AMD Phenom II 810, 805, 720 & 710 AM3 CPUs

February 11, 2009 | 08:57

Tags: #2 #45nm #710 #720 #805 #810 #am2 #am3 #benchmark #consumption #cpu #crysis #ddr3 #efficiency #ii #performance #phenom #power #result #review #x3 #x4

Companies: #amd #test

Value and Conclusions

Without even reviewing the product, after being told at the initial briefing that DDR3 performance accounted for only a five percent improvement, we knew we weren't going to see much more than an evolutionary bump for AM3.

The reality is not even that. As much as we'd love to big-up the new socket and latest memory support, at the end of the day it's more of a formal increment to keep up with the changing times and, even then, DDR3 is still something to shy away from.

As it stands, in our opinion the DDR3 memory controller simply isn't good enough - AMD needs to push for 1,600MHz memory support and 8GB of DDR3 (all four slots) as well. It needs to be a significant performance bump in order to incentivise people to upgrade, bringing down DDR3 prices further and actually generating a performance gap.

There will be an inevitable drop in DDR3 prices in 2009 and it should become more mainstream. However, with the economic recession in full effect, companies like Qimonda have already filed for insolvency and have been bailed out (all the cool kids are doing it these days it seems). This, combined with the fact memory companies in the "good times" saw very little money from DDR2, the factors are in favour of DDR3 prices remaining higher for a while yet and AMD's contribution is hardly going to increase consumer demand - the final factor in this equation.

In our book, 8GB of RAM is still overkill unless you have some extreme demands, but we recognise it's become increasingly popular for DDR2 owners to drop in another 4GB because memory is so cheap. Upgrading and having to drop back to 4GB is unlikely to be on the cards for these consumers - especially if it's an upgrade to a slower system because of higher DDR3 latencies. Investing in an AM3 CPU also means limiting your upgrade options - what's the point in buying 4GB now and "cheaper" 4GB later when the outcome is a slower than DDR2, yet still more expensive pair of DDR3 modules?

AMD's AM3 update is more in parallel with DDR3 for Core 2 CPUs - it's there if you want it, rather than being a commanding must-have upgrade. We'll continue to focus on AM2+ products for now until AMD releases a core refresh or DDR3 drops so low it's impossible to ignore. In our opinion, this latest batch of new CPUs from AMD should really only be considered as AM2+ parts for now.

AMD Phenom II 810, 805, 720 & 710 AM3 CPUs Value and Conclusions

People have often ignored the very capable Intel Core 2 Duo E8200/8400 in favour of the Q6600 because they want a decent overclock and quad-core resources but until heavily overclocked, the Q6600 isn't as fast as the higher clocked dual-core chips in a lot of instances and, for the most part, clock speed is still an overwhelming factor for general system performance.

While we fobbed off the triple-core processors when AMD released the first of them based on the ill-fated 65nm Agena core because their clock speeds were just too low, AMD has now readdressed this issue and at 2.8GHz with an unlocked multiplier the 720 is a great choice. It's inexpensive and it balances the need for many core, improving performance in things like video encoding and also in applications that rely mostly on higher frequencies.

While it doesn't beat the £25 more expensive and quite frankly bulletproof Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, it's a great alternative option for those whose budgets lie in the sub £150 bracket, rather than around £200 and upwards. Unless you're after some extreme overclocking or all of the applications you use take advantage of no more than two cores, we do think it's probably a better option than the E8400 at £136.07 or the E7500 at £124.19, as the Phenom II X3 720 beats the even higher clocked Core 2 Duo E8500 in quite a few of our tests.

The Phenom II X3 720 has hit a great price (even Intel's cheapest quad-core, the Q8200 is £141 - £20 more expensive for a far lower 2.33GHz clock) and with DDR2 it certainly holds its own against the more expensive Intel competition and even other AMD CPUs in many of the tests. What we really like is the fact that AMD officially supports the majority of overclockers - and not just those with more money than sense - by releasing inexpensive Black Edition parts. The 720 is a fantastic choice for cost efficient overclocking and it's a corporate strategy Intel should take on board. We don't have a thousand dollars for your XE thank-you-very-much.

What AMD is mostly lacking in this equation is really awesome motherboards though. With Nvidia on yet another rebranding drive for old parts and AMD's next generation chipsets the best part of a YEAR away - it's set to be a seriously boring time on the AMD front. The good news is that there should be some good bargains for AM2+ motherboards and buying one now means it will remain "current" for a long while yet. However, when it comes to AMD chipsets, its own chipset division doesn't exactly make the most feature rich and leading southbridges, which in this day and age is certainly important.

With generally poor USB performance and relying on other companies like Silicon Image to sort out its SATA it's still a poor showing, despite the fact it's extremely low power, thanks to TSMC's process technology. At the end of the day, if the CPU competition is close leaving customers undecided, the answer is what other factors are there - and when it comes to motherboards, Intel's P45/ICH10R chipset is far superior with better boards like the Asus P5Q Deluxe, and Gigabyte's GA-EP45-UD3R/P standing above many.

Finally, AMD is mostly lacking stock - right now, even a few days after release you still can't buy any of these CPUs - that's a mirroring of the Athlon X2 7750 and Phenom II X4 940/920 launches where actual product was unavailable for several weeks. We seriously hope AMD rectifies this soon, because it only gives Intel more chance to fill the gap.

At the end of the day, the Phenom II X3 710 is superbly priced at a shade over £100 for a pretty high performance multi-core CPU (certainly better than the original "cheap" triple-cores) and dropped into an AM2+ motherboard the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition affords some much needed consumer choice for inexpensive, multi-core overclocking fun.

AMD Phenom II X4 810
  • Performance
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 6/10
  • Value
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 7/10
  • Overall
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 6/10

AMD Phenom II X4 805
  • Performance
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 6/10
  • Value
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 7/10
  • Overall
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 6/10

AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
  • Performance
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
  • Value
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • 9/10
  • Overall
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • 9/10

AMD Phenom II X3 710
  • Performance
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
  • Value
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • 9/10
  • Overall
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10

AMD Phenom II 810, 805, 720 & 710 AM3 CPUs Value and Conclusions

AMD Phenom X3 720 Black Edition


AMD Phenom II 810, 805, 720 & 710 AM3 CPUs Value and Conclusions

AMD Phenom X3 710


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