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Phenom X4 9500 vs Phenom II X4 955

posted Nov 15, 2009, 5:56 PM by Victor Zakharov   [ updated Nov 23, 2009, 5:34 PM ]

Introduction

My primary concern to upgrade was photo editing. I have a Canon Rebel XSI (450D), which takes 12MP photos. Unfortunately, I'm not yet a very good photographer, probably just need more practice. Anyway, editing photos became a frequent task. For some reason Phenom 9500 is pretty slow on those large ones. And it used to take me around 2-3 seconds to perform simple transformations. Having heard enough about the benefits of Phenom II, I decided to push forward and buy Phenom 955. Believe it or not, it does make a difference!

Technical Specs

Motherboard: GA-MA790X-UD4P.
Processor: Phenom X4 9500 -> Phenom II X4 955 (upgrade).
Memory: 4GB DDR2 Patriot EL 6400, 5-5-5-12.
Video: 8800 GTS 512MB Alpha Dog Edition.
Disk: WD Black 500GB.

Other parts do not affect performance, but increase stability of the system. I also have a Scythe Orochi fanless CPU cooler, Antec 300 case with 4 fans installed (3x120mm - back and front - and 4x140mm - top) and Corsair TX750W power supply.

Benchmark Results

I will list marks from 4 different suites to help understand where real changes are. I will also include my personal thoughts because synthetics are not 100% reliable when it comes to real-world tasks.

PassMark


Everest 5.02

Here upgrade is best seen on Memory Latency and CPU Photoworks test suites:

Test Suite
Marks - Phenom 9500
 Marks - Phenom 955
Performance Boost
Memory Read
4766
7456
+56%
Memory Write
3877
6734+74%
Memory Copy
5467
8861
+62%
Memory Latency
113.4
59.7+90%
CPU Queen
13685
19848
+45%
CPU Photoworks
6878
24783
+360%
CPU ZLib
58224
84427
+45%
CPU AES
14775
23110
+56%
FPU Julia
5344
8579+60%
FPU Mandel
3749
5377
+43%
FPU SinJulia
1913
2785+46%

3DMark06

Unfortunately I don't have a screenshot for Phenom 9500 + 8800 GTS 512, so believe me it was about 9K marks. When I upgraded to Phenom 955, my marks instantly went up to almost 14K. Have a look:


Now I have a simple rule for myself: never ever try to combine cheap and expensive parts together. Performance will be limited by its weakest link, Phenom 9500 in this case.

3DMark Vantage


Not a significant boost here. At least I know new games will play roughly the same. Or probably I shouldn't trust this test. :)

Conclusion

Well, it is definitely faster. The whole operating system is faster to boot and single applications take less time to start. Can't say for sure, but the boost seems to be close to 2x on average. There is something, however, that it handles much easier than Phenom 9500 used to. Two things: heavily loaded browser pages with lots of flash media, zoomed in; and picture editing, which is what I originally aimed at. The price could be better though, but I'm overall satisfied and will hardly ever upgrade the CPU now. Unless they make something really special, like a 3D operating system, hanging on the edge between reality and virtual world. And even at that moment video cards might be so advanced that we'll never find a use for a processor. Anyway, back on earth, if you are still looking for a cheap upgrade, this one does the trick!
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