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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

32-Bit CPU Gaming Benchmarks: Crysis, FEAR

Crysis 1.2

Source: Electronic Arts

Crysis is a science fiction first-person shooter developed by Crytek. Crysis uses Microsoft's new API, DirectX 10 for graphics rendering, and includes the new engine—the CryEngine 2—that is the successor to Far Cry's CryEngine. CryEngine 2 is among the first engines to use the DirectX 10 framework of Windows Vista, but can also run using DirectX 9, both on Vista and Windows XP.

Higher results are better.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportCrysis v1.2.1 No AA
800x600 LQ Physics Very High FPS Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 117.47
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 114.905
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 104.09
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 101.98
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR2) 83.65
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR3) 87.41
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 97.89
AMD Athlon II X2 250 87.76
1024x768 LQ Physics Very High FPS Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 117.01
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 114.72
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 103.75
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 101.72
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR2) 83.77
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR3) 87.71
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 96.83
AMD Athlon II X2 250 88.59
800x600 LQ FPS Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 115.95
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 115.355
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 104.09
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 101.14
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR2) 84.09
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR3) 87.01
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 96.33
AMD Athlon II X2 250 88.4
1024x768 LQ FPS Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 117.06
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 115.52
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 104.59
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 101.19
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR2) 84.13
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR3) 87.47
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 95.95
AMD Athlon II X2 250 88.74

In Crysis the performance difference between the Athlon II X2 250 and the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition becomes a bit more pronounced. As you're probably used to, the Core 2 Duos still pull ahead of both by a small margin.

Sierra FEAR 1.08

Source: Sierra

FEAR is Sierra's latest first person shooter which relies heavily on DirectX 9 features. With its "Soft Shadows" feature enabled, even the fastest videocards run at a crawl, FEAR is definitely the new benchmark for future FPS games to follow.

Higher results are better.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSierra FEAR 1.08 No AA
640x480 LQ FPS Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 701
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 757
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 713
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 711
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR2) 632
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR3) 642
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 667
AMD Athlon II X2 250 536
800x600 LQ FPS Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 692
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 752
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 689
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 703
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR2) 590
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR3) 597
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 654
AMD Athlon II X2 250 526
1024x768 LQ FPS Ranking
Intel Core i7 920 673
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 722
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 572
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 667
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR2) 483
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (DDR3) 491
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 636
AMD Athlon II X2 250 496

Here the new Athlon II processor finished slightly ahead of the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition.

So how's the new Athlon II X2 250 stack up after all of these benchmarks? Let's boil everything down and see how it compares!

Conclusions: Is a $90 Athlon II X2 250 Worth it?

AMD's move to 45nm has helped usher in something that we love seeing here at the PCSTATS labs: healthy competition.

AMD was in a rough spot for a while. Its dual-core CPUs were too large and too hot to keep up with Intel's Core 2 Duo's, and the only way it remained competitive was through heavy discounting, at times being sold at a loss.

Re-architechting for 45nm manufacturing has helped turn things around. I've already spoken about the 45nm Phenom II processors here at PCSTATS, and now that AMD is transitioning its midrange and mainstream processors to the 45nm production process, the real benefits are starting to become more clear.

The dual-core Athlon II X2 250 is a processor that doesn't have pretensions of power. It's not going to break any MHz speed records or push a fantastic amount of GFLOPS. Instead it's going to give buyers the processing power they need for day-to-day tasks, while keeping its cost and power levels low. At 3.0GHz, the socket AM3 Athlon II X2 250 processor is speedy in most desktop and office applications, and will work with either DDR2 or DDR3 memory (depending on the PC system).

AMD has cut away the L3 cache from the 'Deneb' architecture and beefed up the Athlon II's L2 cache so that both cores have a megabyte of cache each. The improved L2 cache replaces the underused L3 cache that was in the previous Athlon 7000-series of processors, and has the side effect of cutting the Athlon II's size down to just 117.5mm2/ 235M transistors / 65Watts.

Thanks to the small overall size of the processor, the Athlon II X2 250 doesn't draw much power or produce a lot of heat. Overall power usage was competitive with Intel's Core 2 Duo lineup of processors, the closest AMD has come yet to rivaling Intel's power efficiency.

Overclocking the AMD Athlon II X2 250 was actually pretty easy, and using just air cooling PCSTATS pushed it from 3000MHz to 3750Mhz. While it's doubtful that there's going to be a lot of overclocking going on in the mainstream market segment, having the option of getting some free performance out of your processor is always a plus.

Despite the change in name and socket type, the AM3-format Athlon II X2 250 processor is actually backwards compatible with socket AM2+ motherboards as well as socket AM3. AMD has made upgrading to an Athlon II or transitioning to a new AM3/DDR3-based platform easy and inexpensive, which really helps in the entry-level and mainstream CPU market.

Indeed, at $96 CDN ($87 USD, £55 GBP), the biggest competition the Athlon II X2 250 has is from other AMD processors. The Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition tends to be a little bit faster across the board, and doesn't cost a whole lot more. AMD also has a ton of processors in the $65-90 range that are still on shelves, some of which have larger cache sizes and clock speeds than the Athlon II X2 250, and make it more difficult for the first Athlon II processor to really distinguish itself.

That's more of an issue for AMD's retail managers than for the well-educated readers of PCSTATS though. If you're looking to spend less than $100 on a new AMD CPU upgrade, the Athlon II X2 250 is a very easy choice. It's power-efficient, cool, inexpensive and has enough CPU horsepower and overclocking potential to let you keep up with today's desktop applications.

PCSTATS Best Value Award

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< Previous Page © 2017 PCSTATS.com CPU / Processors News»

 

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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