AMD Socket AM3 processor review
- AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE
- AMD Phenom II X4 810
- ASUS M4A79 Deluxe motherboard
When we look at the processor side of the market, Intels strategy at this moment is not really introducing anything new for a couple of months, their attitude is very laid back and pretty much they are in the comfort zone, face it .. they have the upper hand and have been dominating the market for a good amount of time now.
AMD on the other hand is trying to get two steps forward with every single step they make, hey, you can tell this from the business strategy and the sheer amount of CPU related products they push out of the factory. Recently they stepped away from the charming first generation Phenom towards Phenom II (Deneb) architecture. It was merely four weeks ago when they released the very value rich Phenom II X4 920 and 940 processors.
AMD however has something else up their sleeves, Socket AM3 Phenom II processors. Processors that are pretty much the same as the Socket AM2+ processors, yet now with a DDR2 and DDR3 memory controller. DDR3 memory will allow the overall performance of the platform (your PC) to gain again a little in speed.
So we were a little confused when the first batch of AM3 processors arrived two weeks ago, and AMD requested to have them tested on a Socket AM2+ motherboard with DDR2 memory.
Apparently AMD wanted to have the new AM3 processors out fast, so fast that the majority of Socket AM3 motherboards have not been fully validated just yet.. The good thing here is that socket AM3 processors will work perfectly on Socket AM2+ (AMD 790 chipset based motherboards). However, we of course are bound to DDR2 memory.
But when you think about it a little more, you can understand the wide range of platform compatibility. Heck, AM3 processors work on AM2+ motherboards really well. On that other end of the scope, Socket AM2/AM2+ processors will however not work on a socket AM3 motherboard. So that is one important to know and understand fact I needed to get of my chest first as at first it even had me confused.
Today on February the 9th, AMD will introduce 5 new AMD Phenom II CPUs:
- AMD Phenom II X4 810 Available in PIB at AMD's suggested 1KU price of $175
- AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE Black Edition Available in PIB at AMD's suggested 1KU price of $145
- AMD Phenom II X3 710 Available in PIB at AMD's suggested 1KU price of $125
- AMD Phenom II X4 910 Available in tray only
- AMD Phenom II X4 805 Available in tray only
We'll be looking at two AM3 processors. We'll test them as requested by AMD on a AMD 790GX chipset DDR2 based motherboard, and check out it's full performance. Once AM3 / DDR3 memory based motherboards are validated and available (end of February) we'll of course have a look at any performance difference with DDR3 memory. Ironically a day after finishing up this review, ASUS reported to me that their DDR3 boards got out of customs and were ready to be shipped to us. So we'll look at DDR3 performance real soon as well.
For today's review, the two processors AMD submitted are the Quad-core based AMD Phenom II X4 810 processor and a new triple-core AMD Phenom II X3 720, which (and I'll try not to spoil anything) is a huge winner when we look at performance versus value. As both processors are launched at pretty spectacular prices; especially when you notice how much performance they bring to the table.
Over the next few pages we'll tell you all about these new processors, their specifications and of course will check out performance. We also have overhauled our test-software which should be pretty interesting.
Next page please.