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AMD Athlon II X4 645 Review

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phuzz 6th October 2010, 11:59 Quote
Still waiting for the performance crown to swing back from Intel to AMD. Guess I better wait a bit longer :(
I'd love to be able to advise people to buy AMD again, but at the moment there's only a few situations when that makes sense.
javaman 6th October 2010, 12:15 Quote
Im still trying to decide weather to do a complete upgrade or drop a phenom II 955/970 or even an athlon II x4 into my current am2+ set up and upgrade the mobo when bulldozer drops. I want to find out if bulldozer boards will be compatible with phenom/Athlon II's. If not Ill hold out for a total rebuild when intel drop sandybridge and their first gen core i's drop in price. Out of interest how far behind the phenom's is this quad?
adam_bagpuss 6th October 2010, 12:19 Quote
i dont get it you slated the Athlon II X4 620 saying it was a budget quad-core and dont fall for the hype. This however is the same thing but more mhz and higher price but it recieves a much better review ? (granted not glowing but still better)
xaser04 6th October 2010, 12:48 Quote
It would have been useful if a Phenom II X4 (at round the same stock clock as this Athlon II (so something like the 955) was included as a point of reference (If only to show how much of a performance drop you see when the L3 cache is missing.

Other than that it's a good review of a decidedly average chip. I think the entire conclusion page should be replaced with 'MEH'.
Shichibukai 6th October 2010, 13:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
Im still trying to decide weather to do a complete upgrade or drop a phenom II 955/970 or even an athlon II x4 into my current am2+ set up and upgrade the mobo when bulldozer drops. I want to find out if bulldozer boards will be compatible with phenom/Athlon II's. If not Ill hold out for a total rebuild when intel drop sandybridge and their first gen core i's drop in price. Out of interest how far behind the phenom's is this quad?

Bulldozer boards will be compatible with current AM3 CPUs but not vice-versa
Claave 6th October 2010, 13:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shichibukai
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
Im still trying to decide weather to do a complete upgrade or drop a phenom II 955/970 or even an athlon II x4 into my current am2+ set up and upgrade the mobo when bulldozer drops. I want to find out if bulldozer boards will be compatible with phenom/Athlon II's. If not Ill hold out for a total rebuild when intel drop sandybridge and their first gen core i's drop in price. Out of interest how far behind the phenom's is this quad?

Bulldozer boards will be compatible with current AM3 CPUs but not vice-versa

I'm not totally sure about that actually - Bulldozer is a server/workstation CPU, so might not be released in Socket AM3 packaging at all. The next-gen desktop CPU from AMD is codenamed Llano and looks to be a Phenom II with a GPU bolted on. See:
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/08/24/amd-previews-fusion-details/2

From that article:
"AMD seemed to indicate that Bulldozer APUs will work in current-generation server and workstation motherboards, after a BIOS update, but that a new socket or chipset might be required to unlock all of the features or power saving capabilities. However, we’d wait until this information is verified before betting our next server-room overhaul on it."
aussiebear 6th October 2010, 13:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by phuzz
Still waiting for the performance crown to swing back from Intel to AMD. Guess I better wait a bit longer :(
I'd love to be able to advise people to buy AMD again, but at the moment there's only a few situations when that makes sense.

AMD will not take anything back on the desktop market until mid-2011.

(1) Desktop Bulldozer versions doesn't come until then. Its very likely to be on-par with the current Intel "Westmere" on a clock-for-clock comparison in single-threaded apps...To compete with LGA2011 version of "Sandy Bridge", Bulldozer will scale in high speeds. Turbo modes via power gating from both companies will blur things a bit...We can at least say that AMD will close the performance gap with Intel.

On the other hand, Intel is a generation ahead of AMD in manufacturing capability. They are very likely to introduce "Ivy Bridge" (22nm die shrink) to counter AMD's Bulldozer; should it turn out to be some sort of performance monster.

Bare in mind, both companies have very different design philosophies:
Intel => Maximise per core performance. (More client oriented.)
AMD => Maximise per processor throughput. (More server oriented.)

It'll be up to each individual to see which processor best meets their computing needs.

(2) Llano has been delayed until Q3 of 2011 due to yield issues of the complex design. (This is a highly modified K10.5 design without L3 cache, but with Radeon HD 55xx/56xx GPU as the IGP). Effectively, this processor line will replace the current Athlon II as reviewed in this article.

The only thing you can expect from AMD in early 2011 is that they will have an Atom-killer in the Bobcat-based "Ontario" (9W) and "Zacate" (18W) lines. They had to push this forward in place of Llano for Q1 release on their processor roadmap. Compromises were made in order for this solution to move forward: They'll be made by TSMC instead of GlobalFoundries; as well as 40nm instead of the planned 32nm or 28nm. I guess future iterations (2nd or 3rd generation?) will be manufactured in those nodes.

Intel was expecting to meet Llano; so they decided to push the mainstream "Sandy Bridge" (LGA1155) version forward, and have ramped up production. Its coming in Q1 of 2011, regardless if Llano is delayed to Q3.
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
I'm still trying to decide weather to do a complete upgrade or drop a phenom II 955/970 or even an Athlon II x4 into my current am2+ set up and upgrade the mobo when bulldozer drops. I want to find out if bulldozer boards will be compatible with phenom/Athlon II's. If not Ill hold out for a total rebuild when intel drop sandybridge and their first gen core i's drop in price. Out of interest how far behind the phenom's is this quad?

Socket AM3+ mobos for Bulldozer IS backward compatible with existing Socket AM3 processors. Its just that desktop Bulldozer CPUs are NOT compatible with current Socket AM2+/AM3 mobos...So AMD has offered a compromise in the form of forward compatibility with existing processors.

Understand that this is a result of an engineering compromise. Not a marketing motivated gimmick.
frontline 6th October 2010, 14:02 Quote
It would be interesting to see how this compares to a Phenom II X2 555 at around £75.
javaman 6th October 2010, 15:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiebear

Socket AM3+ mobos for Bulldozer IS backward compatible with existing Socket AM3 processors. Its just that desktop Bulldozer CPUs are NOT compatible with current Socket AM2+/AM3 mobos...So AMD has offered a compromise in the form of forward compatibility with existing processors.

Understand that this is a result of an engineering compromise. Not a marketing motivated gimmick.

Thats what Im hoping for but I can understand if they drop this feature. The forwards compatibility would work out cheaper and allow a gradual upgrade over time for me meaning I can see where prices go. If not Im looking at a total rebuild rather than waiting for cheery picked bargins. ATM a 955 is getting very close to the £100 mark, it'll be a nice performance upgrade on my M3A78 pro. Im also sitting on 8gb of, all be it, slow ram so spending £70+ on 4gb ram to to keep a total rebuild cost down isn't very attractive. 4gb modules seem to be coming down and becoming more common too so hopefully when I replace the mobo I can pick up 2 x 4gb ram modules at a good price. Also hope AMD get some more SLI boards, since I like to fold and want tri monitors in the future too. fingers crossed on that one.
Chicken76 6th October 2010, 15:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiebear
Understand that this is a result of an engineering compromise. Not a marketing motivated gimmick.

Could you elaborate on this, please?
schmidtbag 6th October 2010, 15:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiebear
Understand that this is a result of an engineering compromise. Not a marketing motivated gimmick.

Could you elaborate on this, please?

some people think intel creates a bajillion different sockets just to make more money and to make it seem like theres a significant difference between the socket's predecessors. amd is trying to make it's newer cpus as compatible as possible but you can only do so much with the same socket.
Chicken76 6th October 2010, 15:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
some people think intel creates a bajillion different sockets just to make more money
But it does help to increase profits, doesn't it?
-EVRE- 6th October 2010, 17:40 Quote
This review is lacking in that it does not contain a phenom II x2 or x4.......
a bit pointless without those included as a frame of reference.
Kris 6th October 2010, 19:57 Quote
Indeed, a Phenom X2 would be a good comparison point. even though in multithreaded apps the athlon would destroy a PhX2, in gaming i'd wager the PhX2 to be a much better chip (at least in those games that do not use more than 2 cores, which you kind of used in the review - crysis is known to be 90% of the time to be limited by the gpu)
but overall, good comparison.

the 4,62GHz pentium: was it a retail cpu (meaning not provided by intel)?
schmidtbag 6th October 2010, 21:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken76
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
some people think intel creates a bajillion different sockets just to make more money
But it does help to increase profits, doesn't it?

it depends. its sort of a turnoff to some people. what i like about amd is they try using the same socket as long as possible, so you don't have to keep spending more money on brand new parts every time you want the next generation product
javaman 6th October 2010, 23:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
it depends. its sort of a turnoff to some people. what i like about amd is they try using the same socket as long as possible, so you don't have to keep spending more money on brand new parts every time you want the next generation product

For OEM's like HP and Dell its a null point since you'll be upgrading everything buying one of those machines but for people who know what they're doing then it makes it harder to keep costs down. With DDR3 taking off mobo ram and processor all had to be upgraded thats the guts of £300 where as if your like me on AM2+ hopefully you can upgrade processor now to phenom II then change mobo and ram later when prices drop or when needed. It certainly makes gradual upgrade easier
Altron 7th October 2010, 00:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiebear
Socket AM3+ mobos for Bulldozer IS backward compatible with existing Socket AM3 processors. Its just that desktop Bulldozer CPUs are NOT compatible with current Socket AM2+/AM3 mobos...So AMD has offered a compromise in the form of forward compatibility with existing processors.

Understand that this is a result of an engineering compromise. Not a marketing motivated gimmick.

Will using an AM3 CPU in an AM3+ board give any performance benefit over an AM3 board, or is it simply to facilitate piecemeal upgrades?

I'm still on an 700-chipset AM3 board because I haven't found a compelling reason to move to an 800-chipset besides more prevalent SATA6gbos and USB3
Captain Obvious 7th October 2010, 16:17 Quote
In the benchmarks that clobber AMD, it might not be actually due to any apparent deficiency of AMD's CPUs:

Intel compilers are engineered to wreck performance if the app is run on a non-Intel CPU.

http://semiaccurate.com/2010/08/06/more-intel-dirt-cleaned-ftc/

-----
Compilers and Dirty Tricks

Part VII is all about compilers, and it lays into Intel for all the things they have been denying but everyone knows they do. It basically makes some Intel products come with a warning label that makes European cigarette packs look tame. Additionally, it creates a fund to allow people duped by Intel's compiler numbers to recompile their software at Intel's expense.

Much of this was covered in the AMD settlement, but the solution is simple, Intel can do what they want with their compilers, but they must prominently state that the compiler may not be optimized for any other manufacturer's CPU. Intel has to tell all it's compiler customers this, and can not represent or imply that the their compilers are necessarily fair to others. You have to wonder why this would be called out so specifically.
-snip-
-----

http://semiaccurate.com/2010/08/05/ftc-holds-intels-feet-fire/

http://semiaccurate.com/2010/08/04/intel-settles-ftc-and-nvidia-win-big

-----

If your benchmarks that put AMD's products as inferior are compiled on an Intel compiler, then you're actually relying on an Intel trojan, engineered to prevent any "level playing field" from threatening their cartel^h^h^h^h^h^hmonopoly^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^hmarket-control...

Please test your benchmarks ( in linux,
strings | grep -i "intel\|amd\|watcom\|portland\|copyright"
may find that info for you )

and tell us if you find it to be coincident with the poor-AMD-scores...

Otherwise, we just have to not understand/trust the results
( the poor score may be the case for that benchmark,
but that benchmark may ONLY indicate what ICC compiled code works like,
instead of showing what video-editing works like, see )

Thanks in advance / Cheers,

Captain Obvious!
Snips 8th October 2010, 12:50 Quote
WOW!

So Elvis is still alive, there really is a Santa Claus and Aliens really do travel billions of light years through space just to go for that anal probing thing?

Captain Obvious, your comment is not only offensive but blatantly attacks the integrity of Bit-Tech/CustomPC. May I remind you that not only are they very good at what they do but they are also one of the most respected independent reviewers in this industry.

That really is taking fanboyism to a new extreme.
Chicken76 8th October 2010, 14:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
WOW!

Captain Obvious, your comment is not only offensive but blatantly attacks the integrity of Bit-Tech/CustomPC. May I remind you that not only are they very good at what they do but they are also one of the most respected independent reviewers in this industry.

That really is taking fanboyism to a new extreme.

He wasn't attacking Bit-Tech at all. Captain Obvious was just pointing out something that happened to Intel recently: they are being forced to play fair. The fact that the compilers are being engineered to produce better results on their hardware to the detriment of all competitors, is something everyone should be worried about.

I don't see him as an AMD fanboi. The suit and it's outcome are out there. Read up. They chose to settle it out of court. Now, if they were innocent, would they still have agreed to do all that? The measures imposed on them are quite a big deal. I think it's about time they started playing fair.

I liked the thing about the space aliens though.
Altron 8th October 2010, 16:34 Quote
Chicken76 is correct. Captain Obvious never questioned Bit-tech's integrity or fairness, just the validity of the specific benchmarking software used. I don't think it's insulting, because nobody here has claimed that Bit-tech fudged the numbers against AMD. This site has been around for a long time and has established an excellent reputation. The idea of having software optimized for one platform over another is certainly not as far-out and incredible as a Roswell conspiracy theory.
schmidtbag 9th October 2010, 06:24 Quote
i agree with altron, chicken76, and captain obvious.

personally, i go to bit-tech because i know they are not biased. they are accurate and they do a great job at everything. i go to them, guru3d.com, and phoronix.com. the only thing i don't really like about bit-tech is some of their choices of tests. i've seen some of the most bizarre results out of tests they use. personally, i'm an amd fan but there have been times where there were tests where an intel cpu with more cores and a noticeably higher frequency has fallen behind an amd cpu with lower stats and i'm just sitting there like "how is that even possible?". its not bit-tech's fault, and by me saying that, they clearly don't favor 1 company over the other. but i find the tests they use very questionable.

i go to phoronix.com because they use a ridiculous amount of tests that aren't designed for specific hardware (in linux, you can't focus on 1 company more than another because you'll never get people interested), and if you don't trust it, their benchmark test suite is available for anyone to use for free. its a good test suite too, its always being updated.

i'm not really aware of what benchmark programs are available for windows that haven't been corrupt by either microsoft or intel, so unfortunately i can't really recommend bit-tech better choices than what they currently use.
pjl321 12th October 2010, 18:08 Quote
Ivy Bridge is meant to be still on track for 2H 2011. This just seems crazy. Intel are not going to release a whole new generation in Sandy Bridge and then replace it within 6 months!??

I guess they might just release a few 22nm parts like they did with 32nm but even that seems so unlikely right now. I mean we won't even have high-end Sand Bridge parts out yet and we will have the replacement for Sand Bridge at our door step!

Anyone know what Intel are really doing in 2011?
Altron 13th October 2010, 00:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjl321
Ivy Bridge is meant to be still on track for 2H 2011. This just seems crazy. Intel are not going to release a whole new generation in Sandy Bridge and then replace it within 6 months!??

I guess they might just release a few 22nm parts like they did with 32nm but even that seems so unlikely right now. I mean we won't even have high-end Sand Bridge parts out yet and we will have the replacement for Sand Bridge at our door step!

Anyone know what Intel are really doing in 2011?

Isn't Ivy Bridge just a die shrink from 32nm to 22nm, without making changes to the architecture? It's still going to be Sandy Bridge architecture, which is different from Nehalem.
pjl321 13th October 2010, 17:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Altron


Isn't Ivy Bridge just a die shrink from 32nm to 22nm, without making changes to the architecture? It's still going to be Sandy Bridge architecture, which is different from Nehalem.

True but do you really see Ivy Bridge coming out just 6 months after Sandy Bridge and possibly before the high end Sandy Bridge parts?

For instance, what if 22nm is a much better overclocker than 32nm? With all the tweeks and improvements that a die shrink brings plus better overclocking you will probably have a situation where a low to mid-range Ivy Bridge is as fast if not faster than a now dated high end Sandy Bridge.
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