|AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE Black Edition AM3 CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 09 February 2009|
Page 11 of 12
AMD Dragon Final Thoughts
AMD hasn't been on the radar for a long time, perhaps too long. The Phenom II processor line has come to deliver everything that the predecessor was supposed to: performance with unmatched value. There's a lot for hardware enthusiast to like about the Phenom II processor series, primarily the Black Edition processors with unlocked capabilities. Unlike Intel's Extreme Edition (EE) CPU, which is usually a title reserved for one special unlocked processor at the top of their product family, the Black Edition Phenom II processor won't cost $1000. Unfortunately, it won't perform like the EE will though, either.
While AMD has certainly proven (to me) that the Phenom II processor line offers outstanding performance at substantial savings over the Intel alternative, I think there's a psychological obsession that most enthusiast consumers have with certain products. I won't get the social defect of admiring the most expensive product and considering it 'the best'. Sometimes, defining that term 'best' is not as easy as pointing at numbers on a benchmark. Take for example cell phone; the most expensive model is not necessarily the best performing, and it might be overpriced because of other features that inflate the products demand. Sometimes I think that gamers make this mistake, as I often see poor advice given to first-time system builders to spend as much as possible on the processor. Why?
If there's one thing our benchmarks have shown, it's that a processor that costs much less can still deliver identical gaming performance when you've got a half-capable video card. Even if you're not into PC-based video games, you're not likely going to see any real-world difference in computational tasks. The clock might know the difference between a 55-minute encoding session, and one that lasts 58-minutes; but you won't notice it. When it comes down to it, the things most people do with their computer system often fall under casual computing, and if you're one of the many people using the PC for little more than Web browsing, E-Mail, personal finances, and productivity tasks, then the only thing you'll notice is how much money you can save by using the much more affordable Phenom II processor on the Dragon platform.
Sure, there will be a long list of devout followers willing to spend the cash needed to build a bleeding edge Intel computer system. I know this to be true, or else we wouldn't have so many people reading our Core i7 and X58-Express Motherboard reviews. But I'm also aware of the economic climate that has effected every single person on our planet. With no noticeable real-world gain to be had from a Core i7-based computer system over a Phenom II system, it begins to make sense... and save dollars. The cost of our AMD Phenom II 940 BE, ASUS M3A78-T motherboard, and 4GB DDR2 came to $390. In comparison, the Intel Core i7-920 and Gigabyte X58 motherboard with only 3GB of DDR3 (all of which are the most affordable components of their series) still cost us nearly $800 and produced nearly identical real-world results.
Unlocked potential for overclockers, nearly identical real-world computing performance, and much more affordable system components. That sure makes a solid case for the Phenom II and Dragon platform. It also firmly places AMD back on our radar.