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Review: AMD Phenom X3 8750: tri-core Phenom to challenge Intel's Core 2 Duo?

by Parm Mann on 23 April 2008, 04:15

Tags: Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition, Phenom X3, Phenom X4 9750, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Gigabyte (TPE:2376), ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), AMD (NYSE:AMD), OCZ (NASDAQ:OCZ), Corsair, FSP Group (TPE:3015), PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qamsn

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The X3 and X4 Phenom range

AMD's ever-growing range of Phenom processors, now in tri-core X3 and quad-core X4 flavours, is available as detailed in the table below. Please be aware that all prices listed are inclusive of VAT and are taken from Scan.co.uk as of 22/04/08.

Processors Cores Clock speed L2 cache (total) L3 cache Memory-controller speed Voltage TDP etailer pricing
AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition 4 2.5GHz 2MiB 2MiB 2.0GHz 1.2-1.3V 125W £150
AMD Phenom X4 9750 4 2.4GHz 2MiB 2MiB 1.8GHz 1.2-1.3V 125W £137
AMD Phenom X4 9650* 4 2.3GHz 2MiB 2MiB 1.8GHz 1.2-1.3V 95W £135?
AMD Phenom X4 9550 4 2.2GHz 2MiB 2MiB 1.8GHz 1.2V 95W £123
AMD Phenom X3 8750
AMD Phenom X3 8650
AMD Phenom X3 8450

* Not yet available at retail, pricing is an estimate

Some, like HEXUS, might argue that the Phenom X3 processors aren't priced competitively enough when compared to their quad-core siblings. As the table above shows, the 2.4GHz tri-core chip is only a mere £12 cheaper than its 2.4GHz quad-core counterpart.

The pricing, one could argue, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. In theory, tri-core performance should be approximately 70 per cent of an equivalently-clocked quad-core model. The pricing should reflect that, but sadly, doesn't. The listed prices may be foul of launch-day premiums, but AMD needs to shift prices down quickly in order to compete with Intel, who recently slashed prices of its own processors.

AMD Phenom X3 8750 specification

The specification of the Phenom X3 processors, as provided by AMD, is as detailed in the table below. As you'd expect, the tri-core model is a near mirror-image of AMD's quad-core Phenom X4s, only, with one less core.

L1 Cache Size: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (512KB total L1 per processor)
L2 Cache Size: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (1.5MB total L2 per processor)
L3 Cache Size: 2MB (shared)
Memory Controller Type: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller
Memory Controller Speed: Up to 1.8GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Types of Memory Supported: Support for unregistered DIMMs up to PC2 8500 (DDR2-1066MHz)
HyperTransport 3.0: One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 3.6GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
Total Processor Bandwidth: Up to 31.5 GB/s bandwidth
Packaging: Socket AM2+ 940-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA)
Fab location: AMD's Fab 36 wafer fabrication facilities in Dresden, Germany
Process Technology: 65-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
Approximate Transistor count: 450 million (65nm)
Approximate Die Size: 285 mm2 (65nm)
Max Ambient Case Temp: 70o Celsius
Nominal Voltage: 1.05-1.25 Volts
Max TDP: 95 Watts

AMD's Phenom X3 8750 has the onerous task of competing with Intel's 45nm 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo E8200, currently priced at £114. Will it face up to the challenge and warrant its price point? Let's find out.[advert]