AMD Phenom II X4 810 and X3 720 BE Processors

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Last month, AMD launched the Phenom II X4 processor line-up, and with it ushered in the first desktop processors built using the company's 45nm process node. While the first two Phenom II processors to arrive, the 3.0GHz X4 940 and 2.8GHz 920, were clearly superior to previous Phenoms in terms of performance and power efficiency, and they remain the two most powerful processors in AMD's product stack today, they did not exploit all of the capabilities offered by their newly tweaked, and redesigned cores.

You see, the AMD Phenom II X4 940 and X4 920 were designed for the socket AM2+ platform, and as such, they supported only DDR2 memory. The latest additions to the Phenom II line-up, the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition and X4 810, however, are designed for the AM3 platform. That means these new chips can work not only in existing AM2+ motherboards with DDR2 memory, but in new AM3-based motherboards with DDR3 memory as well. The flexibility of these new socket AM3 based Phenom II processors should appeal to existing AMD system owners who may be thinking about a CPU upgrade, or potential new AMD-based system buyers who want the freedom to choose from a wide array of motherboards and memory type at multiple price points.

We've taken the new triple-core Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition and quad-core X4 810 for a spin in our lab using both socket AM2+ and socket AM3 based motherboard platforms, to give you all an idea as to how each configuration performs. Take a look at the specs below for some particulars, and then read on for the full scoop...


AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition & Phenom II X4 810

AMD Phenom II X3 / X4 Processors 
Specifications and Features

Model / Processor Frequency: AMD Phenom II Processor Model X4 810 / X3 720 Black Edition
L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (512KB total L1 per processor)
L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (2MB total L2 per X4 processor, 1.5MB per X3)
L3 Cache Size (shared): 4MB (X4 810) / 6MB (X3 720)
Memory Controller Type: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller, capable of being configured for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes
Memory Controller Frequency: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Types of Memory: Unreg. DIMMs up to PC2 8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) and PC3 1333 (DDR3-1333MHz)
HyperTransport 3.0: One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4000MHz full duplex
Total Processor Bandwidth: Up to 33.1 GB/s bandwidth
Packaging: Socket AM3 938-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA) (backward compatible with Socket AM2)
Fab location: AMD's Fab 36 wafer fabrication facilities in Dresden, Germany
Process Technology: 45nm (.045-micron) DSL Silicon on Insulator (SOI)
Approximate Transistor count: approx. ~758 million (65nm)
Approximate Die Size: 258 mm2 (45nm)
Nominal Voltage: .0875-1.425 Volts
Max Ambient Case Temp: 71 / 73 degress Celsius
Max TDP: 95 Watts
*Note: MC configurable for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes
**Note: for DDR3-1333, AM3 boards will support 1-DIMM-per-channel @ 1333MHz


Although the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition and X4 810 are new additions to AMD's processor line-up, they are part of what AMD has labeled the "Dragon Platform".  We have talked about the individual elements of the Dragon platform in a few previous articles here on HotHardware before, so we won't do the same again here. We will, however, recommend taking a look at a few recent articles to get familiar with some of the underlying technologies and components that partially comprise the Dragon platform.

The Enter the Dragon: AMD Phenom II X4 940 article listed above talks about the changes brought forth by AMD's 45nm Phenom II processors.  And the various 7-series chipset, Phenom and Athlon processor, and Spider platform related articles cover the remainder of the platform--with the exception of the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition and X4 810 that is, which we'll be showing you next.
 

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AMD has been proven by Anandtech to run video games as well as or better than C2Q and according to them the game flows much smoother because of the onboard memory controller. Who can afford i7? There's great value in the new Phenom II's and the X4 955 will be out later this month which has been commonly shown to run over 4 GHz with low voltage and air cooling. Personally, I'd love to have one but their going to debute at over $300. Broken Heart

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totally agree. An FX variant is what AMD needs to throw out next. I think if they could get an FX version out that came close to comparing to an i7 920 for around the same price they could get a huge share back.

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FX clocked at 3.6 GHz with some special feature versus the other Phenom II's.

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The X3-720 is a good CPU. I unlocked the 'hidden' fourth core and OC'd mine to 3.2 on air. With DDR-3 RAM in it, it's playing all of my shooters on high settings without problems @1680X1050 resolution.

So with the right motherboard, you get an extra core if you get lucky enough. Even with just three of them, it's a solid performer too.

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