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Athlon II X4 vs Phenom X3 vs Phenom X2 vs Athlon II

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January 24, 2010 10:00:32 PM

Dear Tom's experts on new builds,

Next week I will finalize my upgrade. Yet I still need to determine my CPU!! All i need is a CPU + mobo + memory. DDR2 is salvageable from my current build though.

Current system:
4400 X2 +
4gb DDR2
HD 4830


Games i mostly am interested in: L4D2, MW2, RA3, CSS, resolution: 1440x900. I prefer a "cooler" CPU because it will make less noise.

I want an CPU upgrade, but buying DDR3 and i5 would cost me at least 160+40+70=270 euros. (310 if id get 4gb of DDR3 vs 2 gb). i3 would be only 60 euro cheaper, so that is not really worth it either. I know a 1156 board might offer spectacular upgrade-ability, but I do not think it is worth the extra €140+.
Upgrading using a AM2+ board and one of the CPU's mentioned in the header would cost about € 90-145. I will also buy a custom CPU cooler (less noise), but this does not matter right now.

A AMD 790X / AMD SB600 msi board with 4 memory slots will run me 39 euros. How well would that OC any of the CPU's below?

The CPU's are priced as following:

Processor - 1 x AMD Athlon II X2 245 / 2.9 GHz - Socket AM3 - L2 2 MB ( 2 x 1 MB ) - Box
€54
AMD Black Edition - Processor - 1 x AMD Phenom II X2 550 / 3.1 GHz - Socket AM3 - L3 6 MB - Box
€78
Processor - 1 x AMD Athlon II X4 620 / 2.6 GHz - Socket AM3 - L2 2 MB ( 4 x 512 KB ) - Box
€85
AMD Black Edition - Processor - 1 x AMD Phenom II X3 720 / 2.8 GHz - Socket AM3 - L3 6 MB - Box
€115
Processor / 1 x AMD Phenom II X4 945 / 3 GHz Energy Efficient - Socket AM3 - L3 6 MB - Box
€130
AMD Black Edition - Processor - 1 x AMD Phenom II X4 955 / 3.2 GHz - Socket AM3 - L3 6 MB - Box
€142



I am looking for a cheap upgrade that will last me around 1.5-2 years. It also has to offer a significant upgrade to the X2 4400+. However, I cannot really decide between the top 4 of that list. The Phenom II X4 are just added for comparison, as is the 1156 break down. Keeping this upgrade cheap is important because else I can just go ahead and get a i5 anyway.

As of right now, i am thinking about going for the Phenom II X2 550, because of its blazing fast clock speeds in current games. However, does the 720 or 620 offer value with its extra core(s)?

What do you think of this?
January 24, 2010 11:15:00 PM

personally id go with the athlonII X4 620 as i have built a friend a pc with this cpu and there isn't a game it hasn't been able to play smooth including crysis warhead, this chip runs rarther cool for a quad as well and was fine with a stock amd cooler. it is quite alot quicker than a c2d e8400@3ghz,,,but if you cant be bothered to o/clock id go with the x2 550 as its cheaper and sould be fine with all most new games.
even my pc (stated below) plays mw2 and l4d2 max settings with 70-90fps also css stress tes @201fps and them 2 cpu's i recommend are faster by some margin.
i think core i5 would be a waste of time really as it uses a different board to the i7 (for now) so thats just more money needed.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2010 1:11:16 AM

If the main thing that you're looking at is a 550x2, it would be much better to go with a Athlon II x3. Slightly slower per core, with another core and cheaper.

If you want to stick with DDR2 memory, what's your current motherboard? I'd just do a drop-in upgrade if possible.

For the record, intel has said that the 1156 socket won't see anything more than a quad. AM3 will see 8-core CPUs. If I were you, because of how expensive DDR2 has gotten, I'd part out your old memory and maybe the motherboard and CPU combined. That should be enough to move to a 770 chipset AM3 DDR3 mobo that has USB3 and SATA 3 with 4 gigs of DDR3.
Related resources
January 25, 2010 3:38:47 PM

My current board only supports like X2 6000+, and some dual core phenom I's. Not really an option.

Good news though, AMD released its new line up, and intel probably will do so tomorrow.

False_Dmitry: The whole point is that my DDR2 is salvageable from my previous build. I have 4x1Gb, so there is enough to power a new build + save one stick just to keep the old machine as a mediaplayer. Im not gonna hassle around with selling my old setup as it will fetch me too little, and i want to keep it as a mediabox.


The point of upgrading from a X2 4400+ is because it will allow me to up the details in games, fetch much better frame rates and allow me to play 720p youtube on my second screen at the same time. My X2 just chokes at lower settings and youtube already.

I might be better off with a X4. But its important the clock is high enough to still be a substantial upgrade to the old chip in terms of FPS.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2010 6:01:04 PM

These will all be faster per clock over your old one anyway. If you can go for the athlon x4 at 2.8 gigahertz, then that's good. But the x3's at 2.7 or 2.9 are both a good deal. Definitely better than just a dual core.

I would argue the fetching too little part, but the wanting to keep it as a HTPC is totally valid.
a b à CPUs
January 25, 2010 11:41:19 PM

I'm going to post a link here and before anyone yells at me - I know it's Intel and that's not what OP asked for. However, I'm not posting it as a recommendation to go i3. I'm posting it because I found it to be interesting in that it talks about some of the Pros and Cons between Athlon II X4 and Phenom II X4. Exactly some of the question OP has. I hope you find it helpful (pages 1, 2, and 6 provide the most info relevant to AMD comparisons): http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=372...

Also, OP are you aware of the new AMD chips that just launched today?: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=372...
At least in some cases, the faster chips should be the same current price of the previous fastest chip in their line.
a b à CPUs
January 26, 2010 10:59:25 AM

On a side note the athlon II x4 630 dropped in price today to $99 (108.99 on newegg) and the 620 dropped to $90 (95.99 on newegg)
!