Athlon II X3 435: AMD's Three-Core, 2.9 GHz, $87 Triple-Threat

The 'New' Athlon II X3

There is really nothing new to talk about when it comes to the X3 flavor of the Athlon II. AMD is simply leveraging the existing quad-core Athlon II die to fit into another market segment by disabling one of the four CPU cores on-board. The triple-core version of the Athlon II die is code-named 'Rana.'

Leveraging the same architechture means that the Athlon II X3 will have similar per-core specifications as the Athlon II X4 with which we're already familiar: 128KB of L1 cache per core, 512KB of L2 cache per core, and none of the shared L3 cache from the premium Phenom II family.

Of course, the new Athlon II X3s retain the same great AM3 upgradeability; they can be used on older AM2+ motherboards as an upgrade option, or on a brand new AM3 motherboard.

While the specifications are old hat, what might pique your interest is the price/performance ratio of the new Athlon II X3 lineup, specifically the new 435 model CPU:

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Athlon II X3 and Phenom II X3 Product Lineup - Standard Models
CPU:Athlon II X3 425Athlon II X3 435Phenom II X3 710Phenom II X3 720Black Edition
CPU Cores:3333
Multiplier:13.514.51314 (unlocked)
Clock Speed:2.7 GHz2.9 GHz2.6 GHz2.8 GHz
L1 Cache:3 x 128KB3 x 128KB3 x 128KB3 x 128KB
L2 Cache:3 x 512KB3 x 512KB3 x 512KB3 x 512KB
L3 Cache:N/AN/A6MB6MB
Hypertransport:4,000 MHz4,000 MHz4,000 MHz4,000 MHz
Thermal Envelope:95W95W95W95W
Price:$76 (MSRP)$87 (MSRP)$100 (Newegg)$119 (Newegg)

Here is where things get really interesting. We already know that, at $120, the Phenom II X3 720 BE is one of the best performing CPUs for the money. We also know that the shared L3 cache featured by the Phenom II models is nice to have, but it doesn't always offer a notable clock-for-clock performance increase over the Athlon II family.

Isn't it compelling, then, that the new Athlon II X3 435 has a 100 MHz clock speed advantage over its Phenom II X3 720 predecessor, yet costs only three-quarters of the price? Surely that 100 MHz clock speed advantage will offset a good portion of the L3 cache disadvantage.

We strongly suspect this combination of triple-cores, high clocks, and low price will result in a three-punch knockout (though it's still unclear whether Intel will be the sole recipient, or if there will be collateral damage in AMD's lineup as well). We'll have to wait for the benchmarks to confirm that, but before we do we have a handful of new CPU models from AMD to look at--the new low-power variants designed to fill holes in the company's portfolio.

  • wintermint
    AMD CPUs been appealing to budget builders lately :)
  • invlem
    I think my HTPC just found its new processor, been running a 5200+ for the last while
  • ominous prime
    AMD is really thriving in the budget sector, I wonder how the i3's will affect the market. I hope AMD can get back to head to head with Intel on the high end though.
  • rdawise
    Smart move by AMD by attacking the budget crowd (especially around the holiday season). I am surprised how well this thing did against the X2 550! Seems like a good candidate for a budget gaming/multipurpose build. Any release dates available (for NewEgg)?
  • tacoslave
    this is awesome but (and its a big one) i kinda wanted to see something that pwns intels core i7 in everything. Kind of like what they are doing in the graphics department but total domination. How long will i wait!!!
  • lemonade4

    2 cores 2 threads?
  • JonathanDeane
    3 cores at almost 3Ghz for this cheap? Hmmm not a huge AMD fan but this is plenty of CPU for most people. I would snap one up if I was building a system right now.
  • DokkRokken
    That's one impressive little chip! Pair this with a 770 chipset and you'd have the basis for a cheap and cheerful gaming PC!
  • cleeve
    lemonade4 0Stock.jpg2 cores 2 threads?
    Aha! Thanks for catching that. After I had done the testing I was playing around with disabling CPU cores in the OS, and I forgot to turn them back on to take the screenshot. Fixed!
  • sonofliberty08
    did the disable core of Athlon II X3 435 can be unlock ?