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AMD Athlon II X4 620 Processor

Quad-core for the masses.

September 26, 2009



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Along with Phenom II that was rolled out this year, AMD had another surprise in store -- an unexpected continuation of the Athlon story. It was decided to expand the Athlon II family with models based on the new compact core, similar to Phenom II, but without L3 Cache. It's a bold move, considering that L2 cache is traditionally small in K10 processors. On the other hand, back in times of K8 we often mentioned that AMD processors successfully performed with their small cache. So as we have already tested, dual-core Athlon II processors picked up the slack from Athlon 7000, based on the cut-down core of the first Phenom, simultaneously reducing their requirements to power supply and cooling. These processors got a warm welcome in the market. It's probably this series that AMD pins its main hopes to for consolidating its position in the corporate market. Such processors are more than sufficient for office PCs (even dual-core models, to say nothing of 3- and 4-core CPUs). And owing to the 45nm fabrication process AMD finally has a chance to supply such processors in volume.



But we test processors with a wide range of software, which is more typical of active home or professional usage. So we'll primarily review the new processors from this position. The fact that quad-core processors appeared in series 600 (that is they are rated below 3-core processors from series 700) at least indicates that they will have aggressive pricing policy. Theoretically, multi-core processors are doomed to advance to the budget segment. It depends only on manufacturers' capacity to supply relatively cheap to manufacture processors with more than two cores, which can offer interesting performance. In fact, the main road to increasing performance consists in multithreaded optimizations (in those programs that really need to be accelerated, text editors and tetris can be left single-threaded).

AMD pursues a consistent policy to promote multi-core processors to lower price ranges. Quad- and triple-core Phenoms from the first series occupied quite democratic price niches in their time. It must be noted that users did not make a mistake having chosen such processors, as they can serve the double term in a budget PC compared to more expensive Core 2 Duo processors. We can see it in this comparison: the same dual-core processors do not perform as well in modern software compared to their old neighbours as they did a year ago.

The line of quad-core processors starts with Model 620 (to be tested in this review) with the clock rate of 2.6 GHz. It will be followed by the 630 (2.8 GHz). There will also appear models with reduced wattage (45 W) -- 600e and 605e (2.2 GHz and 2.3 GHz). Triple-core processors based on the same die (with the fourth core disabled) will form series 400. There are presently two standard 425 and 435 models operating at 2.7 GHz and 2.9 GHz and one energy-efficient 405e operating at 2.3 GHz.

Testbed configurations


Processor Phenom X4 9850 Athlon II X4 620 Phenom II X3 710 Phenom II X4 810 Core 2 Quad Q8200
Core name Agena Propus Deneb Deneb Yorkfield
Process technology, nm 65 45 45 45 45
Core clock, GHz 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.33
Number of cores 4 4 3 4 4
L1 cache, I/D, KB 64/64 64/64 64/64 64/64 32/32
L2 Cache, KB 4 x 512 4 x 512 3 x 512 4 x 512 2 x 2048
L3 cache, KB 2048 - 6144 4096 -
Memory (*) DDR2-1066 DDR2-1066/ DDR3-1333 DDR2-1066/ DDR3-1333 DDR2-1066/ DDR3-1333 -
Multiplier 12.5 (**) 13 13 13 7
Socket AM2+ AM2+/AM3 AM2+/AM3 AM2+/AM3 LGA775
TDP, W 125/95 95 95 95 95

(*) The maximum frequency supported by CPU memory controller. One can install lower-clocked memory (e.g., DDR2-667 and DDR2-800 for processors supporting DDR2-1066). In case of LGA775 processors, memory frequency and type are detected by the chipset.
(**) Unlocked for overclocking.


Socket Motherboard Memory (actual mode)
AM2+ Gigabyte MA790GP-UD4H (AMD 790GX) Corsair CM2X2048-8500C5D (dual-channel DDR2-1066, 5-5-5-15-2T, unganged mode)
AM3 Gigabyte MA770T-UD3P (AMD 770) Corsair CM3X2G1600C9DHX (dual-channel DDR3-1333, 7-7-7-20-1T, unganged mode)
LGA775 ASUS P5Q Deluxe (Intel P45) Corsair CM2X2048-8500C5D (dual-channel DDR2-1066, 5-5-5-15-2T)

  • HDD: Seagate 7200.11 (SATA-2)
  • Cooler: Zalman CNPS9700
  • Graphics card: Palit GeForce GTX 275
  • Power supply unit: SeaSonic M12D 750W.

Most importantly, unlike dual-core Athlons II, official memory frequencies in this case are similar to those of Phenom II (DDR2-1066 and DDR3-1333). It also seemed like an interesting idea to compare our product under review with equally-clocked Phenoms II: Phenom II X3 710 (to all appearances, it's the most probable candidate to be replaced with the 620) and Phenom II X4 810. We are also curious about the progress of the low quad-core processor with the new core relative to one of the top representatives from the old series: Phenom X4 9850. What concerns the competition, unfortunately the choice is limited to Core 2 Quad Q8200. This processor is much more expensive than the new product, but we haven't got Intel 7000 quad-core processors so far.


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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, testbeds

Page 2: Tests, part 1

Page 3: Tests, part 2

Page 4: Tests, part 3, conclusions



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