AMD Phenom X3: One too little or one too much?

CPU by massman @ 2008-05-26

The AMD Phenom X2 was announced quite some time ago but still hasn´t seen the light of day; instead we were greeted by the X3 Phenom, a new breed of processor, first in the market to offer a Triplecore solution. This CPU is priced lower than AMD´s own X4 and Intel Core 2 Duo series. In our review today we test the Phenom X3 8450 and compare it to an AMD X4 and Intel C2D.

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AMD Phenom X3 8450, test setup and methodology

Phenom X3 8450

Let's have a look at the exterior of the processor.

Madshrimps (c)
(Click to Zoom)

The chip was assembled in week 8 of 2008, which makes it a fairly new processor on the market. The X3's are basicly X4's with one core disabled, be it because it's broken or isn't capable of working at a frequency that's high enough to sell it as an X4 model.

Test setup

Madshrimps Test Setup

  • AMD Phenom X4 9850
  • Intel Core 2 Q9300
  • AMD Phenom X3 8450
  • Intel Core 2 E8200(*)
  • Cooling
  • Noctua NH-U12P
  • Stock Aluminum Intel Heatsink
  • Mainboard
  • MSI K9A2 Platinum v1
  • Asus Commando
  • Dfi LP UT P35-T2R(*²)
  • Memory 2 * 1GB TeamGroup PC6400
  • Sparkle Calibre 8600GT 512MB (drivers FW 169.21)
  • Tagan 480W PSU
  • Western Digital 320Gb SATA HDD
  • Windows XP SP3

  • (*): We downclocked our E8500 to run at stock E8200 speeds for easier comparison.
    (*²): At the moment of testing, our Commando board was no longer available, so we used a P35 instead.


    The following benchmarks were used:

  • Lavalys Everest: Memory latency
  • SuperPi 1M
  • Wprime 32M
  • Wprime 1024M

  • PCMark05
  • TechArp X264 HD benchmark
  • Cinebench 10

  • 3DMark2001SE
  • 3DMark06
  • Prey
  • Crysis

    We ran the CPU at stock settings and overclocked at 250HTT with the standard multiplier applied, which is 10,5x. The memory settings were identical to those we've used in the quadcore article, so:

  • Stock at 200HTT: 533MHz 4-6-6-22(*) - Unganged
  • Overclocked to 250HTT: 500MHz 4-4-4-10 - Unganged

    Both ganged and unganged are dual channel memory settings, but in ganged mode the memory is seen as a 1x128bit block and in unganged, the memory is seen as a 2x64bit block. Ganged has more synthetical bandwidth, unganged is overall faster.

    Madshrimps (c)
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