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Core unlocking capability - Phenom II X2 or Athlon II X3?

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April 6, 2011 9:38:23 AM

Hey there.

As of late I've been considering a processor upgrade, and have been interested in buying the AMD Athlon X3 450 in substitute for something like a Phenom X4(which I lack the budget for) and plan to unlock the dormant fourth core and/or overclock it to a higher clock speed. The decision I'm being presented with now, however, is that the Phenom II X2 555 is being sold at barely a higher price, and I'm wondering if it would perform better over the former due to the added L3 cache. I've also heard that Phenom II X2s can also be unlocked, but all this is variable. With the Athlon II X3 I'm not too worried about that possibility of failure to unlock the fourth core, because I would still have 3 fully stable working cores. However, with the Phenom II, if I fail to unlock the extra cores, I'm stuck with a dual core in vain of the possible boost i could have had with the third core that the Athlon II X3 had.

So what I'm asking is, is it worth the gamble buying the Phenom II X2 over the Athlon II X3? I really can't decide what would benefit me more in the long run. Also, to double check, the motherboard I will be buying in conjunction to the processor will be a Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3. Is this capable of unlocking extra cores, I've heard that it is completely capable of both unlocking and overclocking, but I wanted to just double-check.

Thanks
April 6, 2011 9:42:08 AM

interested in buying the AMD Athlon X3 450 in substitute for something like a Phenom II X4*

Why Toms Hardware doesn't allow me to edit my posts for typos is beyond me.
a b à CPUs
April 6, 2011 12:33:35 PM

If you want a Quad core CPU, just buy one. Unlocking cores is never guaranteed. :non:  I would go with the Phenom II(especially if it is a Black Edition), and hope to get lucky! :sol: 
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April 6, 2011 12:50:38 PM

Phenom II X2 555 C3 would be a better buy, 6mb L3 cache over the Athlon 1.5mb will make a big difference.

Without unlocking any cores, you can hit 3.92Ghz by using 19.5x @ 200MHz or 3.995Ghz 17x @ 235MHz with better 3rd party cooling and memory @ 800MHz.

If you plan to unlock, then you need a motherboard with SB710, SB750 or later South Bridge. The GA-MA770T-UD3 has this but make sure you get the latest 3.1 revision and latest FB BIOS.
April 6, 2011 1:18:06 PM

das_stig said:
Phenom II X2 555 C3 would be a better buy, 6mb L3 cache over the Athlon 1.5mb will make a big difference.

Without unlocking any cores, you can hit 3.92Ghz by using 19.5x @ 200MHz or 3.995Ghz 17x @ 235MHz with better 3rd party cooling and memory @ 800MHz.

If you plan to unlock, then you need a motherboard with SB710, SB750 or later South Bridge. The GA-MA770T-UD3 has this but make sure you get the latest 3.1 revision and latest FB BIOS.



Thanks, I ended up choosing to purchase the Phenom II x2 Black Edition 555(Not too sure what the C3 rev would have had over the original, could you explain for me please?). I'm not sure how far I would get in terms of over-clocking as I use purely stock air cooling for the moment(subject to change, when I have a larger budget) but I'm assuming from what I've read getting to the 3.5/6ghz mark on stock cooling and voltage wouldn't be too difficult (I may be completely wrong).

As for the motherboard, I've searched the amazon page for any signs of what revision it may be but it seems I'm unable to find anything that would indicate it. I'm not sure what to do about this, would getting an older revision limit the capability?
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April 8, 2011 6:41:40 PM

The 555BE is more of a gamble as if both fail to unlock the 3rd core is better than the L3 cache but if you do unlock it to 4 cores then you have a C3 (I am fairly sure the 555BE is always C3) 955BE when you only paid foe a 555BE while the Athlon will still only be a 4 core athlon at best (there is a very small chance of unlocking cache as well but its too small to go into). So if you win you win bigger if you lose you lose bigger there is no bad decision its just how much you want to gamble.
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