When originally released, Phenom had a nick name of the black death. The TLB bug with the L3 cache caused serious stability and reliability problems and the only work around was to disable the L3 cache in the BIOS, removing any performance benefits the Phenom processor had over the Athlon X2 line. This, however, has thankfully now changed. BE stepping Phenoms removed this problem and since then a second generation Phenom II has emerged, which is one of the most impressive processors we have seen.
While the fact that the on die memory is nothing new with AMD having done this since the introduction of K8, it's how AMD has gone about this with Phenom II socket AM3 processors; more specifically, its upgrade path. If you are a AM2+ motherboard owner you can run an AM3 based CPU. This is because AMD has managed to integrate a dual channel DDR2 and dual channel DDR3 memory controller onto a single package. Not only this, but it also stays pin compatible with AM2+ boards; a fantastic effort. However, its performance is not quite up to par with Intel's Core i7 processors; AMD is lacking a third memory channel and a few other features, but Phenom II is the perfect upgrade processor for AMD AM2+ users and new users wanting to go AM3.
Today we have on display the Black Edition 955 clocked at 3.2GHz, AMD's fastest processor to date. Let's see just how well this baby performs compared to its 810 counterpart as well as Intel's Core i7.