Review Update #212/18/2009 11:09:57 AM

Pros: Just another update to my previous reviews (2) of this processor. I have changed the motherboard bios from the 1903 version back to the 1604 version as I found out I was having a few compatibility issues since the 1903 I found out was made for the C3 stepping of this processor not the C2 stepping that I bought (what you're looking at now, C3 is not really in circulation yet). After doing so things have hit an all new level of AMAZING! With the previous bios I was able to knock the voltage down from the stock 3.2Ghz @ 1.344v to a great 3.2Ghz @ 1.200v. Now with the correct bios (1604) I can run with 100% torture tested stabilty at 3.2Ghz @ 1.168v which is simply out of this world outstanding! I'm still using air cooling with the Cooler Master V8 cooler (previous reviews were Xigmatek HDT-S1283 same fan) using a Scythe fan that I have set to extreme silence (very low air flow settings). Load temp during the torture test was only 31C!!!! Idle is roughly 27-28C.

Cons: Still no cons yet, but make certain that you have the correct motherboard bios as it can make all the difference in the world. The bios for the C3 model (version 1903) allowed me to run 3.8Ghz @ 1.424v the correct bios allows me to run 3.8Ghz @ 1.390v with complete torture test stability. I can also actually test at 4Ghz now with this bios unlike the previous bios (still air cooling).

Overall Review: The previous bios also had issue with overclocking some of my ram and would not allow more the 830Mhz out of the ram...the ram has previously seen 1100Mhz so there was a serious issue. Once I went back to the proper bios the ram hit an all new height of 1138Mhz (this is from DDR2 800Mhz ram 2.3v). My second set of ram would top out at 1221Mhz 2.3v using this processor still on the incorrect bios. I have yet to retest that ram to see if I am able to go any further. System details below... Phenom II X4 955 ATi 5770 4Gb system ram 1 Blu-Ray dvd drive 1 CD/DVD burner 6 case fans (all super silent) Cooler Master V8 w/ Scythe fan (super silent) Xigmatek HDT-S1283 (same fan as the cooler master setup) ASUS Xonar D1 sound card WD 160Gb hard drive WD 250Gb hard drive various USB devices

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Update to previous review12/3/2009 3:28:07 PM

Pros: This is an update to the previous review I posted a few days ago about the low voltage abilities of this processor. I have since knocked the voltage down again so that the system is now running 3.2Ghz @ 1.20v passing every torture tests I've thrown at it. That's an amazing achievement dropping from the stock voltage of 1.344v all the way down to 1.20v without any problems. I also decided to see if there is potential to run 4Ghz in the future and was able to boot up fine and run SuperPi 1M test sitting at 4Ghz @ 1.44v super low speed air cooling. It was not 100% stable at that voltage, but the fact that it ran at all and was able to handle some stress is very promising on such low airflow. I also tested the processor at the Phenom II X4 920 stock speed of 2.8Ghz and was able to have it stress tested perfect at 2.8Ghz @ 1.088v which is simply staggering! The previous X4 920 I was running did 2.8Ghz @ 1.216v so that is a massive drop in wattage. :)

Cons: Still no cons for the processor at this time, it's only getting better and better with time it seems. :)

Overall Review: The entire system is using only 116W total as I type this (multiple windows open) which is simply amazing power savings considering I DO NOT use Cool N Quiet or C1E power saving modes at any time. Check some processor reviews at any major review site and look at the idle and load power ratings and you'll see how amazing it is to be able to do this. Phenom II X4 955 ATi 5770 4Gb system ram 1 Blu-Ray dvd drive 1 CD/DVD burner 6 case fans (all super silent) ASUS Xonar D1 sound card WD 160Gb hard drive WD 250Gb hard drive various USB devices (always plugged in) 116W idle/writing this review (multiple windows NO drives in power saving mode) 137W playing Blu-Ray disc movie (TSCC: Season 2 Disc 3) 145W wPrime test (100% cpu test) 174W Linpack torture test (ram and cpu full stress) Hope this review helps someone on the fence about whether it's worth it or not. I recommend it 100%, all load ratings taken with Kill-a-Watt meter and NO system components in power saving modes.

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So far it's beyond my wildest dreams11/30/2009 8:33:55 PM

Pros: I've been running it all day today so far, but this is just a preliminary review as I've noticed there haven't been any recent reviews (and I forgot to review my excellent X4 920 before lol). Anyway so far it's been unbelievable and I'm working on finding the lowest stable voltage to run at stock speed. In that testing so far I'm at 3.2Ghz @ 1.232v for a QUAD CORE PROCESSOR! It's passed multiple stress tests and been running for hours at that voltage and speed. 100% load temps after an hour were only 44C and that's running my 120mm 110cfm fan at an almost passive 450-480rpm out of a possible 2000rpm+ (idle temps 31C @ 417rpm). I did a quick check to see what the stock voltage would do an was able to run SuperPi multiple times at 3.9Ghz @ 1.344v (stock voltage) and able to get 4Ghz but not stable. I knocked it down to 2 cores via the bios to check 4Ghz again and passed SuperPi multiple times so it can definitely happen still same fan speeds. Update again after a month or two

Cons: Absolutely none so far it's been nothing short of absolutely mind blowing. It's not my first Phenom II quad but it's the fastest so far and is already running at INSANELY low voltages stable. My previous quad core processor ran it's stock 2.8Ghz @ 1.21v (Phenom II X4 920) which was also awesome especially for a non black edition processor. That was able to do 372Mhz bus speed before I stopped trying to go higher, not sure what this will do as it's Black Edition (unlocked multiplier) so I won't be trying to up the bus speed much since it's almost uneccesary to do so.

Overall Review: Phenom II X4 955 ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe-Wifi (still using the SB600 amazingly well) ATi 5770 (XFX since they ran out of ASUS) ASUS Xonar D1 (amazing) 4Gb ram 2 Harddrives and more... Can't wait to see what this thing can really do once I've had it for a while.

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Truly superb image quality!9/14/2009 3:13:46 PM

Pros: I bought this lens from a local shop after much deliberation between the Nikon and Sigma offerings. All three are great lenses though I'd have to rate the Sigma lowest of the 3 choices for image quality and sharpness though it's still great. This is the first Tamron lens I've ever purchased as I normally go with Nikon or Sigma versions of everything else. I decided to give this a closer look just before I bought the Sigma online...I'm sooo glad I did. The sharpness of this lens is out of this world good and 100% even the the legendary Nikon 70-200 which just floored me even to this day. The bokeh of the lens is utterly gorgeous, and needs to be seen to be believed. The color rendition is fantastic without any processing. Color temperature comes out very nicely close to actual color in nearly any condition. You won't be in need of much post processing with this lens (a big plus to me). Contrast is also excellent across the board. And the manual focus ring....oh my that ring!

Cons: Autofocus ability is best on a pro body camera (D1,2,3 series) as the lens doesn't have any AF-S/HSM type of focus system. Speed is adequate on the above mentioned bodies as we have larger more powerful focus motors than the smaller consumer lenses. On a smaller body the focus will be that of a normal lens so keep that in mind if you wish to shoot very fast moving subjects. This is not a deal breaker for any other type of shooting such as portraits and car photography. The focus ring does not have an autofocus override ability so you cannot fine tune the focus manually if you feel it's off slightly during autofocus. Not a big con at all but some may miss that feature. Autofocus and manual focus work as normal. Filter size is 77mm which means all of your filters will cost more. Not really a con, but be aware for those who've never used a Pro level lens. No aperature ring on the lens as it's made for digital bodies not ful frame. Not a con, but please take notice. :)

Overall Review: More on that focus ring...it's a clutch type design so you push it up and it will lock into place for autofocus. The ring remains able to rotate in this position, but will not affect focus at all. Manual focus using this ring is simply marvelous, the ring is geared so smoothly you may never want to use autofocus again haha. To activate the manual focus you simply pull down on the ring and it will snap into place allowing you to focus manually. The lens is internally focus and zoomed meaning it DOES NOT change length nor rotate the front no matter what focus distance or zoom range you're using. Looking through the lens reveals a beautiful bright viewfinder view. The overall feel of the lens is very well built though the Nikon will feel a little better, but of course there is a large price difference. The lens hood does a great job and balance on a Pro body camera is perfect. Smaller cameras take notice the lens weighs 1150g/~3lbs. It's cut your eye sharp all aperatures.

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Guess they don't allow links4/23/2008 5:24:31 PM

Pros: Sorry I suppose they don't allow linking to other sites, but you can find the screenshots of my setup info and proof of the gpu clocks at TechPowerUp forums if you do a quick search on the net. It's listed in the Graphics card section on the top sticky post with "HD 3K series 3dmark06 results" on page 70 halfway down. Sorry about having jump through the hoops but if you need the proof it's right there.

Cons: None

Overall Review: Follow up to my previous review for proof of claims.

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Unbelievable!4/23/2008 10:18:23 AM

Pros: I waited a while to write this review to get my head around the card first. Well this is truly a FANTASTIC card and I'm picking up a 2nd one in short order. Run everything I throw at it perfectly except Crysis (small driver issues) but it still runs that very well too. I have mine clocked to an insane 931Mhz core 2700Mhz memory on 1.30v WITHOUT HARDWARE MODS!!!!! The card runs nice and cool and fan controls work very well as well without excessive noise depending on fan speed (80% and below). The price is also fantastic for the caliber of card.

Cons: I don't have the 2nd one yet, there are no real cons for this card istelf that I have yet. Once the drivers mature for certain product (mainly Crysis) then all will be perfect. Even that plays just fine though especially with the new 8.4 drivers and the ATi Tray Tools v1.4.7.1171 get it!

Overall Review: The highest clocks I've achieved for the card on 1.3v software only mods (no hardware mods and don't plan any) are 941Mhz Core and 2808Mhz memory! The stock voltage for the card is 1.258v so that's a very small bump which makes it even crazier. Stock voltage I achieved 891Mhz core and 2700Mhz memory. Stock cooling, no hardware is the same so...your mileage may vary ;) Here is proof, though I have a new higher score but not a gpu-z shot with it so here is 931/2700Mhz

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Best ram I've ever used4/14/2008 10:58:56 AM

Pros: Runs perfectly cool to the touch even when at 2.1v. Overclocks like MAD I'm currently running at 1000Mhz 5-5-4-15-11 2T 2.0v. It can overclock far further as I've reached 1224Mhz so far on 2.1v which is insane. I only run at 1000Mhz because that's the best compromise for everything to achieve as close to max clocks for daily use. Absolutely no regrets whatsoever, I'd buy another set if it could fit.

Cons: Not really a true "con" but it is rather tall so beware if you have a very large cpu cooler like me. I have to use the second set of slots on my board to clear the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 cooler I have.

Overall Review: ASUS M3A32-Deluxe WIFI, Phenom X4 9850BE (tested with my X4 9500 as well perfectly) @ 3Ghz stock voltage, Xigmatek HDT-S1283, GEIL Black Dragon/Evoone @ 1000Mhz, Diamond HD3870 @ 918/2800Mhz nonhardware modded! I may try a set of the low rise ram so that I can have my 3-4Gigs back as there is room for low rise ram but a very tight fit. It will still fit the ASUS ram cooler as well under the cpu cooler.

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15 hours in so far4/9/2008 10:04:13 PM

Pros: I knew this would be good but this is INSANELY good so far! It's about 15 hours into the break-in/cycling period so I haven't done any serious tweaks so far. I set my ram back at 1000Mhz, upped the multiplier from dropped the multi to 12x and HT Bus speed to 250. 3Ghz perfectly stable for the past 6 hours on stock 1.30v I'm sure it'll go higher when I get into the tuning more seriously after break-in.

Cons: It didn't come with a $235 rebate? Seriously so far there is absolutely nothing wrong with it that I've found.

Overall Review: ASUS M3A32 WIFI, 2Gigs GEIL Black Dragon/Evoone, 8800GT OC (replaced in the morning with Diamond HD3870. I don't know what the other guy was talking about but this thing runs insanely well with this board. Perhaps your settings need to be tweaked as I haven't even done any real tweaking and I'm at 3Ghz already. 45C under 100% load, 36C idle Xigmatek HDT-S1283 all air cooled.

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3/31/2008 1:55:57 PM

Pros: First off let me get this out of the way...IT'S GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!! Ok forgive me but it truly is beautiful to look at, even better than the M2N boards. Setup is extremely easy, but bios is VERY robust with features (hidden bios features exist as well for you other high tech level folks). The board runs insanely cool with the passive cooling on board and no extra fans needed. It's a very very fast board for sure so for that you will not be disappointed. The layout is quite good as well but not literally perfect. Board will run 1T ram timing!!!! Btw, it's truly gorgeous... °.°

Cons: The bios though very robust has some things labeled kinda weird, but that may be changed in a future revision and doesn't hinder in the least. Though they never said anything I do wish it had a cmos clear button on the board as well as power/reset buttons. It's not listed so it's not really a con, just a wish really. Whenever you make bios changes and save the board will shut down the whole computer and then reboot in about 2 seconds (just so you don't freak out it's normal just really weird). No real issues or worries so buy away. No sound problems either and it sounds excellent through Digital (using Coax as my Optical port is used for something else) on my home theater system.

Overall Review: I can't comment on the Wifi as I uninstalled and removed the hardware but it didn't use up any of my processor (monitored throttling) like some have reported. A wonderful piece if you're thinking about it rest assured it's more than worth the entry price. Don't mix ram speeds as it may have an issue. Had to remove OCZ XTC DDR2 800 ram from the black slots due to hardware conflict. If run by itself then it was fine so just don't mix ram speeds. Phenom9500 2.6Ghz 1.25v (has been up higher but that's 24/7) nVidia 8800GT 760/1805/2070 (soon replaced by dual 3870's) Kingston DDR2 667 ram @333Mhz 4-4-4-1T 1.96v Wester Digital 160Gig SATA 3.0 harddrive Cooler Master 650w power supply (80% efficiency model) 1 80mm side intake fan (being replaces because it's weak) 1 120mm front intake fan (soon replaced another thermaltake) 1 120mm Thermaltake rear exhaust fan (70+cfm very quiet) 1 90mm Rosewill PCI slot exhaust fan (supreme flow ~quiet)

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3/31/2008 1:32:28 PM

Pros: Despite all the criticism that's out in the internet wrongfully targeted the Phenom lineup of processors, this is a wonderful piece. With and especially without the TLB Patch enabled (you can change it) it is extremely fast and never gets overloaded. I personally have achieved very good overclocking results even though that should NOT be a requirement for a processor to be 'good'. Anything over stock is simply extra you should be happy with, that said I've got 2.72Ghz stable up from 2.2Ghz. These have to be clocked very differently (very HT and Northbridge dependant) so if you're not willing to work hard then please don't buy it. Even with the lower clock numbers it's as fast as other with higher clocks easily (including real life benchmarks, not just 3dmarks junk). Power consumption and heat are a very good levels for a 95W processor as well. Really all things considered an EXCELLENT processor. I wish these blocks were larger as I could give a proper review... :(

Cons: If you call it a con, you have to put in good old school overclocking skills to get the best out of it so novices need not apply (thus they got a bad name). The TLB Patch is automatically put on if using Vista SP1 but very simple to deactivite (takes 5 seconds literally, send me a message). You do have to realize due to the TLB issue there are lower limits than some processors but your speed will still be ridiculous. If you're not a TRULY high tech level/experienced person then honestly I'd have to say the B2 stepping Phenoms are NOT for you and you should buy an AMD X2 processor instead or perhaps an Intel if you want easy. If you you enjoy a challenge then hurry and click buy now because it is fun and far more rewarding than any other processor I've used in recent years.

Overall Review: A truly excellent product and it's insanely fast. If you're looking for something to go against the sheep and want it still to be as fast as a Q6600 (very very fast btw). Get one, turn it up to 2.6Ghz with a 2.0Ghz HT Link and Northbridge and welcome to Qspeed land because they are literally equal with only a change of .2Ghz up from the Q6600. Memory bandwidth/latency wise it's not even a contest the AMD is insanely faster than anything out there. Do some realworld benchmarks and you will see, but remember buy a processor/computer to USE/ENJOY it not to chase benchmark numbers. If you're not spending $5-10k then you don't have anything to brag about benchmark wise anyway. There will always be someone faster, build your computer for YOU.

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