The first reviews of AMD's triple-core Phenom X3 8000 series processors arrived today. Lets take a look at a couple reviews to see if this new chip makes AMD a bit more competitive. AnandTech for instance writes the triple-core Phenom is a quick and dirty solution to make the Phenom compete in the dual-core space:
AMD doesn't have the resources to spin a dual-core Phenom die, so what better way of repurposing the quad-core die (especially if one core is defective) than to make a Phenom chip with less than four cores. Sure it's not the most efficient way to manufacture, but AMD doesn't have the luxury of producing a number of different Phenom die at this point. The triple-core Phenom strategy makes perfect sense if you're AMD, the question is: does it make sense if you're an end user?
Hot Hardware says they were a bit sceptical about the performance of a non-symmetrical multi-core processor but they found out it performs exactly as it should. The reviewer says the chips are priced too close to similarly clocked quad-core Phenom processors but he do thinks the Phenom X3 series offers good value and makes the Phenom platform more competitive than it was a couple of weeks ago.
As you can see, AMD is pricing the X3 8750 and its lower clocked siblings at $195 and below in lots of 1000. That makes the chip we tested here today about $5 cheaper than the lower-clocked, 2.2GHz quad-core Phenom X4 9550, $20 cheaper than the similarly clocked Phenom X4 9750, and about $30 more expensive than AMD's fastest dual-core chip, the Athlon 64 X2 6400+. You'd expect the Phenom X3 8750 to be more affordable than AMD's current quad-core chips, but the prices are so close at the moment, there's no reason not to spend the extra 20 bucks for the extra core offered by the 9750 in our opinion, provided you've got a motherboard that can handle its 125W TDP. In light of Intel's current offerings, the Phenom X3 8750 is about $30 and $95 less expensive than the Core 2 Quad Q6600 and Q9300, respectively, and right on par with the Core 2 Duo E6850 or E8400. So again, if you've got the budget, the additional investment required for a quad-core chip makes sense considering how much faster they are with the right application workload.
At under $200 though, we think the Phenom X3 8750 could appeal to two completely different audiences, and for two totally different reasons. In the mainstream space, the Phenom X3 8750 could easily be used in a budget PC when paired with an AMD 780G-based motherboard. In that usage model, you could have an AMD triple-core with arguably the best IGP available to-date, versus an Intel dual-core with an inferior IGP. If you're planning to build a PC and use integrated graphics, the Phenom X3s and 780G make a great combo.
The conclusions over at PC Perspective are pretty similar, they write the Phenom X3 series adds some performance in the sub-$200 segment.
AMD's new triple-core Phenom X3 8x50-series of processors isn't a slam dunk in performance or value compared to existing AMD parts but they do add a new twist to the constantly raging budget computer battle. The X3 line can add some performance to a sub-$200 processor purchase while at the same time saving AMD from losing revenue on lost parts by salvaging some quad-core failures at the fab; and we all know they need that. If you are on the hunt for a low-cost computer then you should evaluate your own usage habits and decide how you value 200 MHz in clock speed compared to an extra core of processing and make the leap from there. If you are comfortable with overclocking as well then the X3 8750 might offer you even more value for your buck with some simple BIOS adjustments. For now, I am pleasantly surprised at how well the Phenom X3 8750 is presented even as I acknowledge that it isn't a product that will find its way into everyone's heart.