Vital Signs and Overclocking
As we've already mentioned, AMD’s new Phenom X3 8750 processor look just like all current Phenom processors. It utilizes the same packaging and pin configuration. But underneath its heat-spreader lies a CPU die that has one of its execution cores disabled.
The latest version of CPU-Z correctly identifies and outlines the Phenom X3 8750's inner workings. As you can see, the processor is based on the Toliman core with socket AM2+ packaging. It is clocked at 2.4GHz (12 x 200MHz) and our particular chip is stepping "DR-B3". As you can see, the chip also supports all of the instructions sets listed in the aptly named "instructions" section. The processor’s 1.5MB L2 cache configuration (512KB per core) is 16-way set associative, but the processor's 2MB of shared L3-cache is 32-way set associative. Please note, that because one of the execution cores is disabled on the X3 it has 512K less total L2 cache versus a Phenom X4 and 128K less L1.
We know many of you are wondering just how much clock speed headroom the Phenom X3 8750 has left under the hood, so we spent some time overclocking our chip using a Gigabyte 790FX-chipset based motherboard. Because the Phenom X3 8750 is not a "Black Edition" processor, its multiplier cannot be increased for overclocking. That meant we could only overclock by altering the HT frequency, but we still had some pretty good luck.
By altering the HT link multiplier, memory controller multiplier, and the HT link speed, and increasing the CPU voltage to 1.45v, we were able to take our Phenom X3 8750 to a cool 3.0GHz using nothing but a stock AMD PIB cooler. Higher frequencies were possible, but we couldn't keep the system 100% stable, so we backed things down to 3.0GHz. While running at that speed, we re-ran some tests and also monitored core temperatures and found that the chip never broke the 45ºC mark - at least according to AMD's Overdrive software. That is one heck of an overclock and some pretty cool temperatures for a Phenom in our opinion. If the majority of chips have the same amount of headroom as ours, we suspect these tri-cores will be mighty appealing to AMD enthusiasts on a budget.