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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Black Edition Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 106% 13%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 177% 18%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 169% 14%
Genshin Impact 56% 34%
eFootball PES 2021 121% 6%
Marvel's Avengers 169% 14%
Watch Dogs Legion 177% 18%
FIFA 21 93% 18%
Mafia: Definitive Edition 121% 6%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 133% 1%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz is massively better than the AMD Phenom 9850 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 i5-4690K 3.5GHz was released less than a year after the Phenom 9850 Quad-Core, and so they are likely to have similar levels of support, and similarly optimized performance when running the latest games.

The Phenom 9850 Quad-Core and the Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz both have 4 cores, which is not likely to be a limiting factor for gaming.

Both the AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Black Edition and the Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz 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 9850 Quad-Core and Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz 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 i5-4690K 3.5GHz has a 1 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 Phenom 9850 Quad-Core has a 1024 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz, but on the other hand, it is the Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz that has a 4 MB bigger L3 cache than the Phenom 9850 Quad-Core. The L3 size of the Phenom 9850 Quad-Core is probably low enough to greatly inhibit its gaming performance in comparison to the Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz.

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 i5-4690K 3.5GHz has a 37 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Phenom 9850 Quad-Core, and was created with a 43 nm smaller manufacturing technology. What this means is the Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz 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).

The Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz has an on-board GPU, which means that it will be capable of running basic graphics applications (i.e., games) without the need for a dedicated graphics card. The Phenom 9850 Quad-Core, however, does not, and you will probably have to look for a dedicated card if you wish to use it at all.

For in-depth GPU comparisons with the Intel HD Graphics 4600 Desktop, click on the following GPU overview comparison icon (visible throughout Game-Debate), and choose a GPU from the list to compare against:

On-board GPUs tend to be fairly awful in comparison to dedicated cards from the likes of AMD or Nvidia, but as they are built into the CPU, they also tend to be cheaper and require far less power to run (this makes them a good choice for laptops). We would recommend a dedicated card for running the latest games, but integrated GPUs are improving all the time and casual gamers may find less recent games perform perfectly acceptably.

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameAgenaDevils Canyon
MoBo SocketSocket AM2+LGA 1150
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date27 Mar 200802 Jun 2014
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores4vs4
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed2.5 GHzvs3.5 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs3.9 GHz
Max TDP125 Wvs88 W
Lithography65 nmvs22 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature61°Cvs73°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size512 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size2048 KBvs1024 KB
L3 Cache Size2 MBvs6 MB
Max Memory Size-vs32 GB
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 4600 Desktop
Base GPU Frequency-vs400 MHz
Max GPU Frequency-vs1250 MHz
DirectX-vs11.1
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 9850 Quad-Core Black Edition is a performance processor based on the 65nm, K10 architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 2.5GHz 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 i5-4690K 3.5GHz is a performance CPU based on the 22nm, Haswell architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 3.5GHz, which may go up to 3.9GHz and 6MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated and the processor has multiplier unlocked.

The processor integrates powerful Graphics called Intel HD Graphics 4600, with 20 Execution Units, initially clocked at 350MHz and that go up to 1200MHz, in Turbo Mode which share the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor.
Both the processor and integrated graphics have a rated board TDP of 88W.

Compared to Core i5-4670K there's an overall 3% performance boost. Its performance is exceptionally good and enough for even the most demanding applications.