AMD had to put off the launch of the Phenom processors for quite a while. In fact, they were quite a few months late which gave Intel establishment time with their Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad series of CPUs. As they were also hitting the retail market at affordable prices, AMD has had to struggle through with the K8 based Athlon 64 series, which has now run its course.
Phenom was the CPU to save AMD, but so far its delays and TLB bugs in B1 and B2 silicon has made people want to keep at least a 1 mile radius from the Phenom processors. Today we are happy to report this issue is no longer an issue; B3 based cores now all work without any L3 cache issues, the TLB is now fixed.
With that said though, Phenom still suffers from one major flaw; clock speeds. Phenom is slower than Core 2 on a clock for clock basis, so AMD's only recourse to save this CPU is to increase speeds beyond 3GHz and sell them at a cheaper price than Intel. The 65nm Agena core is simply not able to do this, not on air, not even with water cooling. The 45nm series will hopefully solve this though. Until AMD get some speed increases on Intel, Phenom will simply be the cheaper brother to Intel Core 2 for mid to value based gaming computers. This isn't to say Phenom doesn't have a place in the market, its quad core nature and price bracket make it a perfect candidate for office environments and even Digital Home based PCs that require a bit more grunt over your average setups.
Overall, the Phenom is a processor where if you're looking to build a more budget oriented gamers system where you can spend a bit more on your graphics cards, this will make you a very happy gamer. And being a direct replacement for Athlon 64 X2 based systems that are designed to take a 65nm CPU, AMD has you covered there.