AMD Athlon X2 7750 Review

ajmatson - 2008-11-24 13:07:12 in CPU's
Category: CPU's
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: December 14, 2008
Price: $90

Introduction:

There has been so much hype around the quad-core market that you hear very little about other CPUs. AMD, while releasing and perfecting their Phenom line of processors, have also been developing the new Athlon X2 series in the background. After releasing the quad-core Phenom, AMD shocked us with the release of the first triple-core processor designed to take on the Core 2 Duo market, offering better performance for less money. Now AMD has taken everything they learned with the Phenom series and built on it for the AMD Athlon X2. The Athlon X2 Series offers some of the same features as the past Athlon X2 series processors, but adds new ones, like an L3 Cache, HyperTransport 3.0 and a max TDP of 95 watts.

Today we are going to take a look at the AMD Athlon X2 7750 which is clocked at 2.70GHz (200 x 13.5) and is a Black Edition with an unlocked multiplier. The Athlon X2 7750 has 2 x 512KB of L2 Cache and 2MB shared of L3 Cache. The new versions of the Athlon X2 now run on a HyperTransport 3.0 bus, which for the X2 7750, with an HT speed of 1800MHz gives you a maximum 3,600MTs or 7,200MBs. The X2 7750 also features a maximum TDP of 95 watts. What is TDP you ask? It stands for thermal design power, and according to AMD it is the maximum amount of power the CPU will draw and dissipate under normal operating conditions. So do I have your interest peaked yet? Well, I know mine is, so how about we move on and take a look at the CPU up close and personal? Bring on the Kuma.

 

Closer Look:

The AMD Athlon X2 7750 came to us OEM style in sample packaging, not the retail box with fan that you would get if you bought it from a retailer. To protect the processor and the sensitive pins it was placed in a black hard plastic case with foam inside, which kept it nice and safe on its journey from Austin, Texas to my home. It traveled over 1200 miles on two flights right to my test bed for all of you to see.

 

 

You will notice that this processor looks exactly like the Phenom with the exception of the branding name. It is a socket AM2+ processor which uses a 940-pin socket. It can also be placed into and AM2 motherboard with reduced functionality, such as a HyperTransport drop down to the boards specification, such as HyperTransport 2.0 in most cases.

 

 

Now that we have gotten a look at the goodies we can move on to testing it out.

Specifications:

 

CPU Clock Speed
2.7GHz
Stock Multiplier
13.5x
Base Clock Frequency
200
Manufacturing Process
65nm
Package Type
AM2+ / Socket 940
Maximum TDP
95 watts
L2 Cache Size
2 x 512KB
L3 Cache Size
2MB combined
Codename
Kuma

 

Features:

 

Testing:

I really wanted to see what this new dual-core processor from AMD could do, so I will be pushing the limits through a series of benchmarks, including scientific and video tests. To show a broad comparison I will be putting it up against a series of other processors, including dual-core and quad-core CPUs, old and new. This will be done so that you know exactly how it performs against other processors on the market, and not just dual-core ones that only gauge direct competition. All hardware will be run at stock speeds, timings and voltages so that there are no outside variables that might interfere with the scores and throw off the comparisons. Just a note, because of a limitation of comparison hardware available and time constraints, the scientific benchmarks will be run on all processors available and the video benchmarks, which are largely CPU dependent, will be run on only a limited number of comparison processors.

 

 

Testing Setup AMD CPU's:

 

Testing Setup Intel CPU's:

 

Comparison CPUs:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

Being a "Black Edition" processor gives you a little more flexibility with overclocking because of the unlocked multiplier. To begin I started by raising the multiplier 1x at a time until the system became unstable. I was able to boot at 16x but I could not complete a benchmark, so I backed the multiplier down a half to 15.5x and I was able to complete several test benchmarks with no problem. Next I raised the bus speed 5MHz at a time, but once I tried 210MHz there was no joy. I backed off slowly, 1MHz at a time until I was able to boot at 205Mhz. During the overclocking session I did have to raise the CPU voltage to 1.5v, however CPU-Z reported it as 1.520v. So for the overclocking results we will be running at 3.177GHz (205Mhz x 15.5) at 1.5 volts.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. SpecviewPerf 10
  4. PCMark Vantage Professional
  5. Sandra XII
  6. ScienceMark 2.02
  7. Cinebench 10
  8. HD Tune 2.55
  1. Crysis
  2. Knights of the Sea
  3. Bioshock
  4. Call of Duty 4
  5. World in Conflict
  6. Far Cry 2
  7. Company of Heros-Opposing Fronts
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage

 

Testing:

The first part of our testing regimen 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 used to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 10MB, 100MB and 500MB files and test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds.

 

ZIP:

 

 

 

RAR:

 

 

 

Wow, I was shocked to see the Athlon X2 beat the Phenom X4 and older Intel Q9300 in some tests!

Testing:

Specview 10 is a benchmark designed to test OpenGL performance. I will be using the multi-threaded tests to measure the performance when run in this mode. The tests used for comparison are listed below. The default multi-threaded tests were chosen to be comparable across platforms. In these tests, higher scores equate to better performance. Since the E8400 is a dual-core CPU on the two thread test will be run in Specview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

PCMark Vantage is used to measure complete system performance. We will be running a series of tests to gauge performance of each individual board to see which board, if any, rises above the others.

 

During Specview two core testing, the Athlon X2 matched or tied most of the competition in the PROE testing, but fell short in both the Maya and Catia tests. For PCMark Vantage, it was on the tail of the other dual-cores and not far behind some of the quad-cores.

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 areas of the motherboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

Memory Latency

 

Cache and Memory

 

File System

 

Physical Disks

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

As expected, the Athlon X2 was slightly behind the other dual-cores, however, the latency was way higher than all of the comparison processors.

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 is useful for testing your system CPU and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. We will be using the default tests for this benchmark.

 

Higher is Better

 

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

 

Higher is Better

 

 

Lower is Better

 

Sciencemark surprised me, matching or beating some of the high end processors, but if you look at clock speeds the results closely follow the clock speed of the processor. In Cinebench the single thread, scores were close, but as expected the multi-threaded scores were lower with only two cores on the AMD X2. Finally, the HD Tune scores were average, with the exception of the burst speed which was slower than the Intel CPUs, but faster then the Phenom X4.

Testing:

Crysis has been out for quite some time now. In that time, there has yet to be a single or multi-GPU setup that can fully showcase the graphics performance of the game.  The Crysis single player demo includes both CPU and GPU benchmarks to test the performance of your processor and video card.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The higher the resolution, the better the X2 did.

Testing:

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a new DX10 title that features its own proprietary graphics engine currently in development. The game is a combination of real time strategy and simulation. You have the ability to control the entire crew or just a single member. Play as the German, Russian or Allied navies and prove your mettle on the open seas.

 

The settings we will use are below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprisingly, the dual-core did better than its quad-core counterpart.

Testing:

BioShock is one of the creepier games that I have played, chronicling the building of a perfect utopian society undersea gone horribly wrong, with its inhabitants driven mad by the introduction of tonics and genetic modifications. Now, Rapture is just a shadow of its former glory, with little girls looting the dead of what little they have left, while being shadowed by guardians known as "Big Daddies." It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This First Person Shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to provide a unique experience each time it is played. The environment, as well as the storyline, will wrap you up for hours on end.

 

Settings:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slightly slower than the X4, but as the resolution went up the scores grew closer.

Testing:

Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare is the successor to the Call of Duty crown. This iteration of the game is fought in many of the world's hot spots with modern armaments and firepower. You can play as either a US Marine or British SAS trooper. SInce this game does not feature an in-game test, I will run through a section of the game and measure average FPS using Fraps 2.9.3.

 

The settings used are listed below:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again while not as fast the X2 7750 gets better as the resolution gets higher.

Testing:

World in Conflict: Released last year, World in Conflict is a real time strategy game that simulates the all-out war the world hopes never comes. The difference in this RTS game is that its not the typical "generate wealth and build" type of game. Instead, you advance by conquering your foe with limited opportunities to replenish your troops.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dual-core came close, but could not keep up with the quad-cores.

Testing:

Call of Juarez

Call of Juarez is a DirectX10 first person shooter set in the Wild West of the late 1800s. The game is inspired in part by the movies of the Wild West genre of the seventies and eighties. The game can be played as both single-player and multiplayer. The game focuses on realistic graphics and gameplay designed to take advantage of the latest video cards on the market.

 

The settings we will use are listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again at the higher resolutions the gap closes.

Testing:

Benchmark: Company of Heroes (Opposing Fronts)

Company of Heroes (Opposing Fronts) is the latest chapter in the Company of Heroes series. The scene is WWII. The mission is Operation Market Garden, the first Allied attempt to break into the Third Reich. Play as the British or Germans. This real-time strategy game is brought to us by Relic Entertainment.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, a little behind, but no giving up.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest is begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I expected it to be behind, but the gap was closer than I would have guessed. The Athlon X2 is right behind the Phenom X4.

Conclusion:

So, that was a wealth of information wasn't it? What can we say about the AMD Athlon X2 7750 processor? Well, the bottom line is it does what it is designed to do. This not a high end processor, nor is it meant to be. The Athlon X2 7750 is better suited to the mainstream PC user looking for a bit of a boost from past Athlon X2 processors, or older Intel dual-core processors, but don't expect to do any high-end gaming or intensive application suites with this processor. This CPU is great for those who casually use their PC for internet, email, slight multi-tasking, or as a small business workstation. This would also be perfect for an HTPC setup where the video card does the encoding and decoding instead of the processor. In essence, the AMD Athlon X2 shares the same characteristics as the Phenom X4 series with half of the cores, which makes you wonder if this is actually the case.

As for overclocking, I did not get as much headroom from the Athlon X2 as I have with its quad-core counterpart, the Phenom X4 9850. With the Athlon X2, I was only able to get a 477MHz increase, whereas the Phenom X4 9850 I am able to get 700MHz+. This processor does have the unlocked "Black Edition" multiplier, however it does not like anything more that 15.5x stable, or any more than 205MHz as a bus speed. I even threw over 1.5 volts at it briefly, and still would not go any higher. Overall, this is a decent processor for those looking for a casual workstation computer, but if you are a hardcore enthusiast like the majority of readers looking at this review, you would be well off waiting for a faster quad-core CPU from Intel or AMD. I would even suggest waiting to see what the Phenom II brings us at CES 2009.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: