|AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE Black Edition AM3 CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 09 February 2009|
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Closer Look: Phenom II X3 720 BE
The Phenom II X3 720 BE 2.8GHz processor from AMD offer a large 1.47 x 1.147" (37.31 x 37.31mm) integrated heat-spreader surface, which helps dissipate the maximum 95W TDP the Black Edition HDZ720WFGIBOX CPU is capable of producing. Compared to Intels Core 2 Duo and Quad processors which measure 28.5 x 28.5mm, the Phenom II offers over 71% more contact surface area. If you compare the latest Intel Core i7 processors which measure 32 x 35mm, then the Phenom II series only offers 24% more contact surface area. For overclockers, this will mean a much larger area to cool, but also much more manageable temperatures.
Although the Phenom II X3 720 BE is an AM3 938-pin processor by design, it comes packaged to be backward-compatible with the AM2+ 940-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA) socket. The AMD Phenom II HDX810WFGIBOX is specified as having a 0.875-1.425V nominal voltage, and uses the 45nm (.045-micron) DSL Silicon on Insulator (SOI) process technology construction.
The Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition offers a total combined cache size of 8.5MB, split into three levels. The L1 cache delivers 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (512KB total L1 per processor), while the L2 cache offers 512KB of data cache per core (2MB total L2 per processor). The final level 3 (L3) cache shares 6MB among the three processor cores.
Based on the updated AM3 architecture, the backwards compatibility with AM2+ socket motherboards, increased cache size, and a larger IHS footprint, and unrestricted 'Black Edition' clock multiplier, the Phenom II X3 720 BE may be exactly what hardware enthusiasts and overclockers need during an economic recession. In the following sections, we will compare the Phenom II series against the Intel Core i7-920 Processor BX80601920. While benchmarks help separate the products, real-world experience and gaming frame rates paired with affordable product pricing will ultimately decide which CPU is really 'better'.