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AMD Releases Its Fastest Phenom II X4 Chip

The Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition features a stock frequency of 3.4 GHz, which can be ratcheted up even further for gamers and computer enthusiasts.

Advanced Micro Devices has introduced what the chip maker is calling the highest-clocked quad-core processor for desktop PCs.

The Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition features a stock frequency of 3.4 GHz and support for high-speed DDR3 memory. In addition, the processor's clock speed can be ratcheted up even further using AMD's OverDrive 3.0 technology for gamers and computer enthusiasts.

The new product, unveiled Thursday, represents an upgrade of AMD's Dragon platform for high-end desktops. The Phenom II X4 line of processors are backward compatible to older AM2+ motherboards running DDR2 memory for those people looking for a speed bump without buying a new system. However, for maximum performance, AMD recommends matching the Phenom II X4 chips with Dragon's AM3 motherboard, which includes the AMD 7-Series chipset and the recently released ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card.

AMD in April introduced the quad-core Phenom II X4 955 with a clock speed of 3.2 GHz. The chip was AMD's fastest processor and the X4 965 is nearly identical, except for the higher clock speed. The latest processor has a suggested system builder price of $245.

The Phenom II X4 processors compete with Intel's Core i7 desktop processors. Intel launched the processors late last year. In June, the chip maker said it would ship this year Core i5 and Core i3 processors based on the company's 45-nanometer Nehalem microarchitecture.

This month, Intel licensed technology from Nvidia to allow Nehalem processors and chipsets to support multiple Nvidia graphics processors in gaming systems and workstations. Nvidia products also work with AMD chips, which also support AMD's competing graphics processors.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on server virtualization. Download the report here (registration required).

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