At only $195, it's hard to deny that AMD's new Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition desktop chip is a bargain. Its four cores hum along at 3.7GHz, the fastest base
clock speed of any consumer CPU, and the unlocked multiplier should make it trivial for overclockers to push this beast to 4GHz and beyond
. The 980 slides right into the same price point as the previous champ, the Phenom II X4 975
, and knocks a few bucks off the former clock-frequency king. All of this seems like great news for AMD fans. Of course, if you're starting from scratch and not just looking to upgrade an aging AM3 rig, keep in mind that only $30 more scores you the mid-range
Core i5-2500K that consistently outperforms the 980, consumes less power, and also has an unlocked multiplier. Guess there's always the graphics market
if you care to see AMD being competitive. For the nitty-gritty on how its latest central processing unit stacks up, see the source links.