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Is the AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition a bad choice?

I was building a budget computer, and was pretty interested when I heard that the motherboard I wanted to purchase (Biostar A880G+) had ACC. The motherboard is in my possession now, and I plan on buying the CPU next.

I wanted to buy a Phenom II X3, but feedback I received in another place said that triple core CPU's failed horribly, had a lot more app/game crashes and BSOD's, and were generally worse then even a slower dual core. I only have experience with dual core CPU's, so I wouldn't know.

I saw benchmarks on some CPU's, and in most cases, the triple core and quad core (I believe I was comparing a X3 720 with a X4 920 or 925) were neck-to-neck, and in some benchmarks (on the same game, different sites) the triple core beat the quad core.

I like the idea of trying to unlock cores, and even if I can't unlock the 4th core, I would imagine a triple core would be fine? Whats everyone else's feedback on triple core CPU's?

Also for the rest of my computer, I planned on getting a 4GB stick of RAM (later on I'll add the 2nd stick), some RAM heatsinks, a microATX computer case (it has a handle on it, and that might be nice to have), and possibly some ASUS sound card (it started with a X I believe, but I can't recall what it was called exactly).
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More about phenom black edition choice
  1. There is nothing wrong with AMD's triple cores. Who ever told you that they're less stable and cause more crashes/BSOD's is completely computer illiterate.
  2. Well he said something about apps not being coded for an uneven amount of threads or something along those lines, and that would cause the crashes and BSODs

    I mostly want to play games that use Unreal Engine 3, and games like Starcraft II and WoW, would these work well with a X3?

    Still would like additional feedback though.
  3. Prices have fallen so much over the last several months on the Phenom II X4 variants, I can't see not going with a 955/965 X4 right off the bat....four functioning cores for certain.
  4. I don't have a lot of money so a 955 or 965 is out of the question right now. $75 for the 720 is pushing my budget a tiny bit already, and $90 for the 925 would make me have to cut down on something else.
  5. Anymore feedback on triple core CPU's anyone?
  6. I had one it unlocked to a quad core then I over clocked it to 3.8 GHZ
    fast as hell on the cheap you have to have the right board to unlock CPU cores.
  7. http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-2010/Gaming-Left-4-Dead,2432.html

    Benchmarks show the X3/X4 fairly close in performance when at identical clockspeeds, at least in this particular Left4Dead benchmark....
  8. x3 is a very nice cpu.
  9. Best answer
    I have a Phenom II 720 X3 which have been with me since 2009. It is unlocked & OC to 3.4GHz and has been running stable until today.

    I believe the issue about Phenom II X3's are availability from the store rather than stability. So if you can find it, it is definitely a good buy.
  10. There is no such thing as "not being coded to use an uneven number of cores" - this is a complete bullshit and among the dumbest things I've ever heard - what about a single core then, isn't it uneven?
  11. Cool thx for the feedback all. I plan on using the COOLER MASTER RR-H101 for cooling, and maybe attaching a 2nd fan to it if needed. Think this will let me OC at least to 3.0Ghz?
  12. Espionage724 said:
    Cool thx for the feedback all. I plan on using the COOLER MASTER RR-H101 for cooling, and maybe attaching a 2nd fan to it if needed. Think this will let me OC at least to 3.0Ghz?


    That cooler is garbage rated for cooling a max of 70W, your Phenom II X3 will run hot without overclocking using that thing. Step up to a TX3, still a fairly inexpensive cooler that will perform much better and be able to handle a decent overclock.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103064&cm_re=tx3-_-35-103-064-_-Product

    You can compare cooler masters coolers on their website.
    http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/category.php?category_id=1623
  13. Thx, I'll check that cooler out.

    My only concern is that someone said that on the case I was getting, a Hyper 212 from Coolmaster wouldn't fit in it (it was maybe 1-2cm past the case siding). Not entirely sure how to read the dimensions this cooler, but I would imagine it would fit?

    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212
    Fan Dimensions
    120 x 120 x 25 mm
    Heatsink Dimensions
    120 x 79.7 x 158.5 mm (L x W x H)

    COOLER MASTER Hyper TX3
    Fan Dimensions
    92 x 92 x 25mm
    Heatsink Dimensions
    90 x 51 x 139mm

    Heres the case I was getting as well for those interested (link)

    Edit: here was the exact quote also
    Quote:
    Those wondering if a COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 will fit, the answer is no; if it weren't for the tips of the heat pipes, it would kiss the side panel. I'm planning on modding the side panel by adding a mesh window that extends out by about 12mm
  14. Cool. So here comes another question.

    AMD Athlon II X3 445 and AMD Phenom II X3 720 are going for the same price ($75) right now on Newegg.

    Both are triple core CPU's, and both can be unlocked to quad. The Athlon doesn't have L3 cache (but it can be unlocked), where as the Phenom has by default 6MB of L4 cache. Apparently the Phenom doesn't have L1 cache though (at least Newegg doesn't list it having it).

    The Athlon is 300Mhz faster then the Phenom as well, and comes with cooling (I would probably end up replacing the cooling eventually anyway though).

    After some quick, research, the Phenom seems better, but is this true?
  15. "Guaranteed" L3 cache should count for something. what about the core design - is it the same?
  16. Espionage724 said:
    Cool. So here comes another question.

    AMD Athlon II X3 445 and AMD Phenom II X3 720 are going for the same price ($75) right now on Newegg.

    Both are triple core CPU's, and both can be unlocked to quad. The Athlon doesn't have L3 cache (but it can be unlocked), where as the Phenom has by default 6MB of L4 cache. Apparently the Phenom doesn't have L1 cache though (at least Newegg doesn't list it having it).

    The Athlon is 300Mhz faster then the Phenom as well, and comes with cooling (I would probably end up replacing the cooling eventually anyway though).

    After some quick, research, the Phenom seems better, but is this true?


    Honestly the Phenom gets an advantage due to L3 cache, and the Athlon gets an advantage due to higher clock speed, but they'll perform almost identical. If you overclock the Phenom to match the Athlons clock speed it will exceed the Athlon performance.

    Even if newegg isn't listing it, the Phenom II X3 720 has L1 cache, all AMD processors do, and I believe they all have the same amount of L1 cache.

    Both processors have a chance to unlock the 4th core, and the Athlon has a chance to unlock L3 cache but it isn't very likely. Athlon II X4 processors are manufactured with out the L3 cache to reduce cost, most Athlon II X3 processors won't have any L3 cache unlockable because it physically isn't there. However some Athlon II X3 chips are actually Phenom II X4 processors with the 4th core and L3 cache disabled, allowing for both to become unlocked.
  17. Core design? I don't quite know what that means, but heres the specs page for both CPU's:

    AMD Athlon II X3 445
    AMD Phenom II X3 720
  18. OK, the one is Rana and the other one is Heka - I don't know what ecsactly this means, but they appear to be not exactly the same /maybe there is some difference besides L3 cache/ and you may google on it if you wish, or it may just mean exactly that - the first one is manufactured phisically without L3, meaning no any chance of unlocking.
  19. pepe2907 said:
    OK, the one is Rana and the other one is Heka - I don't know what ecsactly this means, but they appear to be not exactly the same /maybe there is some difference besides L3 cache/ and you may google on it if you wish, or it may just mean exactly that - the first one is manufactured phisically without L3, meaning no any chance of unlocking.

    No, the L3 does not have anything to do with unlocking. Both can be unlocked ( but take note that is does not always depending on the chip ).
    The main purpose of the L3 gives the Phenom II X3 720 a performance boost over the Athlon which lacks L3.

    To the OP:
    As you already know, the only reason why the price is the same in spite of the Phenom II X3 720 being a more powerful CPU & have unlocked multiplier is because it is OEM version meaning there is no CPU cooler whereas the Athlon comes with a stock CPU cooler. The higher performance cost is offset by the lack of cooler but since you intend to buy an aftermarket cooler anyway, the 720BE is obviously the better buy with same chance of unlocking an extra core & overclocking up to 3.6Ghz or even more using after market cooler.
  20. Core design? I don't quite know what that means, but heres the specs page for both CPU's:

    AMD Athlon II X3 445
    AMD Phenom II X3 720

    both will perform the same more or less....

    However, the phenom 720 will be better at gaming(due to that nice big L3 cache), but it is an OEM part, so it has a year or less of warranty.

    The athlon 445 has a full 3yr warranty, and also has a slightly higher chance of unlockin to a quad core, but no L3 cache...

    the 6mb L3 cache,and the clock speeds are the only difference between the two actually, and the 445's 300mhz clock speed almost makes up for the 720 bigger cache...
  21. Alright cool, looks like the Phenom X3 720 is a decent choice then for a CPU.

    Also if anyone is curious, here was the exact quote from the person who advised against me getting a triple core CPU:

    Quote:
    Here's the thing, due to very unstable binning of X3 CPUs, I strongly advise against getting a tri core, both for the risk of burning the CPU when unlocking, as well as virtually every single app will run slower on a tri core than on a dual core, and there are even apps that will crash or corrupt data because of asymetric cores. This is a flaw of programming in general.
  22. For 10 dollar difference You might look at the Phenom 925. L3 and a for sure 4th core. More often than not the locked core is unstable.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006519%2050001028%2040000343&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&CompareItemList=343|19-103-652^19-103-652-TS%2C19-103-940^19-103-940-TS

    BTW I use Athlon 450 x3 and it overclocks to about 3.48 from 3.2 AND the locked 4th core is useless
  23. fr8mvr said:
    For 10 dollar difference You might look at the Phenom 925. L3 and a for sure 4th core. More often than not the locked core is unstable.

    the X3 720 also have L3. And what you show is not $10 difference but $20.
    In the beginning, the locked core is really more often than not is unstable. During the early manufacturing process, defective cores are locked and the chips were sold as X2 and X3. But as the demand for X2 & X3 increased, good cores are locked just to meet the demand. With the vast improvement in the manufacturing process, the yield for fully functioning quad core increased further increasing the chance of the locked cores being good cores. Having said this, it is no guarantee that all X2 or X3 sold today will unlock.
  24. fr8mvr said:

    BTW I use Athlon 450 x3 and it overclocks to about 3.48 from 3.2 AND the locked 4th core is useless

    Do you mean you are able to unlock but your unlocked core is unstable? Or you are not able to unlock at all?
    What is your motherboard, please.
  25. Well thanks for the feedback all. I just now purchased the final components for my computer, I think I did an ok job at it. For $100 I got a 600watt PSU + the Phenom X3, for $25 I got the TX3 cooler, and for $33 I got a 4GB DDR3 stick of RAM.
  26. Best answer selected by Espionage724.
  27. randomkid said:
    Do you mean you are able to unlock but your unlocked core is unstable? Or you are not able to unlock at all?
    What is your motherboard, please.

    I mean after i Unlock it it is not stable MB is a MSI88gm-e41
  28. randomkid said:
    the X3 720 also have L3. And what you show is not $10 difference but $20.
    In the beginning, the locked core is really more often than not is unstable. During the early manufacturing process, defective cores are locked and the chips were sold as X2 and X3. But as the demand for X2 & X3 increased, good cores are locked just to meet the demand. With the vast improvement in the manufacturing process, the yield for fully functioning quad core increased further increasing the chance of the locked cores being good cores. Having said this, it is no guarantee that all X2 or X3 sold today will unlock.

    When I posted Newegg had a code, which has now expired for an additional 10 off ;) Regardless of better manufacturing, the price difference between x3 and x4 is so minimal now that the odds are better for the x3 to actually have a bad core.
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