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AMD Athlon II X4 620 Processor

Quad-core for the masses.

September 26, 2009



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Games



Games need efficient memory operations, not only cache size. It goes without saying that any cache helps level down the difference in throughput of CPU units and external memory. However, DDR3 lets Athlon II X4 620 demonstrate praiseworthy results. This processor ranks lower in the market than the other contenders, except for the discontinued Phenom X4 9850. But from the practical point of view, Athlon II X4 620 will most likely be compared to Phenom II X3 710. And we'll need detailed results here, because average parity does not mean it will hold true in certain games.


  Phenom X4 9850 Athlon II X4 620 (DDR2) Athlon II X4 620 (DDR3) Phenom II X3 710  Phenom II X4 810 (DDR2) Phenom II X4 810 (DDR3) Core 2 Quad Q8200
STALKER: Clear Sky 46 49 51 53 52 52 51
Devil May Cry 4 187 187 197 200 201 204 197
Far Cry 2 33 36 38 36 40 40 39
Grand Theft Auto 4 46 49 52 51 56 58 50
Lost Planet 43 43 43 43 44 44 43
Unreal Tournament 3 109 113 118 126 125 128 119
Crysis: Warhead 43 44 46 46 47 47 46
World in Conflict 31 33 37 33 39 40 40

As you can see, these processors demonstrate the same values of average fps in two games only. What concerns the other six games, the triple-core processor leads in half cases, while the quad-core processor leads in the other half. However, two victories out of three demonstrated by the 620 occur in Far Cry 2 and World in Conflict. Absolute fps values in these very games are very low, so performance gains are more important here, and they will be more noticeable in real gaming conditions. Thus, Athlon II X4 620 with DDR3 memory will be a rational choice for a new computer. But if you deal with an upgrade of the DDR2 platform, you should consider Phenom II X3 710. If you want a quad-core processor, you should look into series 800 or even 900 -- their L3 cache lets them depend less on memory performance.

Conclusions



The competition is relatively peachy for the new processor. We assumed that it will be slower than the Q8200 and that it would compete with Q7x models. But in fact these processors are on a par. Moreover, it's a cheaper model, so the 630 and higher processors will be able to compete with other representatives of series 8000 from Intel. It appears from it that there will be probably to continuation for series 800 from AMD, which includes only two models (805 and 810). These processors have been already removed from the official price list by now. It's apparently beneficial for AMD, because the company has already streamlined the manufacturing process for series 900, so there is no objective necessity to block a part of cache, and thus there are no resources for series 800. But the triple-core processors from series 700 won't be discontinued (and this series may be supplemented with higher-clocked models). There will be rejects here, until series 900 is discontinued -- unlike cache operating at 2 GHz in all processors, computing cores operate at much higher frequencies, and there will be some dice that can pass all internal tests with only three cores.

However, the new quad-core processors will surely seize the popular status from series 700. It's clearly seen on the summary diagram. It turns out that the fourth core can make up for the lack of L3 cache. Moreover, Athlon II X4 620 outperforms Phenom II X3 710, even if we take into account results obtained with DDR2. That's the average result. What concerns the situation in test groups, we've already covered it above. Considering that the triple-core processor outperforms the 620 or even takes the lead in some groups of tests, the 700 will definitely remain popular. Such processors are sometimes more expedient for upgrades of the DDR2 platform, and some users will still buy such processors trying their luck in unlocking the fourth core. On the other hand, some representatives of Series 600 from earlier shipments are actually based on the cut-down Deneb (disabled L3 Cache), and such processors can also be unlocked.

Speaking of non-nominal modes, we should say a few words about overclocking. We easily managed to raise frequency up to 3.8 GHz, a typical result for most tested processors -- Athlon II and Phenom II. However, we know that the real stumbling block for overclocking is a 64-bit operating system (and a motherboard in some cases), so it's practically always possible to start up a 32-bit operating system at frequencies higher by 100-200 MHz.


We express gratitude to Corsair Memory for a contribution to our testbeds.
GeForce GTX 275 provided by Palit.

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Page 1: Introduction, testbeds

Page 2: Tests, part 1

Page 3: Tests, part 2

Page 4: Tests, part 3, conclusions



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