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AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 45nm Socket AM3 Processor Review

AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 45nm Socket AM3 Processor Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition processor is one of the first Phenom II processors, and it's got a secret that has PCSTATS very excited.
 78% Rating:   
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD Feb 28 2009   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition

Socket AM3 and compatibility

The second is a shift to a 45nm production process, which shrinks the size of the transistors inside the processor so they lose less power and become more energy-efficient. Having less wasted power also means that the overall temperature of the processor goes down.


Socket AM3 and compatibility

This handy chart helps explain some of the confusion that is AMD's current lineup of CPUs and motherboards. The new Phenom II processors will be launching in socket AM3 (938 pin) and socket AM2+ (940 pin) versions. The Phenom socket AM3 processors are actually backwards compatible with socket AM2+ motherboards and have unofficial compatibility with socket AM2 motherboards as long as those motherboards support 140W processors and have appropriate BIOS updates.

When the socket AM3 version of Phenom II is running in a socket AM3 motherboard, it can take advantage of its integrated DDR3 memory controller. When it's placed in a socket AM2+ or socket AM2 motherboard, it will change its memory controller into DDR2 mode. This makes it easy for owners of older socket AM2+ and AM2 motherboards to simply drop in a Socket AM3 Phenom II and enjoy an easy performance upgrade.

The Phenom II socket AM2+ variant, and any other socket AM2+ and socket AM2 processors aren't forwards-compatible with socket AM3 motherboards. Although socket AM3 processors have 938 pins, socket AM3 motherboards actually have 941 pins, and have changed the pin contact positions so that socket AM2+ and socket AM2 processors won't be able to physically fit inside the new motherboard socket.

Multi-cores explained

In recent years both AMD and Intel have started changing their processors away from traditional single-processor designs. Processors with multiple cores were introduced, with each core acting like sub-processors inside a single physical chip. The switch to multiple cores was made in order to keep up with the increasing amount of simultaneous tasks a computer is doing in the background, sometimes while more intensive programs are running n the foreground.

Just running Windows and having a program like Adobe Photoshop open at the same time created a situation where a single-core processor would have to swap between running Windows and then back to running Photoshop, and switching back and forth between the two would waste processor cycles. Multiple cores are able to handle this problem by having once core handle the Windows process, and one core handling Photoshop, which made multi-tasking a whole lot faster.

Intial AMD Socket AM3 Processors
Price Socket AM3 Processors Clock Speed L3 Cache Size L2 Cache Size Process Power
- Phenom II X4 910 2.6 GHz 6MB 2MB (512KB per core) 45nm 95W
$175 Phenom II X4 810 2.6 GHz 4MB 2MB (512KB per core) 45nm 95W
$200 Phenom II X4 805 2.5 GHz 4MB 2MB (512KB per core) 45nm 95W
$145 Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8 GHz 6MB 1.5MB (512KB per core) 45nm 95W
$125 Phenom II X3 710 2.6 GHz 6MB 1.5MB (512KB per core) 45nm 95W

Now that processors have scaled to two, three, or four cores on a single chip, software developers have started exploring new ways of taking advantage of this extra processing output. Applications can split different parts of their workload into separate threads, and then give each of those threads to a separate processor core, further reducing processor bottlenecks. As multiple-cores are a very recent development for desktop processors, not every piece of software will take full advantage of them, and some applications will remain much more suited to be run as a single thread instead of broken up into smaller, multi-threaded computations.

There are already a few applications that can take advantage of lots of cores running in parallel. Video encoding in programs like Adobe Premier or Windows Media Encoder can let each core encode a single frame at a time, and 3D rendering programs like 3D Studio MAX can let each core calculate a separate frame for rendering. Other multi-threaded applications like particle simulation, weather forecasting and material physics can also take advantage of extra processor cores, but these programs are generally made for specific niche markets, and most users will never hear of them, let alone use them.

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Contents of Article: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
 Pg 1.  AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 45nm Socket AM3 Processor Review
 Pg 2.  Enter the Dragon (Platform)
 Pg 3.  — Socket AM3 and compatibility
 Pg 4.  System Power Draw Tests
 Pg 5.  45nm Overclocking Potential?
 Pg 6.  Test System Specs / Benchmarks: Sysmark, PCMark Vantage
 Pg 7.  32-Bit CPU Synthetic Benchmarks: Sandra 2009 Processor / Memory
 Pg 8.  32-Bit CPU Calculation Benchmarks: Super Pi, wPrime2.0
 Pg 9.  32-Bit CPU Calculation Benchmarks: ScienceMark2, WinRAR
 Pg 10.  32-Bit CPU Rendering Benchmarks: Cinebench R10, Bibble 5
 Pg 11.  32-Bit CPU Rendering Benchmarks: POV-Ray, 3.7, SPECviewPerf 10
 Pg 12.  32-Bit CPU Synthetic Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 06
 Pg 13.  32-Bit CPU Gaming Benchmarks: Crysis, FEAR
 Pg 14.  Conclusions: World's First Triple-Core CPU

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