AMD Athlon II X4 Debut: Enter The $99 Quad-Core

0 thumbs up

AMD has been attacking the mainstream PC segment lately with a slew of modestly priced processors and chipsets. The attack started with the new Athlon II X2 value processors back in June, which were a much needed replacement for the out-dated Athlon X2 series. Then a few weeks later, AMD released their new mainstream chipset, the 785G, which we found to be an excellent complement to the new Athlon II's. Today AMD is adding the final piece to their new mainstream desktop platform with the release of a line-up of value-priced quad-cores; the Athlon II X4 series.

At first the announcement of Athlon II X4s doesn't seem too interesting. Especially since they have been rumored for some time and it wasn't much of a stretch to imagine that AMD would get around to releasing quad-core Athlon II processors eventually. Not to mention the Athlon IIs are in many ways just Phenom IIs with the L3 cache removed, so there isn't a ton of brand new tech under the hood to ogle at. However, things get a lot more interesting when you hear the list price.

Consider for a moment the prospect of full, native quad-core capabilities at a palatable mainstream price normally associated with dual-cores. Pleasant thought, isn't it? Well now AMD is making it a reality. The new Athlon II X4s will start at just $99, making them the cheapest quad-core processors on the market. A quad-core with a two digit price tag, interested yet?



AMD Athlon II Processors

AMD Athlon II X4 Processors
Specifications & Features
   Athlon II X2
 Athlon II X4
Athlon II X4
Model
Core Frequency
HyperTransport 3.0 Technology Link
Clock Multiplier
TDP (Thermal Design Power)
Number of CPU Cores
L1 Cache
L2 Cache
L3 Cache
Core Voltage (VID)
Manufacturing Process
Total Die Size
Packaging
Socket Compatibility
Memory Type
AMD PowerNow! Technology
MSRP
250
3.00 GHz
4000 GT/s
8.5x
65W
2
256KB (2 x 128K)
2MB (2 x 1MB)
0MB
0.85-1.425V
45nm
117.5mm²
AM3 938-pin
AM2+, AM3
DDR2, DDR3
3.0
$76
630
2.80 GHz
4000 GT/s
8x
95W
4
512KB (4x 128KB)
2MB (4 x 512MB)
0MB
0.85-1.425V
45nm
169mm²
AM3 938-pin
AM2+, AM3
DDR2, DDR3
3.0
$122
620
2.60 GHz
4000 GT/s
7x
95W
4
512KB (4x 128KB)
2MB (4 x 512MB)
0MB
0.85-1.425V
45nm
169mm²
AM3 938-pin
AM2+, AM3
DDR2, DDR3
3.0
$99


AMD is making two models available immediately for the Athlon II X4 launch, the 2.6GHz 620 and the 2.8GHz 630. The higher clocked Athlon II X4 630 will have an initial MSRP of $122 while the Athlon II X4 620 will come in just under the magic $100 price point, at $99. This puts them in direct price competition with Intel's high-end dual-cores, low-end quad-cores, and even AMD's own Phenom II X3 triple-cores.

While the new Athlon II X4 620 undercuts every currently available quad and triple core processor on the market in cost, the 630 will be butting heads with the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 and the Phenom II X3 720. This makes for some interesting benchmark match-ups as you'll see in the coming pages. If the new Athlon II X4 processors can stand up against Intel's cheapest quad, the Q8200, AMD could have a winner on its hands.

   

AMD Athlon II X4 front & back

The Athlon II X4s are based on the new Propus processor die which differs in a several ways from the Deneb dies used in existing Phenom IIs. However, the new Propus die is still very similar to Deneb in most respects. We've covered the details of Phenom II processors and supporting chipsets a number of times in the past, so we won't do the same again here. We would, however, recommend taking a look at a few of our previous articles if you'd like a refresher on all of the pertinent details regarding the Phenom II. Here is a list of recommended reading:

The Athlon II processor series is AMD's mainstream processor offering and they are well complimented by AMD's own mainstream chipsets, the latest of which is the recently released 785G. We will be pairing up the new Athlon II X4s with the 785G chipset in our benchmarks, so be sure to check out our AMD 785G chipset review if you'd like a refresher.

Article Index:

0
+ -

It seems good for the price point, but I'm really not sure this is the best idea for AMD.  With the introduction of the i5 and soon i3, AMD has been forced to put virtually its entire line (save the 965) into the sub $200 market.  Now they are adding even more to a clustered $90-$140 range.  Now you have a ton of choices for AMD in that range, but is that a good thing?  Surely they can't sell a ton of everything.

Dual core: $92 3.0GHz 545 or $102 3.1GHz Unlocked 550.  Both have L3 so they will outperform the Athlon II X4 per MHz per core (but they only have two cores).  For people who still feel Dual Core is plenty of performance, they will head this way.

Triple core: $119 2.8GHz Unlocked 720.  Again, it outperforms the Athlon II per core because of L3.  Most gamers will choose this because few games take advantage of 4 cores (but 3 is becoming more common).

Then there's these new quad cores.  For people on a budget, yes they have a purpose.  If your programs do take advantage of all 4 cores, like in some of these tests, we can see that these beat the X3 720.  So if you can only spend ~$110 but want 4-core utilization then these are key.  But I'm not sure how many people do want all 4 cores and don't want to spend $169 for the 945.  I also suspect that AMD will have to lower prices of the higher end parts even more because of Intel, and once a 945 is even lower then it's gonna be even more attractive.

I built someone a Phenom II X4 810 system a month ago.  That has 2.6GHz and 4MB of L3 (most Ph II have 6MB L3) and was $146 at that time.  Because he doesn't overclock, I might have recommended the Athlon 630 instead.  Save $20+ and the performance would probably be only a bit slower since the 820 doesn't have as much L3.  These now replace the 810 as the cheapest Quads, so they have a use.  But only if you think 3 cores are not enough.

0
+ -

Saving for a pair of 965's as nothing else will do for me.

They will replace a pair of 940's that I use now.

In 6 or 8 months I'll do it again.

That's what we're supposed to do,..right?

0
+ -

If I was seriously looking at these two inexpensive AMD quad-cores, I think I would instead purchase the Phenom II X3 920. Available HERE for only $119, that thing is an awesome overclock monster! AMDCrankItUp, our resident overclock guru, will verify this for me, I am sure.

0
+ -

Yeah that's the big question I had when I first saw this. If it was unlocked like the Phenom II X3 920 I would go for this, but I think the unlock would help a lot with a cheap build where you are not going to have the best motherboard.

Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: