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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Phenom 9600 Quad-Core Black Edition Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 125% 57%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 203% 111%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 118% 52%
Watch Dogs Legion 203% 111%
FIFA 21 111% 47%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 155% 78%
Godfall 335% 203%
Grand Theft Auto VI 270% 158%
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands 250% 144%
Genshin Impact 71% 19%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz is massively better than the AMD Phenom 9600 Quad-Core Black Edition when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.

The Core 2 Quad was released less than a year after the Phenom 9600 Quad-Core, and so they are likely to have similar levels of support, and similarly optimized performance when running the latest games.

The Phenom 9600 Quad-Core and the Core 2 Quad both have 4 cores, which is not likely to be a limiting factor for gaming.

Both the AMD Phenom 9600 Quad-Core Black Edition and the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz have the same number of threads. Both CPUs have one thread per physical core.

Multiple threads are useful for improving the performance of multi-threaded applications. Additional cores and their accompanying thread will always be beneficial for multi-threaded applications. Hyperthreading will be beneficial for applications optimized for it, but it may slow others down. For games, the number of threads is largely irrelevant, as long as you have at least 2 cores (preferably 4), and hyperthreading can sometimes even hit performance.

More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.

The Phenom 9600 Quad-Core and Core 2 Quad are not from the same family of CPUs, so their clock speeds are by no means directly comparable. Bear in mind, then, that while the Core 2 Quad has a 0.7 GHz faster frequency, this is not always an indicator that it will be superior in performance, despite frequency being crucial when trying to avoid GPU bottlenecking. In this case, however, the difference is probably a good indicator that the is superior.

Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.

The Core 2 Quad has a 10240 KB bigger L2 cache than the Phenom 9600 Quad-Core, and although the Core 2 Quad does not appear to have an L3 cache, its larger L2 cache means that it wins out in this area.

The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.

The Core 2 Quad has a 30 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Phenom 9600 Quad-Core, and was created with a 20 nm smaller manufacturing technology. What this means is the Core 2 Quad will consume significantly less power and consequently produce less heat, enabling more prolonged computational tasks with fewer adverse effects. This will lower your yearly electricity bill significantly, as well as prevent you from having to invest in extra cooling mechanisms (unless you overclock).

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameAgenaYorkfield
MoBo SocketSocket AM2+LGA 775/ Socket T
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date27 Mar 200810 Aug 2008
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores4vs4
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed2.3 GHzvs3 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs-
System Bus -vs1333 MHz
Max TDP125 Wvs95 W
Lithography65 nmvs45 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature70°Cvs71°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size512 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size2048 KBvs12288 KB
L2 Cache Speed-vs-
L3 Cache Size2 MBvs-
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

Graphics
Base GPU Frequency-vs-
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs-
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size-vs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewPhenom 9600 Quad-Core Black Edition is a performance processor based on the 65nm, K10 architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 2.3GHz and 2MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated and the processor has unlocked multiplier, meaning it can be overclocked easily.

The processor DOES NOT integrate any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 125W.

It offers average performance. This means it will become a bottleneck in some demanding applications.
Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz is a high-end Processor based on the 45nm Core micro-architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 3.0Hz and 12MB of L2 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated.

The processor DOES NOT integrate any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 95W.

It is a powerful processor whose performance is good. It's thus capable of running most applications smoothly without any problem.