Despite running stacks of tests and generating reams of figures and charts, the results are fairly simple to summarise. One word of explanation about our results first though: SiSoft Sandra doesn’t recognise the L3 cache in the Phenom II X4 810, although it worked properly with the X3 720 and X4 940.
Our main finding is that DDR 2 and DDR 3 deliver the same performance with Phenom II, and it doesn’t matter whether you use DDR 3 at 1333MHz or 1600MHz. If you’re running your CPU at stock speeds then DDR 3 saves some 10W, but when you overclock the CPU the difference in power draw is negligible.
Watch out, Core 2...
The key feature for performance is clock speed rather than the number of cores or the type of memory, and the X4 940 rules the roost here as it starts at 3GHz and overclocks to 3.6GHz. It costs £190 and is worth the extra £30 over the X4 810. When you overclock the two processors, the difference shrinks from 400MHz to 220MHz, which brings the new X4 810 into contention.
By contrast, the triple core X3 720 loses out in CPU-intensive benchmarks that stress all of the processor cores but is superb in the real non-threaded world. It delivers plenty of speed and overclocks to 3.5GHz, which, at £131, makes it a champ.
These new processors make AMD highly competitive against Intel's Core 2 Quad. The Q9300, for instance, retails for £171 and Phenom II gave it a good kicking. That’s a phrase your reviewer hasn’t used since the glory days of the Athlon 64.
Make no mistake about it, if you want high performance you should get a Core i7 920 and clock it to 4GHz. In the mid-range, Phenom II is taking the fight to Core 2, although another round of Intel price cuts may, once again, upset the balance.
The introduction of DDR 3 doesn’t make a fundamental difference to Phenom II, but the new Socket AM3 processors deliver plenty of bangs for your buck and put AMD right back in the game. ®
AMD Phenom II Socket AM3 processor
What's the chance of Windows multitasking properly on a quad core processor when it can't even do it properly on a single core!! Come to that, it can't even multitask properly on my dual core machine.
If I copy 20Meg files I want windows not to lock-up, is that really too much to ask?
All the AMD fanboys out there, that just like backing the underdogs, despite knowing deep down they are buying inferior product.
Bit like people buying XBox, not because it's actually any good, but because they don't want Playstation to win again due to better product, better games and a better long-term strategy.
What the hell? Where are the real world tests?
How well do they run Crysis etc?
Plus those graphs are difficult to read, there are three different tests being shown in the same graph, all bunched together with no seperator. Plus there are different devices being shown with the same colour FFS!
Plus what we are seeing at the moment with memory bandwidth is similar to what happened at the beginning of the shift to DDR2. DDR running at 500+MHz with tight timings totally kicked the arse of any DDR2 on the market. Gradually DDR2 got better, lower latencies and it took over the speed crown.
Same thing will happen with DDR3 - but the beauty of the AM3 / AM2+ scenario is that I can pop an AM3 CPU in my existing board with DDR2, and in a year or so when DDR3 is cheaper and faster I can upgrade without having to buy a new CPU.
It looks like even with DDR3 AMD can't touch an i7 for main memory bandwidth. Which may not mean all that much for most people. Maybe AMD should have a promo t-shirt: "AMD programmers do it with more math".
Ha ha ha ha, righttttt.....
If it wasn't for AMD, Intel would charge what they bloody well like. Sure Intel are on top at the moment (and have been for a while) but it wasn't that long ago when Intel were being thrashed by AMD.
Looks like I'll be sticking a Phenom II in my AM2+ board (£60 well spent if you ask me).
P.S. Yes I do also have a Core 2 Duo notebook, Pentium Dual Core desktop and I recently installed a Xeon server as it was quicker buck for buck than the Phenom X4 I was considering.