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AMD Athlon II X2 250 3.0 GHz Socket AM3 Processor Review

AMD Athlon II X2 250 3.0 GHz Socket AM3 Processor Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Enter the socket AM3, AMD Athlon II X2 250 microprocessor - a new 3.0GHz mainstream dual-core chip based on the Phenom 'Deneb' architecture, but crucially stripped of all L3 cache.
 79% Rating:   
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD Jun 02 2009   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD Athlon II X2 250

System Power Draw Tests and Overclocking

AMD's latest Athlon II CPUs are built on a 45nm manufacturing process. It will be interesting to see if this, and re-architecting of the Athlon II's microprocessor reduce power draw significantly compared to Intel's CPUs.

As always, before any power measurements are taken the CPU power saving and clock speed throttling technologies like Cool 'n' Quiet, EIST (speedstep) and C1E power states are disabled. PCSTATS then set about stressing each core of the processor one by one, until all cores were loaded.

For this we used Stress Prime (SP2004). The total system power consumption, measured in Watts, is monitored with an Extech Power Analyzer Datalogger (model 380803). The power meter is located between the main 120AC supply and the PC's power supply so it measures the entire computer system, the difference between CPU loaded and unloaded states is the key value to pay attention to.

Total System Idle Power Draw
Processor Total System Power Draw
Intel Pentium 4 540 150 Watts
Intel Pentium D 840 165 Watts
Intel Pentium D 940 168 Watts
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 117 Watts
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 123 Watts
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 131 Watts
Intel Core i7 920 144 Watts
AMD Sempron 3600+ 120 Watts
AMD Athlon64 4000+ 163 Watts
AMD Athlon64 FX-60 127 Watts
AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ 143 Watts
AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+ 156 Watts
AMD Athlon64 FX-62 168 Watts
AMD Athlon II X2 250 128 Watts
AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE

145 Watts

AMD Phenom II X3 720 155 Watts
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 148 Watts

Total idle system power draw for the Athlon II X2 250 test system is 128W, which is the lowest power consumption we've seen from an AMD processor for quite some time. Moving down to 45nm has definitely helped keep the Athlon II's typical power consumption low (65W).

Total System Stressed Power Draw - All Cores/Threads
Processor Total System Power Draw (All Cores)
Intel Pentium 4 540 223 Watts
Intel Pentium D 840 (2 Core ) 240 Watts
Intel Pentium D 940 (2 Core Load) 253 Watts
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2 Core Load) 156 Watts
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (2 Core Load) 163 Watts
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (2 Core Load) 158 Watts
Intel Core i7 920 (8 Thread Load) 158 Watts
AMD Sempron 3600+ 148 Watts
AMD Athlon64 4000+ 172 Watts
AMD Athlon64 FX-60 (2 Core Load) 196 Watts
AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ (2 Core Load) 173 Watts
AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+ (2 Core Load) 207 Watts
AMD Athlon64 FX-62 (2 Core Load) 235 Watts
AMD Athlon II X2 250 (1 Core Load) 146 Watts
AMD Athlon II X2 250 (2 Core Load) 163 Watts
AMD Phenom II X2 550 (2 Core Load) 181 Watts
AMD Phenom II X3 720 (3 Core Load) 213 Watts
AMD Phenom II X4 955 (4 Core Load) 236 Watts

The two cores of the Athlon II X2 250 were next stressed and the total system power draw measured at single and dual-core CPU loads. Under load the Athlon II PC test system was significantly more efficient than AMD's previous dual-core chips, although some of Intel's Core 2 Duo processors are still more wattage friendly.

Overclocking: Will 45nm improve this chip's potential?

Overclocking Results:
Stock Max. OC
Processor Speed: 3.0 GHz

3.75 GHz

Multiplier / Bus Speed: 15x 200MHz

15x 250MHz

If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard

The 3.0GHz Socket AM3 45nm AMD Athlon II X2 processor is based on an architecture with a long and proud overclocking heritage, and usually when a processor architecture goes through a die shrink, overclocking potential increases. It'll be interesting to see how this 45nm Athlon II X2 CPU handles being pushed to the limit.

Before the overclocking tests got underway, a set of Corsair XMS3-1600C9 memory was first set to run at DDR3-800 MHz mode, this way it will not hold the CPU back. Keeping the 15x CPU clock multiplier, the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard saw its bus speed increased slowly from 200MHz on up.

Overclocking in 10 MHz increments, the AMD Athlon II X2 250 processor was slowly pushed to 210 MHz... 220... 240... and 250MHz before the system began experiencing any signs of instability. At that point the processor voltage had to be increased +0.1V, the CPU NB to +0.1V and memory +0.25V to stabilize the system.

The AMD Athlon II X2 250 maxed at a motherboard clock speed of 250 MHz (or 3.75 GHz), anything higher and the system was just too unstable to run.

In the end, PCSTATS was able to squeeze a 750MHz overclock out of the new 65W, 45nm process technology AMD Athlon II X2 processor. Not bad at all for a chip that costs less than $90!

Now for the bit you've been really looking forward to. The Athlon II X2 250 is strapped into the test bench, and we've got a full suite of benchmarks waiting to see how well AMD's new processor line holds up.

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Contents of Article: AMD Athlon II X2 250
 Pg 1.  AMD Athlon II X2 250 3.0 GHz Socket AM3 Processor Review
 Pg 2.  — System Power Draw Tests and Overclocking
 Pg 3.  Test System Specs / Benchmarks: Sysmark, PCMark Vantage
 Pg 4.  32-Bit CPU Synthetic Benchmarks: Sandra 2009 Processor / Memory
 Pg 5.  32-Bit CPU Calculation Benchmarks: Super Pi, wPrime2.0, ScienceMark2, WinRAR
 Pg 6.  32-Bit CPU Rendering Benchmarks: Cinebench R10, Bibble 5
 Pg 7.  32-Bit CPU Rendering Benchmarks: POV-Ray, 3.7, SPECviewPerf 10
 Pg 8.  32-Bit CPU Synthetic Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 06
 Pg 9.  32-Bit CPU Gaming Benchmarks: Crysis, FEAR

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