Athlon II X3 440 vs. Phenom II X4 955 L3 cache performance

I'm currently running a Athlon II X3 440 with an unlocked fourth core perfectly stable at 3.3 GHz along with 2 ATI 5750's and soon to be G.Skill Ripjaws 1600 MHz RAM. My friend is building a PC for strictly gaming so I know the Athlon II X3 is perfectly fine for that. My machine however, has become my main computer for school work as well. This includes some 3D modeling, very large 3d AutoCAD work, and a bunch of electrical simulation programs. I was thinking that it may be beneficial to me to upgrade to a Phenom II for the added L3 Cache and the slightly higher over clock room.

It's not about price at all, I just don't think I would need to go all the way for the X4 965 or even an X6 and the unlocked multiplier on the 955 kind of trumps the slightly slower and locked 945.

Does anyone else have any experience with a similar upgrade or any recommendations on an upgrade?

I'm running a M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 motherboard and just curious if I would need to plug in a second 4-pin CPU power connector into the CPU power slot on the motherboard if I did take an upgrade path.
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  1. From a unlocked x3 (x4) @ 3.3GHz to the 955BE would not be a great upgrade except for the overclock headroom. I would plug in both 4pin CPU power connectors anyway since you have them and the board has 8pin slot but it will run fine with just one, you just get better power distribution.
  2. $200 6 core.
  3. Well its a solid 10% increase in 3DMark06 CPU score, 2-4 FPS increase in Crysis CPU Test, don't have any other CPU bench marks though. I never timed it before, but for video encoding its a little faster it seems. I'm just happy to have the memory running at it's stock 1333 MHz instead under clocked to 1240 MHz or something like that with the Athlon II X3 440.

    I got it to load Windows 7 at 4.0 GHz, crashes as soon as I start any bench, at 3.8 it only crashes after running Prime95 for a while or trying to encode a 1080p .mkv file. so I've decided just to run it at 3.6 and it seems to be completely stable. These seem to be the same results everyone else is getting. I didn't feel like playing with the core voltage to make it stable at 3.8 GHz, that extra 200 MHz isn't attractive enough to me.

    Still using my Cooler Master Vortex Plus and after only 5 hours of Prime95, it maxed at 64 C and idles down to 34 C. I figure the Artic Silver 5 still has another while to full set in, instructions say 200 hours. Either way, it's still pretty good for my tastes.

    Once I install my G.Skill Ripjaws 1600 MHz 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) kit that's due in this weekend, I'll push it a little further just to see the limits.
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