With a name like Phenom II we were kind of hoping to see something major in change from what AMD calls its improvements to the K10 architecture. Now, we aren't scoffing at the increase in L3 cache from 2MB to 6MB, or the new fabrication process, but AMD really hasn't done any major upgrades to the Phenom to classify it as a new processor. Phenom II is simply what we would call moving from Conroe to Penryn; a new fab and a few tweaks, but no new architecture.
Now, we have a few gripes on the CPU, but we'll first touch on the pluses. The reduction in fabrication size from 65nm to 45nm has resulted in AMD cutting power requirements for the latest batch of Phenom II processors; this makes them ideal for media servers and mid range gaming platforms.
The next big thing is price. AMD hasn't been able to beat Intel in the performance field, so to keep people coming back to AMD processors, the price of them continues to be slashed. To this end, AMD's top line processors are extremely cheap. Phenom II is no different and while not as cheap as chips, so the saying goes, AMD's Phenom II clocked at 3GHz comes in well below Intel's extremely high asking price for the Core 2 Quad 9770 processor.
The bottom line here for us is that AMD still hasn't given Intel a real run for their money. But AMD won't be fading away into the dark anytime soon and hopefully it won't take too long to gain the upper hand.