New Phenoms face compatibility woes with 780G boards

— 9:06 AM on April 29, 2008

If you're planning to pair one of AMD's new Phenom processors with a low-end motherboard, you may want to read this. CNet says it has received confirmation from AMD that Phenom X4 9750 and Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition chips have compatibility problems with motherboards based on AMD's new 780G integrated graphics chipset. Surprisingly, however, AMD seems to lay the blame on users and system builders for the snag.

"What people have done, mistakenly, is paired a 780G (chipset-based) motherboard with the higher frequency Phenom--the 125-watt Phenom," CNet quotes AMD spokesman Jake Whitman as saying. "They've taken an enthusiast-class quad-core part and paired it with a mainstream motherboard . . . And not all motherboard manufacturers have tweaked their boards to support a 125-watt TDP." According to Whitman, folks should pair 9750 and 9850 Phenoms with motherboards based on the high-end 790FX chipset. "We've never made claims that 780G motherboards are enthusiast-class motherboards."

Whitman's explanation works in theory, but there's a problem. AMD's Phenom X4 9750 costs $215 and the Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition is priced at $235, which isn't quite high-end enthusiast territory—at least not when Intel has quad-core offerings priced well over the $1,000 mark. Meanwhile, the cheapest 790FX-based motherboard on Newegg is pegged at $150, which looks high enough to push at least some users to hunt for alternatives in 780G territory.

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