The new Phenom on the block
Phenom II 955 Black Edition is AMD's newest processor on the block. It is based around the same K10 architecture that all the other Phenom processors are based on. Using the 45nm wafer design, AMD is able to keep the TDP at 125watts for this processor. High, yes, but still below the 130watt limit Intel uses for its 975 Core i7. There are no changes to the architecture or cache levels and the quad core design is kept with a total of 2MB L2 cache and a 6MB shared L3 cache. The major change in the Black Edition is increasing the Northbridge clock from 1.8GHz to 2GHz compared to the 940 Black Edition.
With the BE label comes one major feature that AMD is still proud to support and that is a fully unlocked multiplier set. Like the Extreme Edition Intel processors, AMD allows you to change your CPU multiplier up or down on the Black Edition processors to allow for a much easier overclock. AMD processors are very touchy when it comes to overclocking the FSB, but clocking the multiplier keeps all the buses in check and only CPU voltages are needed to be raised, keeping things a lot simpler.
AMD packages the latest processor in the same 940 pin AM3 socket which makes it fully backwards compatible with the AM2+ motherboards. Something we would like to see AMD finally do is go pin-less like Intel. It's a lot easier to replace a board than a CPU if a pin gets bent.
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