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AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE & 945 AM3 Processors

Date: April 23, 2009
Product: Phenom II X4 955 BE (3.2 GHz) & 945 (3.0 GHz) AM3 CPUs
Company: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
Author: Jason Rabel

AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE & 945 Processors


AMD is stepping up its game with the launch of two new flagship AM3 processors to succeed the original Phenom II X4 940 & 920 AM2+ models. These processors will be known as the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (3.2 GHz) and Phenom II X4 945 (3.0 GHz). The Northbridge Frequency (HT/MC) is back up and running at 2GHz for these AM3 processors (The X4 940/920 are running at 1.8GHz). Being socket AM3 they are DDR3 compatible in the latest generation boards, or DDR2 compatible in existing socket AM2+ boards. The only requirement to for these chips to run properly in existing AM2+ motherboards is a simple BIOS update.

In the picture below, the CPU on the left is the typical AM2+ processor, the one on the right is an AM3. Notice the omission of a couple pins? The corresponding AM3 sockets will have those holes filled to ensure a person doesn't try to insert an older AM2+ processor into an AM3 board. Meanwhile, the AM3 chip will fit perfectly into an AM2+ board.


AMD is also taking the opportunity to refresh its "Dragon Platform" to include these two chips along with the Radeon HD 4890 GPU and of course AMD 700 series chipset based motherboards. Utilizing programs like AMD OverDrive and AMD Fusion Utility for Gaming with the hardware based on the Dragon Platform allows even the most novice user to maximize the performance from their system with just a few clicks of the mouse.


What about the X4 940 Black Edition?

As we all know the X4 940 BE is technically an AM2+ processor and will only support DDR2. AMD has stated that they will continue to keep the chip unlocked for a while (they did not say how long though). If you are wanting to upgrade an existing AM2+ system, or just plan on purchasing DDR2 components for a new system, then the X4 940 BE is an excellent value currently priced at only $190 (and might drop some more once the 955 & 945 hit the retail channels). You don't need a Black Edition (unlocked) processor to overclock but it makes life a lot easier, especially for the novice.


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