AMD Phenom II X6 1075T, X4 970, X2 560, Athlon II X4 645, X3 450 & X2 265 Review

ajmatson - 2010-09-04 08:06:51 in CPU's
Category: CPU's
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: September 20, 2010
Price: $245 - $76

Introduction:

From time to time a processor manufacturer will tweak current silicon, pushing a more stable clock speed. This is what gives us different processors speeds in the same family such as the Intel i7 and AMD Phenom II series. These tweaks, or “speed bumps” as they are sometimes referred to, are what bring us the faster or slower models. This is quite common in computer memory where some chips are "binned" at higher speed levels. This is how the same series memory can have 1333MHz with CAS 9 or 1600MHz with CAS 7 when using the same memory chips. While processors are not binned, the silicon is from time to time tweaked and that brings up the next model in a series. AMD uses a process called Automated Precision Manufacturing (APM) to make constant process improvements to its silicon.

Today we are going to be taking a look at several "updates" to the Phenom II and Athlon II line in which the process was able to tweak and improve the current silicon, creating a faster batch of chips. From the Phenom II line we have the X6 1075T, which AMD markets to bridge the gap between the higher end 1090T and the entry six core 1055T. There is also the X4 970, which is a bump up from the X4 965 and the X2 560, which is next in line after the X2 555. On the Athlon II side we have the newer X4 645 quad core, X3 450 triple core and the X2 265 dual core, all taking their respective leads.

 

Closer Look:

AMD like any manufacturer will, from time to time, make these improvements that make a new part number with better speeds and abilities such as overclocking and lower temperatures. These releases are what keep us going when waiting for a whole new product, like maybe a Phenom III or perhaps a Phenom II X8? Either way, when a new processor comes out I cannot wait to get my hands on it and push it to the dirt. As with most of us reading here, overclocking is a passion and usually our first thoughts are how high we can push the hardware. Today we are going to be looking at three new Phenom II series and three new Athlon II series chips that are "speed bumps" from current hardware. These are designed to fill the gaps until the next major release. So how much better will these be than their counterparts? That is what we are here to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first CPU up on the bench is the AMD Phenom II X6 1075T, codename Thuban, which is the latest hexa core release from AMD. Designed using a 45nm manufacturing process, the X6 1075T is designed to fill the gap between the higher end X6 1090T Black Edition and the entry six core X6 1055T. The Phenom II X6 1075T is clocked at a modest 3.0GHz and has a turbo core speed of 3.5GHz. In case you are not familiar with Turbo Core, it is a technology built into AMD's six core chips that will turn off three cores when the full weight of the processor is not needed and automatically pushes up the speed of the active three cores to provide a small boost to compensate. The X6 1075T has all of the same features of the other AMD six cores, including HyperTransport 3.0 support for AM2+ and AM3 motherboard with the ability to run with DDR2 and DDR3 memory. The X6 1075T also features the same 512KB per core, 3MB total L2 cache and a shared 6MB L3 cache. The maximum TDP for the X6 1075T is 125 watts and if it's just like it's big brother I suspect it should have some good overclock speeds. The Phenom II X6 1075T is to be released at $245.

 

 

The next processor up on the testing bench is the latest of the Deneb line, the AMD Phenom II X4 970. This processor takes the flagship quad core spot from the widely used and respected X4 965. The X6 970 pushes the stock speed to a blistering 3.5GHz, which makes it the highest clocked Phenom II chip available. The X4 970 is also a Black Edition processor, which gives it an unlocked multiplier, allowing for easier overclocks by keeping all of the other hardware at their stock speeds since the reference clock does not have to be altered to overclock the CPU. The Phenom II X4 970 also has the same combined L2 cache of 2MB and shared L3 cache of 6MB as the X4 960. The maximum TDP of the 970 is 125 watts and it supports both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, depending on the motherboard platform it is paired with. The Phenom II X4 970 is to released at a low $185.

 

 

The last of the Phenom II processors we are looking at is a dual core offering, codenamed Calisto, which is the Phenom II X2 560. Like the X4 970 above, this is a Black Edition chip that has an unlocked multiplier allowing for easier and sometimes higher overclocks. This processor brings a new hope to the X2 line with a higher stock clock speed of 3.3GHz and of course, the possibility of being unlocked to a four core processor as we have seen in the past with some Phenom II X2 chips. This processor features a 1MB total L2 cache and a shared 6MB of L3 cache. As with other AM3 processors it also features HyperTransport 3.0 and supports DDR2 and DDR3 memory depending on the motherboard platform chosen to run on. It has a maximum TDP of 80 watts, which is lower than the X6 and X4 on the test benches today. At release, the Phenom II X2 560 is set to be a really low $105, which gives this CPU a great bang for the buck. If you are a lucky one to get a version that can be unlocked to all four cores, you definitely have a low cost gem.

 

 

Now we move on to the Athlon II line with the first chip codenamed Propus, the Athlon II X4 645. This chip takes the lead from the X4 640 and is clocked at a higher 3.1GHz. Unlike the Phenom II line, the Athlon II processors do not have an L3 cache so the X4 645 is limited to 512KB of L2 cache per core, or 2MB total. The Athlon II line also supports HyperTransport 3.0 and can be paired with DDR2 memory on an AM2+ motherboard as well as DDR3 memory on an AM3 motherboard. The Athlon II X4 645 has a maximum TDP of 95 watts, which makes it a bit cooler than the Phenom II quad cores. None of the Athlon IIs are Black Edition processors so there will be no unlocked multipliers here so I am intrigued to see how well the X4 645 overclocks. At release, the Athlon II X4 645 will run $122.

 

 

Next up in the Athlon II line is AMD's latest Triple Core, the Athlon II X3 450, codenamed Rana. Triple core processors are designed to bridge the gap between the lower end dual cores and the higher end quad cores. The addition of an additional core gives you a bit of a boost without having to spend a lot of money on a quad core processor. At release, the X3 450 is to be going for a mere $87, which is a good price point from the more expensive X4 645 but offers increased power from the dual cores. The Athlon II X4 450 is clocked at 3.2GHz and has a combined L2 cache of 1.5MB, or 512KB per core. Again, the Athlon IIs do not have an L3 cache. This processor is also an AM3 CPU and is backwards compatible with all the features and support of socket AM2+ motherboards.

 

 

Finally we have the last Athlon II on the test bench, the dual core Athlon II X2 265, codenamed Regor. The Athlon II X2 line is the budget CPU for those wanting stable computing without having to break the bank. Priced at only $76 at launch, it is the cheapest processor out of the bunch today but will not be counted out. The X2 265 packs the largest per core L2 cache out of the Athlon IIs with 1MB per core instead of the usual 512KB. This brings the total L2 cache of the X2 265 to 2MB, which is more than the total L2 of the triple core X3 450 above. With one less core but more cache, it will be interesting to see where the X2 sits performance-wise. Everything else is the same with the X2 including HyperTransport 3.0 and support for both AM2+ and AM3 motherboards along with DDR2 and DDR3 memory support.

 

 

Now that we have seen the newest batch of CPUs, let's see how they perform for us.

Specifications:

Model Number:
Phenom II X6 1075T
Phenom II X4 970 BE
Phenom II X2 560 BE
Athlon II X4 645
Athlon II X3 450
Athlon II X2 265
Codename:
Thuban
Deneb
Calisto
Propus
Rana
Regor
OPN:
HDT75TFBK6DGR
HDZ970FBK4DGM
HDZ560WFK2DGM
ADX645WFK42GM
ADX450WFK32GM
ADX265OCK23GM
Clock Frequency:
3.0GHz
3.5GHz
3.3GHz
3.1GHz
3.2GHz
3.3GHz
Boost Frequency:
3.5GHz
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Max TDP:
125 Watts
125 Watts
80 Watts
95 Watts
95 Watts
65 Watts
Cache Size:
L1 Cache 64K (each for Instruction + Data)
L2 Cache: 512KB per core (3MB Total)
L3 Cache: 6MB Shared L3
L1 Cache 64K (each for Instruction + Data)
L2 Cache: 512KB per core (2MB Total)
L3 Cache: 6MB Shared L3
L1 Cache 64K (each for Instruction + Data)
L2 Cache: 512KB per core (1MB Total)
L3 Cache: 6MB Shared L3
L1 Cache 64K (each for Instruction + Data)
L2 Cache: 512KB per core (2MB Total)
 
L1 Cache 64K (each for Instruction + Data)
L2 Cache: 512KB per core (1.5MB Total)
 
L1 Cache 64K (each for Instruction + Data)
L2 Cache: 1MB per core (2MB Total)
 
Process Technology:
45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
HyperTransport Technology Links:
One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
Memory:
Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller with speeds: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller with speeds: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller with speeds: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller with speeds: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller with speeds: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller with speeds: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Types of Memory:
support unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)
support unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)
support unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)
support unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)
support unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)
support unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)
Die Size:
346mm2
258mm2
258mm2
169mm2
169mm2
117.5mm2
Packaging:
Socket AM3 - 938-pin organic micro Pin Grid Array (micro-PGA) (Backwards compatible with AM2+ 940-pin)
Socket AM3 - 938-pin organic micro Pin Grid Array (micro-PGA) (Backwards compatible with AM2+ 940-pin)
Socket AM3 - 938-pin organic micro Pin Grid Array (micro-PGA) (Backwards compatible with AM2+ 940-pin)
Socket AM3 - 938-pin organic micro Pin Grid Array (micro-PGA) (Backwards compatible with AM2+ 940-pin)
Socket AM3 - 938-pin organic micro Pin Grid Array (micro-PGA) (Backwards compatible with AM2+ 940-pin)
Socket AM3 - 938-pin organic micro Pin Grid Array (micro-PGA) (Backwards compatible with AM2+ 940-pin)

 

Features: 

 

All information courtsey of Advanced Micro Devices.

Testing:

Here at OverclockersClub we put our hardware through a rigorous testing program. We use a combination of scientific and video benchmarks designed to push and stress the components, giving us a good idea on how they will perform for us in everyday computing. All of the supporting hardware is run at the same speeds, timings, voltages and latencies to ensure that there are no outside variables that will interfere with the scores.
 

 

Testing Setup AMD AM3 Processors:

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i5/i7 Socket 1156

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 1366

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i5 Clarksdale Socket 1156

 

Comparison CPUs:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

Overclocking the Phenom II X4 970 and the X2 560 was a snap since they are Black Edition processors with unlocked multipliers. To overclock them I took the voltage to 1.45v and pushed the multiplier up as high as I could while remaining stable. On both of the processors, 20x was the sweet spot. I then started pushing up the reference clock until I was able to sqeeze out a bit more speed, and when the system lost stability I backed off a bit. For the X4 970 I was at 4.133GHz (206x20) and for the X2 560 I was at 4.154GHz (208x20). When it came to the X6 1075T the multi was locked so I had to rely on the reference clock. With a multi of 15x I knew I was limited but I dove in with an open mind. I raised the reference clock 15MHz at a time until I was no longer stable as before. To my surprise I was able to push the clock to 275MHz and boot but it was not stable enough to pass any tests. I slowly backed down the clock 1MHz at a time until I was Prime95 stable and to my amazement, that was at 270MHz on the reference clock! I did have to drop the HT and memory dividers to compensate but my final overclocked speed was 4.052GHz (270x15), which was a whopping 33% total overclock!

  <

 

Overclocked settings:

All Athlon II processors have locked multipliers so I had to take the same approach with these as I did with the Phenom II X6 1075T above. I started out by increasing the voltage and reference clock until I was no longer stable. Then I backed off of the speed 1MHz at a time until I was able to pass benchmarks with no errors or issues. For the final overclocked speeds I had 3.748GHz on the Athlon II X4 645, 3.765GHz on the Athlon II X3 450, and 3.824GHz on the Athlon II X2 265.

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the clock speeds listed when in an overclocked state. These clock speeds will represent the overclocked scores in the testing.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. Bibble 5
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10 & 11.5
  9. HD Tune 3.50
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  3. Batman Arkham Asylum
  4. 3DMark Vantage

Testing:

The first part of our testing will be the system specific benchmarks.

 

Let's get started with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings:

 

 

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower is Better

 

WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 100MB and 500MB files to test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds. Additionally, I will use the built in benchmark as a comparison.

 

ZIP:

 

 

Lower is Better

 

RAR:

 

 

Lower is Better

 

Bibble 5:

 

 

The newer chips show improvement, while the 1075T successfully bridges the gap between the flagship 1090T and the Quad Cores.

Testing:

Office 2007 Excel Big Number Crunch: This test takes a 6.2MB Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and performs about 28,000 sets of calculations that many of the most commonly used calculations in Excel. The measure of this test is how long it takes to refresh the sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower Is Better

 

POV Ray 3.7: This program features a built in benchmark that renders an image using Ray Tracing. The latest versions offer support for SMP (Symmetric Multiprocessing) enabling the workload to be spread across the cores for a quicker completion.

 

Higher Is Better

 

Geekbench 2.1 provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.

 

 

Again, the newer processors have a bit faster scores than the older generation.

Testing:

SiSoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful. For this benchmark, I will be running a broad spectrum of tests to gauge the performance of key functions of the CPUs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

 

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

   

   

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

 

 

Memory Latency

 

 

Cache and Memory

 

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

 

The trend continues, the newer processors are tweaked to perform better.

Testing:

ScienceMark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. For this test, we ran the benchmark suite and will use the overall score for comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

CineBench 11.5 is the latest iteration of this popular benchmark that features a new look to the interface. This test now has a simple GPU and CPU test built in.

 

Higher is Better

 

HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.

 

 

Higher is Better

 

 

 

Lower is Better

 

With their improvements, the new gen chips are a bit faster.

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km squared of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having higher clock speeds, the new chips pull off a bit of a gain in Far Cry 2.

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration of the venerable first-person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking. You start off the single player missions playing as Private Allen and jump right into a serious firefight. This is the point where testing will begin. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here again in Modern Warfare 2 the speed increases help get higher scores.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, The Joker and Batman. The Joker Has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While only a slight lead, the new chips pull it off again.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The speed increases again allowed the newer processors to have a bit of an edge.

Conclusion:

Overall the speed increases did make a difference in performance when tested against the older revisions. One big advantage of manufacturers releasing these improvements is that it drives down the prices of current retail processors. This leaves us with the latest and greatest for our fun rigs and inexpensive and efficient parts for everyday computing without having to break the bank. One thing I have admired with AMD is the variety of processors that the company releases. Even in this update there are dual, triple, quad, and hexa cores available to fulfill anyone's needs and prices that everyone can adore. The most expensive processor in the bunch is under $300 and that is for a six core processor. Six cores of processing power for under the cost of most high end motherboard. Even Intel's lowest hexa core is just shy of $1k.

When it came to overclocking, the Athlon II line was so so, but with the unlocked multipliers, the X2 560 and X4 970 were able to break the 4GHz barrier without a problem. I was a bit skeptical about the Phenom II X6 1075T reaching that high but once I got in and started tweaking a bit I was able to hit that sweet barrier and surpass it, achieving a stable 33% overclock. Each of the processors seems to fill that gap to tide us over until the next best thing. For the price they are a steal! While they are the top end currently available, if you already own the model they are replacing I would not go out running to drop some more cash to get the latest, as the difference is negligible. If you are thinking of upgrading though, I would go for it. Current X4 owners will love the 1075T, awesome power with a small price tag.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: