First of all, I would like to thank AMD for providing the tested Phenom II X4 975 BE processor sample, MSI for providing the 890FXA-GD70 motherboard and Links for providing the rest of the test setup.
Like an old Japanese swordsmith, driven by perfection, AMD is still managing to extract more and more out of their Deneb quad core. With the new and improved C3 revision of Deneb core introduced few months back, it became clear that the Phenom II lineup still has some life, but it was hard to imagine they would climb all the way up to 3.60 GHz. After lowering TDP on top quad core models, and increasing the core speeds up to 3.50 GHz with Phenom II X4 970, AMD struck again with new SKU Phenom II X4 975 BE based on its old Deneb core.
Unfortunately, this time AMD did not lower the price of its lineup like they did with the last refresh when Phenom II X4 970 was also introduced along with other models. This time AMD is asking an additional ~10$ for 100 MHz clock increase over Phenom II X4 970, which puts Phenom II X4 975 up to $195, just below the six core entry models Phenom II X6 1055T and 1075T. Even so, there is no reason to hold a grudge with AMD because its main competitor for Phenom II X4 975, the Core i5 760 still ends up some $10 more, and since we all know who and what is Deneb core, we know it's more than capable to compete with Core i5 760 performance wise when clocked to 3.60 GHz.
Packaging and ContentsWe received our test sample in tray package, but the retail version packaging comes with AMD certified cooler, manual and three year warranty.
Phenom II X4 975 BE
Now let's quickly go over the standard specification stuff and move along to benchmark results. Nothing new here so no reason to waste anybody's valuable time. Phenom II X4 975 BE is clocked at a very high 3.60 GHz clock, and based on the C3 revision of AMD's Deneb core with TDP of 125W, which is outstanding when you remember the first Phenom II X4 965 SKU with 3.40 GHz clock and TDP of 140 W. Same TDP as other models means you can put this processor in almost every AM2+ or AM3 motherboard, and there are a lot of motherboards out there. Yes, backward compatibility with AM2+ and DDR2 memory is still here, and it's without a doubt a unique and extremely valuable feature. The integrated memory controller supports 1333 MHz DDR3 or 1066 MHz DDR2 types of memory. It's worth mentioning that AMD again broke its own speed record in delivering the fastest clocked retail sample to the market, outpacing its previously record holder, the 970 model, by another 100 MHz.
Each of the four physical cores have at their disposal dedicated 64 KB L1 and 512 KB L2 cache per core, and a total of 6 MB shared L3 cache memory. Phenom II X4 975 brings no new features like those introduced with six-core Thuban, to be specific, the Turbo Core feature. All of the cores with Phenom II X4 975 are locked in one power management profile, switching all cores through four states with different clocks and core voltage values, but most of the time your processor will be using the first state, we can call it "I'll run at 800 MHz and do nothing" and last state where all core will be running at full power, 3.60 GHz.
The "Black Edition" suffix in the processor's name of course means the clock multiplier is upwards unlocked and can be freely decreased for underclocking or increased for easy overclocking without the trouble of finding the right HyperTransport to DRAM ratios. Other important features that Phenom II X4 975 supports can be read from the CPU-Z screenshot, and for more information hungry readers, I'd advise some of our earlier reviewed Deneb samples, where we discussed its features in more detail.