Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: January 26th, 2011
Later this year, AMD will be launching another two new product lines, codenamed Llano and Zambezi. Llano will use current x86 microarchitecture design combined with DirectX 11 graphics cores to provide a mainstream platform APU. With Ontario and Zacate replacing the mobility processors and Llano the desktops, this leaves no room for the Sempron and Athlon II product lines. Moving the ~300m transistor Propus core into the Phenom II alongside the ~758m Deneb quad core and ~900m Thuban hexa-cores gives more opportunities to bring returns to the bottom line, something critical to AMD's board.
AMD Leo Platform
If you're looking to upgrade your current platform, the new Phenom II X4 840 is a good choice and offers excellent value at the $100 price point. The value of the 975BE is less clear, as only $5 more gets you a Phenom II X6 1055T/1065T; in multi-threaded applications and general multi-tasking, six cores are better than four. For less threaded applications, the Turbo CORE mode will give you most of the clock speed (3.4-3.5GHz) when you need it. As an enthusiast proposition, the Black Edition holds some value, but the prospect of six cores at 4GHz rather than four is probably stronger than an adjustable multiplier. On top of which, multiplier adjusting generally isn't as satisfying as base clock overclocking, tweaking the whole platform to within an inch of its life. Depends on what kind of overclocker you are really, if you're looking for MHz, the Black Edition is your best bet.
Noctua's NH-D14 CPU Cooler
The Noctua NH-D14 took all our processors in its stride. It offers superb cooling with enough design, engineering and attention to detail to justify the high price. You'll need to have a decent sized case, and at least remove the mainboard once to install the SecuFirm mounting bracket. Currently, self-contained water cooling devices are trendy and offer similar cooling performance for similar money. The potential risk of leaks, lack of user capable maintenance and reports of requiring additional fans, spacers and mounting hardware to get the most out them mean they might be unsuitable for some.
The NH-D14 is almost as easy to work with as a standard AMD heatsink once the mounting socket is installed, offering top notch cooling capacity whilst remaining quiet with very broad platform compatibility. The fan retention mechanism is solid and secure, with no vibration thanks to both rubber mounts fitted to the fans and plastic fan inserts for the towers. The fan splitters and ultra-low noise adapters retain compatibility with PWM fan control and reporting, to keep platform monitoring processes happy.
Noctua NH-D14 4 1/2 Stars
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