AMD Athlon II X2 / Phenom II X2 And Low-Power CPU Bonanza

Benchmark Results: Left 4 Dead, H.A.W.X., Grand Theft Auto 4

With the two most demanding games out of the way, we can move on to titles more likely to demonstrate platform limitation. Left 4 Dead seems to be able to put quad-core CPUs to work, as AMD’s Phenom II X4 905e blows past the Phenom II X2’s 600 MHz frequency advantage at both 1680x1050 and 1920x1200. The Athlon II and Pentium processors show their mainstream pedigrees here, trailing behind the rest of the pack.

There’s very little change with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering turned on, suggesting that our results are completely processor-limited since upping the graphics workload makes no impact at all on performance.

H.A.W.X. also shows a proclivity for AMD’s quad-core, which takes first place in both resolution tests. We again see the Athlon II and Pentium placing last. The dual-core Phenom II X2 actually doesn’t do that bad, placing behind AMD’s triple-core X3 and Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q8400.

The results even out a bit with anti-aliasing turned on (and ambient occlusion certainly isn’t helping load down the CPUs any), but there are still observable trends. The quad-core 905e is still the fastest chip tested, and the triple-core 705e is right behind it, suggesting that this title is able to take advantage of threading to a degree. Even the 3.1 GHz Phenom II X2 isn’t able to catch the lower-clocked low-power chips.

Say what you will about this console port (I’m still not a fan), but it certainly does emphasize processing performance—something we haven’t seen up until now, given the higher-end reviews in which we’ve been featuring Grand Theft Auto 4. AMD certainly leads the way with its Phenom IIs, though. The quad-core model approaches 50 fps at both resolutions with the X3 705e just behind it. Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q8400 places third and is followed by the Phenom II X2.

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  • IronRyan21Maybe if AMD would actually bring out some kind of nehalem competitor instead of flooding the cheapo market with variations of the same chips all over the place. There was Athlon 64 X2, brisbane and windsor, then there was Kuma, which was a phenom with 2 cores disabled. Now we got these new chips which are phenom 2s with 2 cores disabled. Lets put the money into some R&D and get somewhere. It seems like AMDs lost traction. sad.


    The low to mid-price segments are the best selling hardware categories.

    Believe it or not, the $100 bang-for-the-buck graphics cards by far outsell the $500 space heater graphics cards. As with graphics cards, $50-100 CPUs by far outsell the $300-1300 CPUs.

    The market that seems like most of the market - the enthusiasts and gamers - is actually not that much of the market share. Businesses building for performance-per-dollar, low-mid performance factory built home PCs, and people building web or media machines... these together outweigh the enthusiast/gamer market.
    28
  • @IronRyan: Why not start your own semiconductor company and show AMD how it's done? Can a similar argument not be applied to Intel's "double cheeseburger" quads, and "single patty" dual-cores? If we even get any non-quad i7/i5s, do you know if Intel won't just do the same thing? In the future, instead of coming up with some lame argument, just post this for each article:

    "Hi, my name's IronRyan, and I like Intel. Go team Intel, yay!!!!!"
    18
  • Other Comments
  • Maybe if AMD would actually bring out some kind of nehalem competitor instead of flooding the cheapo market with variations of the same chips all over the place. There was Athlon 64 X2, brisbane and windsor, then there was Kuma, which was a phenom with 2 cores disabled. Now we got these new chips which are phenom 2s with 2 cores disabled. Lets put the money into some R&D and get somewhere. It seems like AMDs lost traction. sad.
    -26
  • IronRyan21Maybe if AMD would actually bring out some kind of nehalem competitor instead of flooding the cheapo market with variations of the same chips all over the place. There was Athlon 64 X2, brisbane and windsor, then there was Kuma, which was a phenom with 2 cores disabled. Now we got these new chips which are phenom 2s with 2 cores disabled. Lets put the money into some R&D and get somewhere. It seems like AMDs lost traction. sad.


    The low to mid-price segments are the best selling hardware categories.

    Believe it or not, the $100 bang-for-the-buck graphics cards by far outsell the $500 space heater graphics cards. As with graphics cards, $50-100 CPUs by far outsell the $300-1300 CPUs.

    The market that seems like most of the market - the enthusiasts and gamers - is actually not that much of the market share. Businesses building for performance-per-dollar, low-mid performance factory built home PCs, and people building web or media machines... these together outweigh the enthusiast/gamer market.
    28
  • Those Phenom II 905e's and 705e's would be kickass if paired with the upcoming 785g motherboards.
    AMD has some new interesting CPU's.
    9
  • @IronRyan: Why not start your own semiconductor company and show AMD how it's done? Can a similar argument not be applied to Intel's "double cheeseburger" quads, and "single patty" dual-cores? If we even get any non-quad i7/i5s, do you know if Intel won't just do the same thing? In the future, instead of coming up with some lame argument, just post this for each article:

    "Hi, my name's IronRyan, and I like Intel. Go team Intel, yay!!!!!"
    18
  • Anyone else see the Athlon X2 and think that if they underclocked and undervolted it they'd finally have a legitimate mobile contender?
    If they can run 4 cores at 2.5ghz and 8mb cache on 65w they should be able to run 2 cores at 2.5 ghz and 2mb cache at less than 32.5w.
    9
  • Interesting article...I'm glad you put this against the E6300. I haven't seen much about this chip. It as if Intel just snuck on onto the market. I wonder how high of an overclock you can get with it....

    Onto the article, it seems as if the Phenom II x2 550 BE would a great chip in a value gaming rig. If you could unclock the extra cores and get it stable, you'd be one lucky man. Can't wait till see these on the Egg...
    2
  • Quickest Pentium, only one with a 1066 MHz bus, disappointing that it's missing some functionality, though.

    Anyone else reminded of GeForce 2 MX when they see how Intel is positioning its mainstream chips these days? I'm all for differentiating with performance to drive down price (even cutting performance-oriented features, like Hyper-Threading), but don't start shedding the actual capabilities of an architecture to handicap it.
    0
  • I would find the Phenom X2 550 interesting because many of the programs I still run today are singlethreaded.
    These programs benefit more from a higher clockrate than more cores.

    Keeping this in mind, and the fact that an OS doesn't (spectacularly) boot faster with more cores, I think the X2 is a great buy.
    I'm a bit dissapointed at the powerdraw. For a HDTV box you don't necessarily need to buy a Radeon 4850. Perhaps a lower powerdraw (and price) in the 4770 or 4670 will be better.
    To playback full HD (1080p) I suppose a Radeon HD 2900XT would be enough.
    Add office tasks, internetting, some photoshop, and casual gaming on a 22"monitor (1680x1050 pix), and a Radeon 4670 would be enough in most cases.
    If you have a 24" monitor (1920x1200 pix) a Radeon 4770 would do.
    Only when latest gaming is concerned should you go for a Radeon 4870 or a 4890.
    2
  • Cant...wait...for...AthlonII.
    -2
  • Pro, for an HTPC, you'd be fine with a 4670, more than likely. The challenge will be building a system able to keep that setup cool enough. The Maui box with the 905e was *near-silent* but a discrete card would have wrecked this, and a 4670 is almost too much card to be passively-cooled (a la Ultimate-style) without better airflow in the case.
    0
  • IronRyansSister@IronRyan: Why not start your own semiconductor company and show AMD how it's done? Can a similar argument not be applied to Intel's "double cheeseburger" quads, and "single patty" dual-cores? If we even get any non-quad i7/i5s, do you know if Intel won't just do the same thing? In the future, instead of coming up with some lame argument, just post this for each article:"Hi, my name's IronRyan, and I like Intel. Go team Intel, yay!!!!!"


    Is this guy serious? He counters another reader's argument by taunting him? Seriously.
    0
  • Huh, I had assumed that the new Athlon line was just going to be Phenom IIs with cache/cores disabled. I guess this dedicated design is just a more efficient way to sell silicon than disabling good chips?
    -3
  • billybobsIs this guy serious? He counters another reader's argument by taunting him? Seriously.

    the othe reader did not have much of an argument to begin with so he deserved the taunting
    1
  • A performance per watt graph would have been nice especially as this was an article comparing lower powered processors as most of us dont run ours at full load for extended periods of time.
    0
  • Wow! I am waintin til the price comes down on the 905e, then I'm gettin one. For htpc build, It looks mighty tempting.
    0
  • All this like many other toms articles show me there is not much difference between closely released proximity hardware!
    2
  • WoooooooooooooAll this like many other toms articles show me there is not much difference between closely released proximity hardware!


    When a release is incremental and evolutionary in nature, that's a pretty safe bet. There's no use in us embellishing the differences for theatrical effect now, is there?
    0
  • @BillyBob: IronRyan posts an equally pointless pro-Intel fanboy comment everytime any article is posted, I couldn't take the waste of LCD screen space any longer, somebody had to say something.
    3
  • Hit me with something Intel! And hit me with good/cheep or you may lose mainstream very quickly...
    1
  • Is is me or iTunes shouldn`t be used as a benchmark since it`s beeing developed by apple wich uses only Intel CPU`s, and lame audio encoding ... i mean look at the other 2 multimedia programs used and look at those 2.
    7