The quad-core Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition has a clock speed of 3.2 GHz, but the processor can be taken to higher speeds using AMD's OverDrive 3.0 technology, which the company also released Thursday.
AMD introduced the Dragon platform in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The platform comprises CPU, motherboard, and graphics processor.
Phenom II X4 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 955 with its latest AM3 motherboard with the AMD 7-Series chipset and the recently released ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card.
Intel's Core i7 desktop processors take the speed crown at the highest end of the market, according to reviewers. However, AMD's Dragon platform provides close-enough speeds at a significantly lower price. The Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition sells for about $245.
Along with the X4 955, AMD also introduced the Phenom II X4 945, which cannot be overclocked, but sells for slightly less at $225.
In a review of the processors, Hot Hardware said pairing the chips with a 790FX or GX-based socket AM3 motherboard and 4 GB of DDR3-1333 memory produced a "powerful desktop for about $450."
"That's not exactly cheap, but considering the performance and overclockability of the platform, it certainly represents a good value," the site said. "Yes, Intel's similarly clocked Core 2 Quads and Core i7 processors still maintain a performance advantage, but there is no denying that AMD's Dragon platform is an attractive option that has only been enhanced by the introduction of these new CPUs."
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