AMD Phenom II 720 and 810 AM3 Reviewajmatson -
Price: $145 for X3 720, $175 for X4 810
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Recently during CES 2009 OCC brought you a first look at the new Phenom II series processors from AMD, the Phenom II X4 940. The Phenom II 940 was a very solid performing processor with high clock speeds, however it was an AM2+ only CPU and could only run with now aging DDR2 memory. AMD is now bringing the newer and faster speeds of DDR3 memory to the AMD platform with the new AM3 processors. These newer processors are also backwards compatible with AM2+ boards running DDR2 memory so you have the flexibility to upgrade when you choose. Just as in the first generation Phenom line there were quad core and triple core processors, the Phenom II AM3 line will have the same. Today we are going to take a look at two of the AMD Phenom II processors, the X3 720, which is one of the Phenom II triple core processors, and the X4 810, a quad core processor, both of which support both types of sockets and memory. The Phenom II X3 720 is clocked at 2.8GHz and features a total of 6MB L3 cache and 1.5MB L2 cache (512KB each core), it is also a Black Edition processor so the multiplier is unlocked for better and higher overclocks. The Phenom II X4 810 is clocked at 2.6GHz with 4MB total L3 cache and 2MB L2 cache (512KB each core).
When it comes to memory support, the AM3 Phenom II line will support up to DDR2 1066MHz and DDR3 1333MHz using a 128-bit wide memory controller on the CPU. The AM3 processors will also be running HyperTransport 3.0 and will have a maximum processor bandwidth of 33.1GB/s. The package was changed to a 938-pin array instead of the 940-pin of the AM2+ socket, however the AM3 processors will be able to run in an AM2+ board with no issues. The manufacturing process will remain 45nm with 758 million transistors and the maximum TDP for the AM3 processors will be 95 watts.
Since this is an engineering sample processor, it came shipped to us directly from AMD in a safe antistatic box. It did not include the stock heatsink as the retail version does, but it includes the CPU just as an OEM processor purchase would. At first look the Phenom II X3 720 looks just like the original Phenom series. The only differences are the logo where it says Phenom II and that there are only 938 pins on the socket instead of 940 for the AM2+. If you look closely on the printing you can see the model numbers embedded in the code string.