AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition review

Can a high performance dual-core processor cut it in this modern multi-core world?

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

Just about makes sense for gamers on a tight budget. Not a great all rounder.

Product features

  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification


  • Good gaming grunt for the money
  • Overclocks well


  • Weak multi-threading throughput
  • Core unlocking is unreliable

You can now buy PC processors with as many as six cores and support for up to 12 software threads in parallel. With that in mind, why would anyone want the dual-core AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition?

Actually, the theory behind this chip makes reasonable sense. Certain types of software benefit more from high clockspeeds and a big dollop of cache memory than lots of processor cores. Games are one good example. The 550 runs at a healthy 3.1GHz lick and packs 6MB of L3 cache memory. It's also a Black Edition processor and that usually means easy access to even higher clocks. Why pay more for multi-core?

At under £80 the AMD Phenom II X4 550 is certainly affordable. All it needs to do is deliver the goods according to its narrow remit compared to the likes of AMD's Athlon II X4 620, Athlon II X3 435 and perhaps the Phenom II X3 720.

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Thermal Design Power80 W
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Product FamilyPhenom II X2
L3 Cache6 MB
Clock Speed3.10 GHz
Processor SocketSocket AM3 PGA-941
Brand NameAMD
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification70°C
L2 Cache1 MB
ManufacturerAdvanced Micro Devices, Inc
Product Model550
Product NamePhenom II X2 Dual-core 550 3.1GHz Processor
Package TypeRetail
Product LinePhenom II X2
Manufacturer Part NumberHDX550WFGMBOX
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Live your life in HD. AMD Phenom II is for high definition entertainment, gaming, creativity, and beyond. With AMD Phenom II processors as the foundation, you'll enjoy a new level of responsiveness and visual intensity. AMD puts high definition computing within everyone's reach. Make a choice you can feel good about. AMD Phenom II processors were designed with energy efficiency in mind. Capitalizing on AMD's leadership in energy efficiency, they incorporate all of the latest technology that gives you performance when you need it and save power when you don't.

Packaged Quantity1
Process Technology45 nm