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Phenom II X4 975 BE 3.60 GHz

Omega

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#1
AMD starts the new year with yet another fastest clocked processor introduced to the retail market. Clocked at 3.60 GHz, and with fair pricing, Phenom II X4 975 BE is reinforcing AMD's line of defense against oncoming Sandy Bridge models and needs to maintain AMD's strong presence in th emainstream market, at least until the Bulldozer architecture is ready.

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#2
Hardly noticeable with SB now on the scene. AMD needs to HTFU with BD this is down right embrassing.
 

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#3
I noticed on one test the score placement was off needed to shift the 970 and 975 down a couple.
 
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#4
Well I don't know if 3.6 GHz out of Deneb is THAT exciting at this point. It has been two years since the core launched at 3.0 GHz (the 940 BE). They've only managed to get another 600 MHz from it in two years.

My ancient 940 can run about 3.5 GHz if I put the voltage up to the 1.425 volts that the faster PIIs run at. My chip's default is only 1.30v.
 

cdawall

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#5
Well I don't know if 3.6 GHz out of Deneb is THAT exciting at this point. It has been two years since the core launched at 3.0 GHz (the 940 BE). They've only managed to get another 600 MHz from it in two years.

What I've found telling of Intel's manufacturing skill is how my 65nm Q6600 G0 overclocks better than my 45nm 940 BE. That Q6600 also uses less voltage on a bigger process and that's even more telling IMO.
Voltage means nothing...intel has flat out admited that amds fab is better at least once since phenom i
 
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#6
You think AMD has superior manufacturing? Did I read that right? Are you serious?

I pulled that stuff from my post because I rethought about how AMD is using a different process tech (SOI, I believe), and that could have different voltage properties. I'm no process engineer.

There's absolutely no way that AMD has better manufacturing though. That is Intel's game and they put huge money into it to keep that advantage.
 

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#7
You think AMD has superior manufacturing? Did I read that right? Are you serious?

I pulled that stuff from my post because I rethought about how AMD is using a different process tech (SOI, I believe), and that could have different voltage properties. I'm no process engineer.

There's absolutely no way that AMD has better manufacturing though. That is Intel's game and they put huge money into it to keep that advantage.
Keep the debate civil...everyone.
 
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#8
I didn't mean to sound unfriendly. But there is really no debate here. Intel is something like 18 months ahead of everyone else on process technology.
 

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#9
Voltage means nothing...intel has flat out admited that amds fab is better at least once since phenom i
I don't remember reading such a thing. Link?

I didn't mean to sound unfriendly. But there is really no debate here. Intel is something like 18 months ahead of everyone else on process technology.
No problem. I just know that these discussions have a way of getting out of hand.
 
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#10
Omega in the P2 840 review, you forgot to highlight the 840 in the charts.

BTW AMD did a very sneaky switcheroo with the 840!
 

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#11
Cons?

I don't really have a horse in this particular race, but I'm at a loss to grasp the "Thumbs Down" bulletpoints as listed in this review. Granted, the power consumption under load *isn't* spectacular, but shouldn't be unexpected for a quad at this clockspeed on a 45nm process.

The unlocked multi "adds little practical value?" What easier way is there to overclock than to advance a multiplier, and perhaps raise the core voltage? Or, to put this another way, how many people considering this CPU wouldn't whine if AMD suddenly chose to lock the multiplier? Not too many, I'll wager...

And finally, judging by your own gaming benchmarks of stock-clocked processors, the X4 975 BE results fall within, at the very least, the upper one-third of every test. I'm not seeing how the AMD-centric crowd would be sitting on the sidelines wishing that, they too, could be the "hardcore gamers" that the Intel-types are.

The X4 975 BE is most definitely *not* bleeding-edge tech, but for a sub-$200 pricetag CPU, that has good O/C potential, and that will function in most existing 125W-rated motherboards, this final score of "8.7" seems a bit harsh to me.
 

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#12
I don't remember reading such a thing. Link?
i can't find it but it was in the news on TPU intel came out and said the they could not have created a native quad core on 65nm hence why their first native quad was on 45nm.

You think AMD has superior manufacturing? Did I read that right? Are you serious?

I pulled that stuff from my post because I rethought about how AMD is using a different process tech (SOI, I believe), and that could have different voltage properties. I'm no process engineer.

There's absolutely no way that AMD has better manufacturing though. That is Intel's game and they put huge money into it to keep that advantage.

if it was so poor why was the first 65watt chip AMD? no one said that fabrication relates to better IPC. they have removed the cold bugs from there chips something intel still hasn't accomplished. how is fab intels game its outsourced to TSMC for some chips? thanks for a very fanboyish post that contained no facts that was derogatory towards AMD in an AMD review.
 
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#13
i don't really have a horse in this particular race, but i'm at a loss to grasp the "thumbs down" bulletpoints as listed in this review. Granted, the power consumption under load *isn't* spectacular, but shouldn't be unexpected for a quad at this clockspeed on a 45nm process.

The unlocked multi "adds little practical value?" what easier way is there to overclock than to advance a multiplier, and perhaps raise the core voltage? Or, to put this another way, how many people considering this cpu wouldn't whine if amd suddenly chose to lock the multiplier? Not too many, i'll wager...

And finally, judging by your own gaming benchmarks of stock-clocked processors, the x4 975 be results fall within, at the very least, the upper one-third of every test. I'm not seeing how the amd-centric crowd would be sitting on the sidelines wishing that, they too, could be the "hardcore gamers" that the intel-types are.

The x4 975 be is most definitely *not* bleeding-edge tech, but for a sub-$200 pricetag cpu, that has good o/c potential, and that will function in most existing 125w-rated motherboards, this final score of "8.7" seems a bit harsh to me.
+1
 

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#14
i can't find it but it was in the news on TPU intel came out and said the they could not have created a native quad core on 65nm hence why there first native quad was on 45nm...
I'm the new girl in the forums, so I'm not expecting too much in the way of credibility to be offered at this point, but in defense of cdawall, I do remember an Intel engineer/bigwig stating that, (as close as I can recall), "that we, (Intel), would have a very difficult time in implementing the approach AMD chose with Barcelona." I want to emphasize I'm paraphrasing here, but that I feel I'm accurately portraying the intent that was being made at the time. I recall this probably only because I was so struck by the admission.

I have, of course, no way to know if this is what cdawall is referring to.

Personally, I think both Intel and AMD make pretty solid products. For me, it's "bang for the buck." Who "brings it" most at the lowest price-point, including motherboard and memory requirements. I don't run synthetic benchmarks for kicks, and, speaking just for myself, while I do use a PC everyday professionally, it isn't a case where having the absolute fastest platform would make any tangible difference whatsoever. I just don't have the disposable cash for what would amount to simply be, for me, a shameless exercise in ego-stroking.
 
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#15
I'm the new girl in the forums, so I'm not expecting too much in the way of credibility to be offered at this point, but in defense of cdawall, I do remember an Intel engineer/bigwig stating that, (as close as I can recall), "that we, (Intel), would have a very difficult time in implementing the approach AMD chose with Barcelona." I want to emphasize I'm paraphrasing here, but that I feel I'm accurately portraying the intent that was being made at the time. I recall this probably only because I was so struck by the admission.

I have, of course, no way to know if this is what cdawall is referring to.

Personally, I think both Intel and AMD make pretty solid products. For me, it's "bang for the buck." Who "brings it" most at the lowest price-point, including motherboard and memory requirements. I don't run synthetic benchmarks for kicks, and, speaking just for myself, while I do use a PC everyday professionally, it isn't a case where having the absolute fastest platform would make any tangible difference whatsoever. I just don't have the disposable cash for what would amount to simply be, for me, a shameless exercise in ego-stroking.
I agree with you 110%. I was with Intel when I was younger and more niave in the tech world thinking that Intel was the best over everything. However, since I am living on my own and started a family of my own, money is short. With that said, I went to go build my current PC. With the little money I had, I had to place myself on a bugdet. After research and reviews I later found out that AMD was the way to go. With great performance, gaming, and web browsing, I said why not try it. (The last time I went AMD was an Emachine Windows ME Edition) that was like back in 2001.

So, I am typing this up right now with my 965 BE @ 3.6GHZ. And I can run any game instantly at max settings with no problem (granted I have two 5850s), but I know my Processor play's a role as well. Even when Windows 7 boots, it literaly take's like 6 seconds to run everything. Now that's fast at a great price and value.

Like I've said a lot of times, if you are going to budget and want good gaming go with AMD

If you have the money to buy Intel's $800-1,000 top of the line Processor's --more power to you :toast:
 
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#16
If you have the money to buy Intel's $800-1,000 top of the line Processor's --more power to you :toast:
When I build my 920 rig in Oct 2009 I priced together my current rig and a AMD rig and the price difference worked out to be something like $200 and was well worth the performance difference.

I think alot of people make a big deal out of the prices they aren't that far off when you are comparing builds with the same intent.
 

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#17
I don't really have a horse in this particular race, but I'm at a loss to grasp the "Thumbs Down" bulletpoints as listed in this review. Granted, the power consumption under load *isn't* spectacular, but shouldn't be unexpected for a quad at this clockspeed on a 45nm process.
ahhh... I sense an well argumented standpoint at last! Just a word before i go on answering your questions. I respect your opinion, and in many ways mine ones are very much similar... but very different in the same time. Shall we?

First, let's compare our subject the X4 975 to its closest competitor, what would be i5 750 (too bad we don't have i5 760 in our charts). By itself the Phenom II X4 975 has very acceptable power consumption output, but when you compare the load states with those of i5 750 you see a difference of ~ 35 W, and that's not a small difference for processors in same price segment (remember, we're just looking at power consumption rates here). It's simply not power efficient as competition. So, that thumb down bulletin was referring to that standpoint, I have updated it a bit in review. Hope that makes it more clear why it's under thumbs down.

The unlocked multi "adds little practical value?" What easier way is there to overclock than to advance a multiplier, and perhaps raise the core voltage? Or, to put this another way, how many people considering this CPU wouldn't whine if AMD suddenly chose to lock the multiplier? Not too many, I'll wager...
Let's be honest here... we got lucky with our sample. Over 4.30 GHz with normal core voltages and mid range air cooling is VERY rare for Deneb cores. I've had almost every Deneb SKU runing overclocked speeds and most of them would hit ~3.90 GHz, some even less. Now I ask you this, if you're buying a Phenom II model, which you want to overclock and gain more out of it, but you're not a expert clocker, say you know just the basic stuff. Would you rather spend ~$200 and buy 975 model running 3.60 GHz then overclock it via multy to 3.90 GHz (x18 vs x19.5)... or, would you buy 955 BE model for ~$145 and change the multy from x16 to x19.5 and get completely the same thing? Now, you tell me, what practical value do you have from unlocked multiplier on a processor that is already overclocked to the roof? You know and I know, that buying an 975 model over 955 is just a matter of personal choice, or luxury/status statement if you will.

Those with expert overclocking skills will also look the other way, over to the blue side and Core i5 processors, which have considerably more headroom, both in clock frequencies and performance improvements. Where AMD's Phenom's end, Intel's Core i5 processors are just beginning.

And finally, judging by your own gaming benchmarks of stock-clocked processors, the X4 975 BE results fall within, at the very least, the upper one-third of every test. I'm not seeing how the AMD-centric crowd would be sitting on the sidelines wishing that, they too, could be the "hardcore gamers" that the Intel-types are.
They do indeed. Phenom II X4 975 scores great in gaming benchmarks, but, again, against its closest rival it is slower, and if we were to add i5 760 to the mix it would be even slower. It's not that you can't do some serious gaming with Phenom, but it's just that there are better choices, few bucks more, yes, but in return you get much more than you'd get from Phenom II X4 975. Especially when you consider the implemented features that help boost gaming performance, power consumption levels when gaming, and overclocking and potential gains from it.

As for hardcore gamers, I had no ill intentions to anyone... in fact I had and probably will have some periods of my life when/where I could/will say for myself that I'm a hardcore gamer. And as such I know when I'm playing or will be playing my favorite game I'm mad about, I want me those frame rates to fly sky high. I NEVER want to see frame drops, or experience lags that could cause some kind of a mental breakdown (not that I'm that kind of a person :)). Hardcore gamer wants the best CPU that will run his games flawlessly, both current and future games, and he will be much happier with a bit higher clocked Core i5/i7 processor than he would be with Phenom II X4 975. So yes, it's not the best choice for "hardcore" gamers.

The X4 975 BE is most definitely *not* bleeding-edge tech, but for a sub-$200 pricetag CPU, that has good O/C potential, and that will function in most existing 125W-rated motherboards, this final score of "8.7" seems a bit harsh to me.
Score of 8.7 is not harsh at all, it is by all means a fair and very much positive score, and I even recommended the Phenom II X4 975 because of all of its good sides and unique features. You should be aware that, while in the 99% percent of review I try to keep an objective line as much as i can, scoring is place where I can take into account some other things than objective facts and numbers, like subjective feeling from a product, information and findings not mentioned in review, performance numbers not shown in reviews for this or that reasons, as well as comparisons not shown in this review, and the general feel i got while spending time with the product.

Current review benchmarks have some limitations and flaws as well as the lacking performance comparisons. Those things will be corrected in the upcoming reviews, new benchmarks will be added, more competing models in same charts and so on. There are some numbers, and experiences I see and "feel" when benching a product that I cannot always relate to you in reviews... and that's where the scoring comes in. It is my personal judgment, and it is up to you, readers, whether to agree with it or not, rely and trust it, or not. I try to give you all the objective facts before scoring so you can forge your own opinion, like you had yours.

Don't forget that Core i5 2500K is almost in the same price segment, and i5 2400 is even cheaper... and those are very fast Sandy Bridge chips :ohwell:
 
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#18
Im just impressed that it uses less power but clocked higher then lets say the 965BE etc, i would think this means it also runs cooler?

I for one would like the 975BE just for that reason alone. and get a slight performance boost.
 
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#19
So, I am typing this up right now with my 965 BE @ 3.6GHZ. And I can run any game instantly at max settings with no problem (granted I have two 5850s), but I know my Processor play's a role as well. Even when Windows 7 boots, it literaly take's like 6 seconds to run everything. Now that's fast at a great price and value.
You're the poor father that can only afford AMD these days, yet you're running 5850's in Crossfire. I find that very funny, as those two cards alone probably cost more than the rest of your system.

I'm a father as well and I had to thoroughly reorganize my budget to keep in line with gaming PC's. I had to swap three graphics cards and spend carefully on upgrades to get to this lowly GTX 460 768 I'm using right now. And lo and behold, I still managed to save enough to get me a power efficient I5.

So no, if you spend 500 $ on video cards alone, I don't think you fit your own description :)

Omega's got the bull by the horns, so to speak. I was shocked the other day, when I built a rig for a friend, to find out that his dual core Athlon II 245 sits at 60 W power consumption in idle, while my quad I5 760 sits at 22. If that's not efficiency, I don't know what is.

Sure, this is a good processor and there's definitely a right target for it, but with Sandies out, it's looking worse by the minute for AMD. And they NEED to stay strong in this game, for our sake :)
 

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#20
good day. with my amd 890GX ASRock 2be555 and got b55 x4 3:44 - Processor board = 180 euros
 
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#22
When I build my 920 rig in Oct 2009 I priced together my current rig and a AMD rig and the price difference worked out to be something like $200 and was well worth the performance difference.

I think alot of people make a big deal out of the prices they aren't that far off when you are comparing builds with the same intent.
Not "that far off?" Dude, $200 is the difference between running a xfire system and not running a xfire system. That's like an extra card's worth of money. :wtf:

I look at the meager differences in gaming FPS when using a faster Intel chip, and the huge differences in running a xfire system vs. a non-xfire system, and it's not even a choice. Cheaper AMD chip+better video card all the way.
 
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#23
Ok correction $200 Dollars was not a big enough difference in price for me to choose the AMD rig over the Intel one. I make an ok living after paying the mortgage and my other bills $200 is peanuts at the end of the day.

I'm not 18 anymore :p

I'm pretty sure this 920 system will last me longer than a Quadcore Phenom system performance wise.

X-fire is and will never be an option for me. I prefer single GPU's system, don't like microstutter and driver issues aswell as the additional heat to deal with.

I know that price difference for some will seal the deal but not for me.

Some of us do more than just game on their computers!
 
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#24
You're the poor father that can only afford AMD these days, yet you're running 5850's in Crossfire. I find that very funny, as those two cards alone probably cost more than the rest of your system.

I'm a father as well and I had to thoroughly reorganize my budget to keep in line with gaming PC's. I had to swap three graphics cards and spend carefully on upgrades to get to this lowly GTX 460 768 I'm using right now. And lo and behold, I still managed to save enough to get me a power efficient I5.

So no, if you spend 500 $ on video cards alone, I don't think you fit your own description :)
Let me clarify a little bit more :toast: . I bought some stuff with my tax return :)
 

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#25
...First, let's compare our subject the X4 975 to its closest competitor, what would be i5 750 (too bad we don't have i5 760 in our charts). By itself the Phenom II X4 975 has very acceptable power consumption output, but when you compare the load states with those of i5 750 you see a difference of ~ 35 W, and that's not a small difference for processors in same price segment (remember, we're just looking at power consumption rates here). It's simply not power efficient as competition. So, that thumb down bulletin was referring to that standpoint, I have updated it a bit in review. Hope that makes it more clear why it's under thumbs down.
I don't disagree. I suppose what my thinking about this point would be as follows:

The sort of person that chooses to buy this particular processor, (AMD's quad-core flagship at 3.6GHz, rated at 125W, with the phrase "Black Edition" prominently displayed on the box), is looking to kick butt and take names. They aren't too concerned with being "green" and things like "energy efficiency." That being said, I do appreciate the fact that there are some alternatives out there that are both powerful and use less power. They just don't fit into an AM2+/AM3 socket. AMD's "Stars" family is what it is, and I think it's a bit late in the game to nitpick over wattage. I believe we're in agreement in thinking the 975's power numbers aren't horrible.

Omega said:
Let's be honest here... we got lucky with our sample. Over 4.30 GHz with normal core voltages and mid range air cooling is VERY rare for Deneb cores. I've had almost every Deneb SKU runing overclocked speeds and most of them would hit ~3.90 GHz, some even less. Now I ask you this, if you're buying a Phenom II model, which you want to overclock and gain more out of it, but you're not a expert clocker, say you know just the basic stuff. Would you rather spend ~$200 and buy 975 model running 3.60 GHz then overclock it via multy to 3.90 GHz (x18 vs x19.5)... or, would you buy 955 BE model for ~$145 and change the multy from x16 to x19.5 and get completely the same thing? Now, you tell me, what practical value do you have from unlocked multiplier on a processor that is already overclocked to the roof? You know and I know, that buying an 975 model over 955 is just a matter of personal choice, or luxury/status statement if you will.
Again, I don't so much disagree as simply see this from another perspective. An unlocked multiplier, for me, is ALWAYS a plus, NEVER a negative. I didn't have any particular target regarding final clock speed in mind when I made my original comment, I simply fail to see how an unlocked multi should count in any way as a point against this CPU. If we were discussing the old Athlon X2 6400+, (3.2GHz, 125W, 90nm process), I might be more inclined to agree that the unlocked multi might not prove all that helpful, but even in that case, I, personally, wouldn't criticize it's inclusion.

Seeing as AMD has gone from a 140W, 3.4GHz, 965 to this 125W, 3.6GHz, 975, who can say at this point what the typical overclock for this CPU will be? (Not to mention the influence of a particular motherboard.) If AMD has refined their fabrication process over the life of the Deneb series, and it seems obvious they have, perhaps +4.0GHz overclocks will be more common?

Omega said:
Those with expert overclocking skills will also look the other way, over to the blue side and Core i5 processors, which have considerably more headroom, both in clock frequencies and performance improvements. Where AMD's Phenom's end, Intel's Core i5 processors are just beginning.
Well, I would submit that there are a few people "with expert overclocking skills" who consciously choose to dabble on the AMD side of the fence, too. I have an i5 in my collection, so I'm well aware of it's reputation, both real and imagined. As I said in my original post, I'm not approaching this discussion from an Intel vs. AMD standpoint, but simply from the merits of this particular processor.

Omega said:
Phenom II X4 975 scores great in gaming benchmarks, but, again, against its closest rival it is slower, and if we were to add i5 760 to the mix it would be even slower. It's not that you can't do some serious gaming with Phenom, but it's just that there are better choices, few bucks more, yes, but in return you get much more than you'd get from Phenom II X4 975. Especially when you consider the implemented features that help boost gaming performance, power consumption levels when gaming, and overclocking and potential gains from it.

As for hardcore gamers, I had no ill intentions to anyone... in fact I had and probably will have some periods of my life when/where I could/will say for myself that I'm a hardcore gamer. And as such I know when I'm playing or will be playing my favorite game I'm mad about, I want me those frame rates to fly sky high. I NEVER want to see frame drops, or experience lags that could cause some kind of a mental breakdown (not that I'm that kind of a person :)). Hardcore gamer wants the best CPU that will run his games flawlessly, both current and future games, and he will be much happier with a bit higher clocked Core i5/i7 processor than he would be with Phenom II X4 975. So yes, it's not the best choice for "hardcore" gamers.
Here, I would say we ARE at odds with one another. Your benchmark scores don't state if they are average or peak frame rates; I'm assuming they are averages. I get that the 1024 x 768 numbers are included to help expose CPU scaling rather than the effect of the HD 5850.

If we toss out the 1024 x 768 figures, only because no self-respecting PC gamer in 2011 would choose to play at that resolution, and focus on the more realistic 1680 X 1050 results, we see that the 975 is never more than 9fps slower than the i7, is never less than 60fps in any title, and actually comes in first in two of the tests.

I don't think those numbers would serve to "break the spell" of anyone playing those games. In fact, I'd say if you sat someone down to play these games where they couldn't see which platform they were using, it would be virtually impossible to tell the i7 and 975 apart. Without seeing the minimum framerates, and this is NOT meant as criticism of your testing methodology, this is the only conclusion I can come to. And, no, I would not be surprised whatsoever if the minimums with the i7 were superior to the 975.

Yes, there ARE a few games that are very CPU dependent, (most notably Grand Theft Auto IV, for some reason), and there will be a distinct delta between AMD's and Intel's heavyweights in these cases. But, thankfully, those games are far more the exception than the rule, and it isn't that they wouldn't be fully enjoyable on something in the 975-class.

Omega said:
...Don't forget that Core i5 2500K is almost in the same price segment, and i5 2400 is even cheaper... and those are very fast Sandy Bridge chips :ohwell:
Indeed, they are. They are wonderful products. But, the issue here is the Socket LGA1155 motherboards are often about as expensive as the processors themselves. And, no one is likely to have one just lying around, if you catch my meaning. As the 975 is intended for an existing motherboard-base, (and, a much less expensive one, at that), I'd say this falls under the realm of an apples-to-oranges comparison. I doubt that even AMD is trying to position the 975 as a legitimate alternative to SB.

Believe me, I appreciated and enjoyed your review and our discussion, and I respect your viewpoints. I guess I view the "target audience" for this particular CPU quite a bit more narrowly than you can afford to do as a reviewer.