AMD Phenom II Socket AM3 performance overview

Posted on Monday, Feb 09 2009 @ 19:45 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Now that AMD has introduced its first Phenom II processors with DDR3 we're going to take a quick look at the performance of these chips by checking out three reviews from major tech sites.

First up is AnandTech, they conclude AMD doesn't really need DDR3. Anand says the performance benefits aren't worth the extra cost of DDR3 memory and advises to stick with DDR2 if you're building a new system today. The new Phenom II processors are competitive to Intel's offerings, but Anand notes long term AMD's current strategy can't work.
These new CPUs from AMD are good overclockers, good performers and they don't have any real drawbacks unlike their predecessors. The most interesting CPU is the Phenom II X3 720; at $145 its only Intel competitors are the Core 2 Duo E7500 and the Core 2 Duo E8400, both of which are dual-core CPUs. The extra core in the 720 can provide a clear advantage in well threaded workloads, not to mention that it's got 1.5MB of L2 cache and 6MB of L3 cache at its disposal. In applications where the third core isn't very useful then the 720 loses its performance advantage, which I suspect will be the majority of mainstream workloads.
HardOCP writes they like the new Phenom II lineup, and just like AnandTech they found the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition to be a great CPU for enthusiasts on a budget.
AMD has come to the enthusiast today with a totally different strategy and quite frankly I like it. Certainly DDR3 lets a bit more of the Phenom II shine than it does when hobbled with DDR2. We have seen that and know it to be the case. AMD has come to us today with a $145 unlocked CPU. That kicks just kicks ass. This CPU can use DDR2-1066 or DDR-1333 (or OC to DDR3-1600 like we have here today.) The Phenom II is still no Core 2 killer although we have seen with DDR3 that it can be very competitive. We have taken it today and overclocked our $145 CPU by 800MHz with stability on a motherboard that sells for around the $200 mark ($191 is the low I found). While the Phenom II 940 street price has fallen considerably in the last couple of weeks, I still find myself really liking this X3 720 from an enthusiast gaming perspective.
Another review can be foun dat Hexus, they report the new lineup is sound enough to trouble Intel's high-end dual-core and low-to-mid-range quad-core processors:
Phenom II technology is sound enough to trouble Intel's high-end dual-core and low-to-mid-range quad-core chips, and we saw that demonstrated with Phenom II X4 920 and 940. However, the one major obstacle of this launch, concering the quad-core chips, lies with clock-speeds. AMD is bringing a newer technology into place - DDR2/3 memory-controller - but actively hamstringing it by releasing the fastest quad-core at just 2.6GHz - slower than either presently-available Phenom II. What's more, AMD's also reduced the cache on the retail part, and we'd rather pay an extra £15 and by the higher-clocked, full-cache X4 920 instead.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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