Skip to navigation

AMD Phenom X3 review

Verdict

A great new mid-range CPU - and the price is right too.

Review Date: 30 Apr 2008

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: (exc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

After impressing us with its new quad-core Phenom X4 processors earlier this month, AMD has followed up by finally delivering the industry's first triple-core x86 processors, which it originally promised last September .

The three new chips are, logically enough, designated the Phenom X3 series. They're based on the same internal design as the X4 parts, with the same cache arrangements (512KB L2 cache per core, plus 2MB shared L3 cache) and the same 3.6GHz effective HyperTransport. The only major difference is that one of the cores is completely disabled. AMD calls this variant the Toliman core.

The low-end part - the X3 8450 - is the slowest Phenom yet, at 2.1GHz, with the mid-range X3 8650 and top end 2.4GHz X3 8750 clocked at 2.3GHz and 2.4GHz respectively. Oddly, there's no 2.2GHz part, though there's clearly a space for it in the line-up. Despite having one core fewer, the X3s have the same 95W TDP as most X4s.

We've noted before that Windows applications typically derive only a small benefit from extra cores. It's no surprise, therefore, that the triple-core Phenoms aren't far behind the quad-cores in our real-world benchmarks, with the three new parts scoring 1.25, 1.35 and 1.40 at their respective stock speeds.

That's a difference of only around 7% between identically-clocked X3 and X4 parts, and makes the X3 8750 slightly faster, overall, than the X4 9550, which scored 1.39.

As our graph shows, the Phenom X3 doesn't break new ground in terms of bang-per-buck: AMD's high-end Athlon X2s already offer similar performance at a similar price. But the Phenom brings a lower TDP to the table (the fastest Athlons draw 125W), plus an extra core, which can only help as multithreading becomes more pervasive. And, despite these improvements, Phenoms are currently slightly cheaper than comparable Athlons.

So while the X3 may not be as revolutionary as the X4, it's a wholly positive evolutionary step. If you're looking for a capable processor that doesn't cost the earth, it's an excellent choice.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
Be the first to comment this article

You need to Login or Register to comment.

(optional)

Latest Category Reviews
AMD Kaveri review

AMD Kaveri

Category: Processors
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £0
AMD Richland review

AMD Richland

Category: Processors
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £115
Intel Haswell review

Intel Haswell

Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £115
AMD Trinity review

AMD Trinity

Category: Processors
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £91
AMD A8-3870K review

AMD A8-3870K

Category: Processors
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £79
Compare reviews: Processors

advertisement

Latest News Stories Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Features
Latest Real World Computing

advertisement

Sponsored Links
 

 
SEARCH
Loading
WEB ID
SIGN UP

Your email:

Your password:

remember me

advertisement


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010
 
 

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from www.pcpro.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.pcpro.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.