AMD Athlon II X4 620 Quad Core Processor Reviewajmatson - September 16, 2009
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Anyone who has been following the processor boom since the Consumer Electronics Show last year has seen the obscene number of new processor models that have hit the shelves since then, giving consumers more choices than ever on what they can pick for their needs. Intel and AMD both have released a wide array of designs from dual cores to quad cores and even AMD with its radical triple core design. One processor name that stands out amongst them all is the Athlon series. A little history for you, the first Athlon series processor that AMD debuted was back in June 23, 1999 with the Slot A model, next came the the Socket A models in 2000 that used the Pin-Grid Array design and brought speeds past the 1GHz range and into the 2GHz areas. After some time AMD brought to the table the 64-bit processor with the Athlon64 models in September 2003. These models not only brought 64-bit computing and the break above the 4GB memory limit with 64-bit opperating systems but also AMD's first dual core processor, the Athlon 64 X2 in May 2005. Fast forward to today and we have seen the Athlon series break out with the Athlon II X2 series designed for the mid range consumer who wants a bit of power to play with. Now with the success of the Athlon and Phenom series AMD is releasing the new AMD Athlon II X4 series, which are the first quad core Athlon processors to bear the proud name.
The Athlon II X4 series, like the Athlon II X2 series we looked at in June, is a Socket AM3 processor that supports both AM3 and AM2+ motherboards with DDR2 and DDR3 memory. The Athlon II X4 also only has L1 and L2 cache per core, unlike the Phenom II X4 series that has a shared L3 cache. At launch there will be two models of the Athlon II X4 series, the 620 and the 640; however, today we are going to be looking at the Athlon II X4 620 processor, which is clocked at 2.6GHz and is designed to bring cost efficient quad core processing to the mainstream market.
Since the processor is so new we received the testing unit in a tray type packaging so there is nothing too spectacular to show for the package. However, the processor resembles the design that we have seen for some time now with AMD's processors. On the bottom of the CPU you have the PGA packaging that has 938 pins. This particular model, the Athlon II X4 620, is clocked at 2.6GHz and has a total L1 cache of 512KB (64K of instruction and 64K of data cache per core) and an L2 cache of 2MB (512KB of data cache per core). The Athlon II X4 series uses an integrated 128-bit wide memory controller with speeds up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management. It also supports unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) and PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz) for total flexability depending on the motherboard model you choose. Using DDR3 memory, the Athlon II X4 can have a total processor to system bandwidth of up to 37.3GB/s. The Athlon II X4 620 is designed using a 45nm manufacturing process on a die size of 169mm2 and has approximatly 300 million transistors. The maximum TDP of the processor is 95 watts with a voltage range of 0.925v to 1.425v and a maximum operating temperature of 71C degrees.
Now that we have seen what this baby looks like, let's plug it in and fire it up.