AMD Athlon X4 845 CPU ReviewWaco , BluePanda -
» Discuss this article (2)
AMD Athlon X4 845 Introduction:
It's been a while since AMD introduced a new CPU core type on the desktop market, but today we have the privilege of testing the newest iteration out of AMD's workshop: Excavator. Excavator arrives in the form of the AMD Athlon X4 845: a curious CPU rated at 65 watts, yet bundled with a 95 watt cooler and in the FM2+ socket. Excavator cores have previously been restricted to the mobile market, with desktop users stuck with the older Piledriver cores. While not arriving on the traditional desktop platform of choice (AM3+), the X4 845 does arrive on the FM2+ socket that usually targets a lower price point. The Athlon X4 845 rocks a 3.5GHz base clock and a 3.8GHz turbo clock, dual Excavator modules each with two cores, and eight lanes of PCI Express 3.0. I won't make you wait on this one, the Athlon X4 845 is available for under $60. No, that's not a typo! Under $60 puts "budget gaming" in a whole new light!
So, AMD is delivering us a quad-core CPU clocked reasonably high, with a new core type never seen on desktop systems, and it costs less than a nice dinner out on the town. Surely there's something you must give up here, but what is it? Can it deliver enough performance to satisfy your gaming urges?
AMD Athlon X4 845 Closer Look:
AMD was kind enough to send along a typical board you'd want to pair with the X4 845: the ASRock A88M-G/3.1. Available for just around $60, you're looking at a fully-featured board that provides the latest connectivity options: eight SATA3 ports, an M.2 PCIe SSD slot, a slew of USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports, and the usual sound, network, and graphics connectivity options most utilized by gamers. As you'll see later, I'm partial to the color scheme on this board as well, as it is a true red and black design.
Here we see the usual AMD packaging for Athlon chips: black with a red Athlon logo. You can see the chip through the side of the box, so if you were hunting for a specific stepping, you technically could do so if you were at a retail store. The label has all of the specs that one might care about and doubles as a seal for the box itself. You will note that the bottom corner of the front of the box is emblazoned, "Requires discrete GPU;" the X4 845 is not part of the AMD APU lineup that comes with an onboard GPU. This cuts costs for you, since you're going to be gaming with a discrete card anyway, right? One thing to remember, because this is a mobile-derived CPU, you only get eight lanes of PCI Express 3.0 to power that discrete GPU. This is unlikely to be a limitation given current GPUs and how well they utilize PCIe bandwidth, but don't expect to be able to fully drive both PCIe slots with RAID cards or other throughput-intensive additions.
Behold, the AMD Athlon X4 845! Underneath that integrated heat spreader is a pair of Excavator modules with 2MB of L2 cache that run at 3.8GHz turbo and 3.5GHz base clocks. The 65 watt TDP is a nice bonus, as this should allow for cooler operating temperatures along with less noise when heavily loaded. Further driving home the target of quiet operation is the included 95 watt TDP cooler, which shouldn't be stressed at all with 30 extra watts of cooling headroom! All of this combined with the higher IPC of the new core type should prove to be a potent weapon for gaming bliss at a sweet price point.
Home at last, the Athlon X4 845 looks... well, like any other CPU in a motherboard. However, I can't fault AMD here for the red and black color scheme. Everything about the included board screams quality, even though the combined price of the pair is around $120. That is not only cheaper than almost any alternative out there, but you aren't missing out on any connectivity that you'd expect on a modern machine.