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

Our Summary & Conclusion

Performance Summary: The new quad-core AMD Athlon II X4 processors performed very well, especially given their relatively low price points. Despite its lack of L3 cache, the new Propus core used in the Athlon II X4s perform extremely well compared to their full-fledged Deneb-based siblings. Comparatively, the new Athlon II X4 processors are also very competitive with Intel's low-end quad-core offerings. However, gaming performance suffered due to the lack of L3 cache. Overall though, the Athlon II X4 processors are surprisingly good performers.

It's often hard to get excited about low-end and mainstream hardware. While they can offer good value for the dollar, they don't often deliver much to get excited about. However, AMD's new quad-core Athlon II X4 processors are something we can definitely get excited about.

While quad-core processors have been around in the consumer space for several years now and they've gotten progressively cheaper, they have yet to hit the sub-$100 price range. Until now, that is. However, as we saw in our benchmarks, AMD didn't just deliver on price, they also managed to produce quite a competitive product that was able to keep up with more expensive processors like Intel's Q8200 and AMD's own Phenom IIs. 

While the new quad-core Athlon IIs are essentially just cut-down Phenom IIs, they don't suffer too much from having all of their L3 cache removed. For general usage scenarios, the Athlon II X4 processors compared well to their fully endowed Phenom II stablemates. The only area where the lack of L3 cache was especially noticeable was with games like Crysis which make heavy use of cache memory. However, for casual or non-gamers, the Athlon II X4s will definitely be a good pick. They might even be a hit with the overclocking crowd, thanks to their low price and decent overclocking performance. With simple air cooling and no voltage adjustments, we were able to boost the $99 2.6GHz 620 up to a healthy 3.45GHz.

The new quad-core Athlon IIs complete AMD's mainstream desktop platform. Partnered with the excellent AMD 785G chipset, AMD's new Athlon II X4 quad-cores provide a feature-packed platform at a very low price. While there may be cheaper dual-core solutions out there, a quad-core for a few more bucks will be hard to pass up. We think the new Athlon II X4's are an excellent value and they will be a great pick for typical productivity and internet builds, as well as light multimedia duty.


  • Cheap Quad-Cores
  • Excellent Value
  • Decent Overclocking
  • Fair performance


  • Low Cache Makes For Poor Gaming Performance


Tags:  AMD, CPU, processor, Athlon, AM3, AM2

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