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I don't wish to go into much detail in regards to the specifications - except that its a Quad Core chip running at a combined 3.2GHz. What this essentially means is that each core runs independently at their respective speeds. And although it is listed as Level 3 6MB cache, the total available is 8mb.
In terms of performance this gives many i7 counterparts a good fight especially when it comes to games. I have been using this on my main rig after having secured it from Scan for only £105. When it comes to gaming you can save rather a substantial amount by going the AMD Phenom II route instead of the Intel i7. Not only do you make a saving of around £60-£80 for the CPU, you can also save quite a bit on the motherboard, thus allowing you to obtain a better graphics card.
Games that are CPU bottlenecked (dependent primarily on the CPU) such as Half Life 2 based games are a breeze to run - you will hit the maximum of 200fps just with the CPU alone. But what about real life applications? Well it loads Windows 7 flawlessly and unless you get a timer out monitoring the nth digit, you won't notice any difference between the 955BE and an i7 counterpart.
Where you may notice slight performance hits is compression and encoding, but we are basically talking about a 10% hit in performance but consider that you save more than 10%.
My major gripe with the CPU is that it feels sounds like a jet engine about to take off any time and feels like a frying pan to touch - I wouldn't recommend touching it while its running! The stock AMD cooler is inadequate and can be very noisy as it hits the max RPM when its under heavy load - gaming. This is a major problem but one that can be addressed easily by buying a case with good airflow and also installing a heatsink and fan such as Coolermaster CX or Thermaltake or any other copper/alluminium heatsinks with fans.
Bottom line - if you are into gaming then this CPU performs as well as i7 chips and is a lot cheaper.
You can take performance over the top with AMD Phenom II processors. Second generation AMD Phenom II processors feature a refined architecture, the award-winning innovation of AMD64 technology with direct connect architecture, and 45nm technology for maximum performance headroom.
You can get the tune performance with the superior headroom of AMD Phenom II processors. Combined with ATI Radeon HD graphics cards, they deliver extreme visual performance and the ability to control and monitor system functions.
Build a total system tuned for performance, beginning with an all-AMD solution including AMD Phenom II processors, AMD chipsets, and ATI Radeon HD graphics with CrossFireX technology for multi-GPU support. Experience the power of gaming beyond high definition.