Phenom II X3 and X4 processors
The Phenom II X3 and X4 processors
Today another five Phenom II processors are being released. AMD made a move to their all new 45nm node to manufacture the Phenom II processors. When you look at this from a distance it pretty much means that they were able to make this processor smaller compared to the last generation products. And that has advantages, often to be found in lower voltages and higher clock frequencies. Next to that, with technology updates like these they also fix the smaller bugs the last-gen products had. ANY processors has small bugs you guys.
To understand Phenom II, let's look at a last-generation Phenom (1) processor.
The widely available Phenom X4 (1) processor family on B3 stepping includes models like: 9550, 9650, 9750, 9850 and 9950 (Black Editions). AMD also introduced their triple-core processors known as Toliman which we recently reviewed. People just simply will not buy the processor based on a stigma ... three cores sound weird, plain and simple. Perhaps today's review will change a thing or two though as we will show you what this 145 USD triple core Phenom II processor will bring to the table.
The previously leading flagship processor was the Phenom X4 9950 BE which runs at a 2.6 GHz clock frequency at a full 2.0 GHz HT 3.0 speed with a 1.2-1.3V voltage and 140W TDP. This part is based on AMD's 65nm Silicon on Insulator (SOI) process technology. The voltage on the Phenom X4 9950 is listed as 1.05-1.30 Volts, and the lower specced Phenom X4 9850 and slower CPUs were at 1.2-1.3 Volts. Phenom X4 9950 features a total 2MB L2 cache; 512KB per core. This Phenom X4 can address 2MB L3 cache as buffer where it can also exchange data in-between the cores. The CPU has 450 million transistors.
And now Phenom II ....
The new more high-end product will be the Phenom II X4 series, this processor will run at up-to 3.0 GHz (currently). For example a Phenom II X4 920 will run at a respectable 2.8 GHz at a full 2.0 GHz HT 3.0 speed at a 0.875 to -1.5V voltage and has a 125W TDP (peak wattage). Today's released processors are less high end and have 95W TDP.
- AMD Phenom II X4 910
- AMD Phenom II X4 810
- AMD Phenom II X4 805
- AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
- AMD Phenom II X3 710
The Phenom II parts as explained are based on AMD's 45nm Silicon on Insulator process technology. Phenom II X4 940 and 920 for example featured a total 2MB L2 cache; 512KB per core. A big change is the increase in L3 cache. Phenom II can address 4MB to 6MB L3 cache shared among cores as buffer. So is can exchange data in-between the four logical cores.
Today's products differ a little though.
Two of these processors launched today have that smaller L3 cache opposed to previously tested Phenom II processors, and it's the X4 800 series Phenom II processors. I've created a chart with the current lineup of AMD's desktop processors let's have a look.
|Model||Frequency||L2 Cache||L3 Cache||Packaging||TDP||Technology|
|940||3.0 GHz||2MB||6MB||AM2+||125W||45nm SOI|
|920||2.8 GHz||2MB||6MB||AM2+||125W||45nm SOI|
|910||2.6 GHz||2MB||6MB||AM3||95W||45nm SOI|
|810||2.6 GHz||2MB||4MB||AM3||95W||45nm SOI|
|805||2.5 GHz||2MB||4MB||AM3||95W||45nm SOI|
|720||2.8 GHz||1,5MB||6MB||AM3||95W||45nm SOI|
|710||2.6 GHz||1,5MB||6MB||AM3||95W||45nm SOI|
|9950||2.6 GHz||2MB||2MB||AM2+||125W||65nm SOI|
|9850||2.5 GHz||2MB||2MB||AM2+||125W||65nm SOI|
|9750||2.4 GHz||2MB||2MB||AM2+||95W||65nm SOI|
|9650||2.3 GHz||2MB||2MB||AM2+||95W||65nm SOI|
|9350e||2.0 GHz||2MB||2MB||AM2+||65W||65nm SOI|
|9150e||1.8 GHz||2MB||2MB||AM2+||65W||65nm SOI|
|7750||2.7 GHz||1MB||2MB||AM2+||95W||65nm SOI|
|7550||2.5 GHz||1MB||2MB||AM2+||95W||65nm SOI|
|6000||3.1 GHz||1MB||N/A||AM2||89W||65nm SOI|
|5800||3.0 GHz||1MB||N/A||AM2||89W||65nm SOI|
|5600||2.9 GHz||1MB||N/A||AM2||65W||65nm SOI|
|5400||2.8 GHz||1MB||N/A||AM2||65W||65nm SOI|
|5200||2.7 GHz||1MB||N/A||AM2||65W||65nm SOI|
Small side note, of course there is also level 1 cache which is 128KB x the number of embedded CPU cores (64KB Instruction + 64KB data cache for each core).
So we spot two processors with an L3 cache reduction of 2MB, an interesting move really, we'll be looking at a series 800 processor today (AMD Phenom II X4 810) and see if that reduced cache size will have a big effect on performance. This is a full-fetched quad core processor at a very aggressive introduction price of 175 USD. And just to make a statement, it's faster than the adored Q6600 processor from Intel.
The second processor we'll test is a triple core Phenom II. It's called the AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition and if you compare a little bit, you'll notice that this is in fact the Phenom II X4 920 processor, yet with one of the four processor cores disabled. This processor my fellow geeks .. will cost merely 145 USD at launch and is very impressive price performance wise.
Let's run through some primary Phenom II advantages.
- Much higher clock frequencies. 3.0 GHz plus a lot of tweaking headroom (we reached 3.8 GHz stable).
- Significant cache changes - 6 or 8 MB total for L2 + L3.
- DDR2 and DDR3 compatibility. Though we are testing on a DDR2 platform. Expect 790 chipset based motherboards soon that will allow DDR3 memory. Which again can boost performance from 5 to 10%.
- Clock Multiplier Control on AMD Phenom II Black Edition Processors. Processors with Clock Multiplier Control unlock system clock multipliers on motherboards supporting this feature. Tune performance with clock multiplier control on motherboards that support customized processor settings.