|AMD Athlon-II X2-255 CPU ADX255OCGQBOX|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 29 March 2010|
Page 10 of 10
AMD Athlon-II X2 Final Thoughts
The launch of the Athlon II brand marks a complete 45nm refresh of AMD's mainstream and enthusiast processors. On the high end, we have the Phenom-II X4's and X3's that launched a few months ago. Below that will be the recently launched Phenom-II X2 series, although some of these may actually be faster than the low end X3's in single-threaded applications. That leaves the Athlon-II X2's one notch lower, sitting directly in the mainstream market segment. The performance we've seen throughout our testing shows the Athlon-II X2-255 outperforming a similarly (although lower) priced Intel Dual Core CPU. It also represents an excellent upgrade opportunity from an older Conroe based Core 2 Duo CPU. The Athlon-II X2-255, along with other low priced AMD processors in the Athlon-II and Phenom-II line should be taken into consideration when evaluating your options for upgrading a machine that is getting to be out of date, especially when a new motherboard is a necessity as well.
We represented the Conroe based Core 2 Duo in this article to show this exact scenario. While the NEO P965 motherboard is an LGA775 board, it will not support newer Wolfdale Intel LGA775 processors. This severely limits the upgradeability of this motherboard, causing most users to need a new motherboard altogether. While the newer LGA775 motherboard used in the Dual Core platform will accept newer Intel LGA775 processors, we have shown that the Athlon-II X2-255 outperforms similary priced LGA775 CPUs. It is likely that this result will carry forward with other Athlon-II and Phenom-II processors.
Continuing on with AMD's Ahtlon-II line, X3 and X4 processors have been released. In fact, AMD now offers a quad-core processor for under $100. The Athlon-II line is certainly set to provide budget minded users with a whole new array of possibilities. Without the cache, the Athlon-II's will be a bit slower than their Intel counterparts in some applications, but will also be less expensive and consume less power.
The Athlon-II X2-255 performed very well against our Intel processors. The goal of this article was to find out how viable the Athlon-II X2-255 is as an upgrade option for budget minded users who want to get more out of their computers. Many users may not have uprgaded in quite a while. The Athlon-II X2-255's performance shows that it can beat a similarly priced Pentium Dual Core processor nearly across the board. The X2-255 also provides an impressive boost for users running older systems such as the Conroe based Core 2 Duo used in this review. Without a decent graphics card, the Athlon-II X2-255 is unable to play the latest games, but this shouldn't be an issue for most users looking to upgrade to the X2-255.
The Athlon-II X2-255 passed our stress test and completed all benchmarks without a hint of instability. Even overclocked to 3.8GHz, the X2-255 never faltered. It seems that the only difference between the X2-255 and the X2-250 is the higher stock CPU multiplier. This alludes to the fact that the AMD Athlon-II chips have seen improving yields over the course of their production. The latest additions to the Athlon-II line, including the Athlon-II X2-255 will be at least as stable as their forerunners and likely more so. Any one wanting to try their hand in the overclocking market that needs to operate on a budget would have a lot of fun with the Athlon-II X2-255.
AMD has made it possible for their Athlon-II line to run in AM2+ motherboards as well as AM3 motherboards. This allows the door to be wide open for the choice of motherboard with which the Athlon-II X2-255 will function. The motherboard we used to test the Athlon-II X2-255 is the ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 motherboard using the 785G Chipset. The Athlon-II X2-255 functions extraodinarily well with this motherboard. I would expect that the X2-255 be used with a lower priced motherboard such as this in order to maintain the budget appeal of the processor.
The Athlon-II X2-255, with its 45nm process and low TDP of 65W, is an excellent overclocker. The X2-255 is not a black edition processor, so we were working with a locked multiplier of 15.5. We could lower the multiplier through the BIOS, but not increase it. Even so, just using the bus speed and voltage, we were able to get the Athlon-II X2-255 to 3.8GHz cooled only with air. This represents nearly a 23% increase in the clock speed of the X2-255. We were able to reach 4.0GHz as well, but the stress testing proved to be too much and the processor failed at that level. With some more tweaking, it will likely be possible to reach a stable 4.0GHz, as it took over 9 hours of stressing to cause the Athlon-II X2-255 to fail at that speed.
AMD's ADX255OGQBOX retail kit is available online for only $74.99, which means the Athlon-II X2-255 is priced to sell. While enthusiasts and hard-core gamers will find that the X2-255 doesn't offer the frame rates they desire, any user working with a computer that is over a couple of years old will find that the Athlon-II X2-255 offers an amazing bang for the buck. While the Athlon-II X2-255 doesn't have the L3 cache offered by the Phenom processors, it still outperforms similarly priced Intel process as we saw in most of the tests against the Pentium Dual Core E5300.
+ Excellent price/performance ratio
+ AM3/AM2+ compatibility
+ Great Overclocker
+ DDR3 support
+ Efficient 45nm process
+ Virtualization Support
- No notable flaws
Final Score: 9.35 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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