AMD Athlon II X3 435 & Athlon II X2 240e Processor Review

ajmatson - 2009-10-17 07:53:05 in CPU's
Category: CPU's
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: October 19, 2009
Price: $77 - $87

Introduction:

AMD has been putting out a wide range of Athlon II based processors, with everything from dual core processors to quad core ones, such as the AMD Athlon II X4 620 reviewed recently by us here at OCC. The Athlon II series is designed to bring powerful processing power to those looking to conservatively spend on computer products, but do not want to be left out of the loop. While not as powerful as their Phenom II counterparts, the Athlon II series provides a stable platform for workstations and mid-range computing systems, and not breaking the bank in doing so. The Athlon II series differs from the Phenom II series by a lack of L3 cache, which the Athlon II's do not have. They still carry the majority of the other features however, such as the support for DDR2 memory when paired with an AM2+ motherboard or DDR3 memory when paired with an AM3 based motherboard. The series also uses HyperTransport 3.0 for fast data transfer speeds. Today, we are going to be taking a look at the newest additions to the Athlon II lineup. The first is the newest Triple Core addition, the Athlon II X3 435, which is generously clocked at a whopping 2.9GHz, and the energy efficient Dual Core Athlon II X2 240e, which is clocked at 2.8GHz and has a very low TDP of only 45 watts.
 

 

Closer Look:

The Athlon II X3 435 processor is clocked at 2.9GHz and has a total L1 cache of 384KB and L2 cache of 1.5MB (512KB per core). The X3 435 has a maximum TDP of 95 watts and is manufactured using a 45nm process. There are approximately 300 million transistors and the processor uses HyperTransport 3.0 for a total processor to system bandwidth of either 37.3GB/s when paired with DDR3 1333MHz memory or 33.1GB/s when paired with DDR2 1066MHz memory. The processor is a socket AM3 design which makes it usable in both AM3 and AM2+ motherboards, giving you a nice upgrade path with minimal costs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Athlon II X2 240e processor is clocked at 2.8GHz and has a total L1 cache of 356KB and L2 cache of 2MB (1MB per core). The X2 240e has a maximum TDP of 45 watts which makes the heat given off ideal for HTPCs and workstations that require energy efficient designs. The Athlon II X2 240e is manufactured using a 45nm process and there are approximately 234 million transistors. The processor uses HyperTransport 3.0 for a total processor to system bandwidth of 33.GB/s when paired with DDR3 1066MHz memory. This processor is also an AM3 CPU which allows the use in both AM2+ and AM3 motherboards for compatibility and easy upgrade paths.

 

 

Now that we have taken a look at the two processors, let's plug them in and see what they can do.

Specifications:

 

Model Number:
Athlon II X3 435 Athlon II X2 240e
Clock Frequency:

2.9GHz

2.8GHz
Max TDP:
95 watts
45 watts
Cache Size:
L1 Cache: 64K instruction and 64K data cache per core (384KB total L1 per processor)
L2 Cache: 512KB per core (1.5MB total L2 per processor)
 L1 Cache: 64K instruction and 64K data cache per core (256KB total L1 per processor)
L2 Cache: 1MB per core (2MB total L2 per processor)
Process 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)
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
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)
Die Size:
45nm = 169mm2
45nm = 117.5mm2
Transistors
45nm = ~300 million
45nm = ~234 million
Packaging:
Socket AM3 - 938-pin organic micro Pin Grid Array (micro-PGA) (Backwards compatable with AM2+ 940-pin) Socket AM3 - 938-pin organic micro Pin Grid Array (micro-PGA) (Backwards compatable with AM2+ 940-pin)

 

 

Features: 

 

Testing:

To test the new AMD Athlon II X3 435 and Athlon II X2 240e processors, I will be running them through a series of scientific and video based benchmarks that are designed to stress them and push them to the limits.  These benchmarks will demonstrate how well they stand up and perform. To give us a clear sense of where they sit among other processors, I will be putting them up against an Athlon II X4 Quad Core and the new Intel Core i5 series processors.  This will give you an idea of where they sit in relation to other hardware paths you may be considering. Will reducing the number of cores sacrifice a large amount of performance? We will have to see for ourselves.

 

Testing Setup AMD AM3 CPU's:

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i5/i7 Socket 1156

  

Comparison CPUs:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

To overclock the new Triple Core and Dual Core, the process is a bit trickier than overclocking the Phenom II's that have unlocked multipliers.  To overclock the AMD Athlon II X3 435 and the AMD Athlon II X2 240e, you need to adjust the reference clock of the CPU, which, in turn, affects not only the processor speed, but the memory and HyperTransport speeds as well. To accomplish this, you need to have a balance between all parts to remain stable and achieve the best possible performance. I started each one by dropping the multiplier and strap for the HyperTransport BUS and the memory. I then pushed up the reference clock 10MHz at a time while increasing the CPU voltage to keep the system stable. As I reached the wall and could not go any more, I would back off 1MHz at a time until I was able to keep the system not only stable, but able to pass CPU intensive benchmarks as well. As I reached the balance, I was able to benchmark the system without any issues. The final overclock for the Athlon II X3 435 was 3.65GHz (252 x 14.5) at 1.5v and a memory speed of 1680MHz at 8-8-8-24 timings. For the Athlon II X2 240e, the final settings were 3.150GHz (225 x 14) at 1.425v with the memory at 1500MHz with timings 7-7-7-20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. PCMark Vantage Professional
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10
  9. HD Tune 2.55
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. BioShock
  4. Call of Duty World At War
  5. Dead Space 
  6. Fallout 3 
  7. Left 4 Dead
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 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 test the time needed to compress 100MB and 500MB 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

 

In Apophysis, which is based on clock speed, the X3 435 comes in right behind the Athlon II X4 and the i5, and the X2 comes in next above the Athlon II Quad Core with the lower clock speed. For WinRAR, the Triple Core comes in behind the Quad Cores, and the Dual Core follows suit.

Testing:

Office 2007 Excel Big Number Crunch: This test takes a 6.2MB Microsoft Excel speadsheet and performs about 28,000 sets of calculations, representative of commonly used numerical operations 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

 

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

 

In the Number Crunch, the X3 435 comes close to the X4 620, while the X2 240e comes in last with the least amount of processing cores. POV Ray shows the same results with the Triple Core coming in between the Quad Cores, and the Dual Core in last place. Finally, in PCMark Vantage, the X2 240e surprisingly almost matches the Quad Core Athlon II X4 620, while the X3 435 overtakes it.

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

 

File System

 

Physical Disks

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

For the majority of the Sandra tests, the Triple and Dual core come in behind the Quad Cores, except where memory is key, at which point the X3 435 overtook the Athlon II X4 620 processor by a bit or matched it. For the hard drive performance, the Athlon II series was almost uniform throughout.

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

 

In Sciencemark, the X3 and the X2 overtook both the X4 processor and the i5. For the single core Cinebench test, the Athlon II X3 and X2 performed better than the Quad Core Athlon II, but fell back when all cores were brought into the mix. For HD Tune, the results were mixed with each being strong in one category and not another.

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 50km2 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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

Both the Athlon II X3 and X2 were a bit behind the Quad Cores, but close enough to remain competitive.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way, there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this game, all of the processors were just about dead even.

Testing:

BioShock is one of the creepier games you can play. The building of a perfect Utopian society undersea gone horribly wrong. Its inhabitants driven mad with 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 story line, will wrap you up for hours on end.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

The Triple Core remained strong until the end where it fell behind even to the Dual Core.

Testing:

Activision's Call Of Duty World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought COD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a large resolution. This game just may be my reason to move to a 30-inch monitor. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare performance of these video cards.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

The X3 and X2 started off faster than the X4 Athlon II, but fell as the resolution grew.

Testing:

In Dead Space, as part of the crew of the USG Kellion, you are headed on a repair mission to repair a ship in distress. Things go from bad to worse as starting with the crash landing and seemingly silent and "Dead" ship, the USG Ishimuru. Offering a non-traditional over the shoulder viewing angle, the game gets right into the action as soon as the ventilation systems are activated. From there things get worse with the appearance of the Necromorphs. Survival now becomes a primary concern for the primary character Isaac Clarke. Survive and you may find the loved one that was aboard the Ishimuru.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Athlon II X3 performed very well, beating out the Quad Core Athlon, while the X2 trailed behind the rest.

Testing:

Fallout 3 takes place after the nuclear holocaust that nearly wipes out civilization and leaves the world an irradiated mess. The vault, or fallout shelter, you are born in is Vault 101, situated in the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. The premise of the game is that the vault has been sealed for 200 years and now your father has opened the vault and escaped without a trace. The Overseer believes you are involved, so you must escape as well into the wasteland that was once our nation's capital. I find myself looking for landmarks, since I am familiar with the streets of Washington DC.

Settings:

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Athlon II X3 and X2 fell behind in the Fallout 3 tests.

Testing:

Left 4 Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters, and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival!

Settings:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here, the X3 took over at the highest resolution from the Quad Core Athlon and the X2 stayed close behind.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest is started. 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:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my surprise, the Athlon II X3 435 outperformed the Athlon II X4 620.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the highest resolution, the Athlon II X3 and X2 came close to the others.

Conclusion:

For the price, the new Athlon II X2 240e and Athlon II X3 435 are great performers, however, for a few dollars more you can upgrade to a Quad Core Athlon II X4 620 which outperforms both of these processors in CPU intensive benchmarks. While the gaming benchmarks are close, the majority of the computing for video benchmarks falls on the video GPU and not the CPU.  However, in the scientific benchmarks that measured the CPU as a whole, the Quad Core was able to outperform the Triple and Dual Core processors almost every time. The main advantage that the new Athlon II X3 and X2 have is the higher clock speeds, which make them suitable for single threaded applications, such as in the case with Apophysis.

On the flip side, for well under $100 for a processor and the same for a decent, mid-range motherboard, you can have a perfect platform for that new family computer or home theater pc that you have been putting off for so long. While these new processors may not break any records, they, including specifically the energy efficient Athlon II X2 240e, will make designing and running your new system eco-friendly and easy on the wallet all around. For casual gaming they will be able to put out decent frame rates when paired with a nice video card, and when it comes to general computing, you will have enough power to get you by - albeit not lightning fast.

  

 Pros:

 

 Cons: