Blue Team Juggernaut, and there was general popping of champagne corks by Green Team Evangelists everywhere as they believed that the long nightmare that started with the introduction of Intel's Core 2 series of processors was finally over.

That was until the latest bug started to pop up on various test reports, including Anandtech. It seems that AMD's latest Phenoms were phenomenally slowed down by AMD's version of Intel's SpeedStep, their own Cool'n'Quiet (CnQ), which is their voltage and speed adjustment function that works on the fly depending on the particular load that the processor is under. Therefore, CnQ will provide full processing power if the applications you are running demand them, such as 3D rendering, gameplaying, encoding and other CPU-heavy functions, but will automatically underclock and undervolt the processor if you're just web surfing, typing or performing other functions that don't require the full blown power of all your cores.

CnQ has been around since the Athlon 64 series of processors and has been relatively well behaved. Unfortunately when CnQ was extended to adjust the speed of cores individually in the Phenom series, the wheels fell off.

There have been preliminary reports that Phenom's CnQ is not the sharpest tool in the shed, and can slow down some application functions by approximately half! Disabling CnQ restores full velocity to the particular applications, but then the advantages of the CnQ are negated. And when you're running a Phenom X4 9950, 4 core, 2.6GHz, with a TDP of 140W, you want to save every watt to keep it from blowing up your electric bill as well as melting down your PC case!

The only conclusion that can possibly be arrived at is that Dr. Ruiz's assemblage of CPU imbeciles has done it again. The Gang That Can't Shoot Straight shot itself in the foot once again. AMD has gone from a junior competitor that handed its giant arch-enemy Intel defeat after defeat into a pathetic excuse for a CPU manufacturer in just two short years.

No wonder Wall Street is mercilessly punishing AMD, forcing its stock down from $40 to the $5 range, and Dr. Ruiz will definitely be noted as one of the patently worst and most incompetent CEOs in technology history.


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    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      First of all, this Hub was written months ago when the 720 hadn't even been rumored let alone released. But the important thing to note is that the 720 is just another faulty CPU from a company that hasn't put out a good one in at least three years. The CNQ problem is just the latest in a long line of fiascos. Fortunately AMD will die soon and then it will be the end of their stupidity.

    • profile image

      pmc650 8 years ago

      Nail in the coffin? I have a Phenom 720 in a home server (files, VMs, etc) running XP-32. The performance is very good (for the $) with CNQ disabled. With CNQ enabled, performance suffers greatly. I've heard that Vista fixes the CNQ problem, but I have not verified this. I found a solution here: