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Written by Hank Tolman   
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 Processor
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Athlon-II X3-445
Testing and Results
EVEREST Benchmark Tests
Passmark PerformanceTest
PCMark Vantage Benchmark Tests
SiSoftware Sandra
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
Video Game Benchmarks
Overclocking
AMD Athlon-II X3 Final Thoughts
ADX445WFGMBOX Conclusion

AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 Processor Review

Back in October of last year, Athlon introduced its first Athlon II X3 triple-core processors, the 425 and 435. Working with the less than perfect yields from the Deneb and Propus dies, the Rana die was born. As yields improve, the processors can become more stable at higher clock speeds. In January 2010, the Athlon-II X3-440 was released; a 100MHz speed bump on the X3-435 processor. Now AMD is bumping the speed up by another 100MHz with the release of the X3-445 and the X3-450 is slated to come out later on this year. In this article Benchmark Reviews is closely examining the Athlon-II X3-445 ADX445WFK32GM to see what kind of power can be harnessed from this low-priced, triple-core, potentially unlockable 3.1GHz processor, especially when paired with AMDs newest 890G chipset.

AMD is quickly moving into the leader position in the low to mid-range computing world. Their firm grasp on the sub $200 market is expanding rapidly. The lower end of their processor line, the Athlon-II line, has expanded from just X2 (dual core) CPUs last year to the X3 (triple core) and X4 (quad core) processors like the Athlon-II X4-620 which brings quad core processing to under $100. AMD is also breaching the high end of gaming PCs with their Phenom-II line. The black edition series of processors, including the Phenom-II X4-965BE which won an editor's choice award here at Benchmark Reviews, can be overclocked to extreme highs, making them great gaming CPUs. They can't beat the raw power of the i7 series, but with the 965BE coming in at only $179, the bang for the buck is appealing to computer enthusiasts everywhere.

AMD_Athlon-II_X3-445_Profile.jpg

The Athlon-II series is built to be a less expensive alternative, while still offering a lot of great features. The chips are designed without any L3 cache at all, allowing for those lower prices. Many computer enthusiasts, myself included, often wait a long time after the purchase of a computer before considering an upgrade. I know many of you reading this are the same way. According to the Steam Hardware Survey for April 2010, almost 17% of gamers (remember, the hardware survey is based on Steam users) are still using single core processors in their systems. Quad core use is up, but still only amounts to 27.5% of users. The bulk of the users use dual core processors with speeds between 2.0 and 2.6GHz. Considering the lowest end of new Athlon-II dual core processors are now at 3.2GHz, this leaves a lot of room for upgrade. Triple-core usage in processors only represents about 1% of users.

In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the new Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 Triple-Core Processor and compares it's performance to that of the Athlon-II X2-255 and X2-260 processors. All three have similar clock speeds, with the X3-445 and X2-255 at 3.1GHz and the X2-260 at 3.2Ghz. Right now, the X2-255 costs $75 and the X3-440 costs $85. We can probably expect nearly the same price difference between the X2-260 and the X3-445, AMD has set the MSRP for these at $76 and $87, respectively. What we want to see here is if the third core is really worth that extra $11. Also, seeing that the triple-core X3-445 is built on a quad-core die from either the Phenom-II Deneb or the Athlon-II Propus dies, we will explore the possibility of unlocking the potentially undamaged remaining disabled core and L3 cache that could be lurking hidden within this value-priced processor.

About Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (AMD)AMD_Logo_300px.png

"Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) is an innovative technology company dedicated to collaborating with customers and partners to ignite the next generation of computing and graphics solutions at work, home, and play.

Over the course of AMD's three decades in business, silicon and software have become the steel and plastic of the worldwide digital economy. Technology companies have become global pacesetters, making technical advances at a prodigious rate - always driving the industry to deliver more and more, faster and faster.

However, "technology for technology's sake" is not the way we do business at AMD. Our history is marked by a commitment to innovation that's truly useful for customers - putting the real needs of people ahead of technical one-upmanship. AMD founder Jerry Sanders has always maintained that "customers should come first, at every stage of a company's activities."

We believe our company history bears that out."



 

Comments 

 
# RE: AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 Processorivo 2010-10-01 13:15
Thanks for this great review.
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# OC w/ Biostar A880G+ Help plz!Zac 2010-12-04 17:14
I have the AM3 Biostar A880G+ mboard and the Athlon II x3, Ragas but its actually a Propus core which unlocks fourth core but no L3. The temps run great at 3.9ghz OC, but I cant get it to run stable. I have Coolermaster 212 Plus.

I have to set the memory to manual, and put it at 800mhz as when I raise the FSB, it will raise the memory and NB speed with it. (FSB/Memory/NB frequency is locked, if FSB goes up, others go up too) If i set memory to auto or limit mode, it starts at 1333 no matter what.

The best OC/stable I can do is 210-15 fsb = 3.25 & 4 cores.

*I can get an oc of 3.5ghz, and memory at 500/1000mhz w/ FSB AT 250x14, NB 2500. Funny thing is my memory will be at 800, and increases with fsb oc to 1000, which is a lower clock than 1333 BUT i have to increase the memory voltage to 1.7!! Makes no sense!

I understand that you have similar hardware in this review, and I'm curious what you did with the Biostar motherboard, and where you got stability. I cant get stability between 217-250 on FSB. I have no idea where my memory will be stable at, except 1333 at 200 and 1000 at 250 with insanely high voltage increase.
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# List of specs.Zac 2010-12-04 17:19
AMD Athlon II x3, Propus w/ 4th core, no L3.
Biostar A880G+ mboard
GSKILL RIPJAWS DDR3 1333
Radeon 4870 1GB
600watt PSU, 80%
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# RE: AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 ProcessorHank 2010-12-05 06:44
Hi Zac,

First off, my best guess at your problem would be that the 4th core you unlocked is probably bad and causing all your problems. Have you tried leaving that core disabled and overclocking?

Also, remember that AMD motherboards don't have an FSB, they have an HT Link and the "Bus speed" you are increasing for your overclock is just CPU/HT Reference clock. Your memory shouldn't have trouble adjusting to the increasing reference clock that much.

Rather than downclocking your memory, try increasing the memory latency to 9-9-9-27. I'd leave the memory voltage alone. If you need to increase the NB voltage because of the higher reference clock, I'd stay south of 1.4v. Also, I'd stay lower than about 1.6v on your CPU voltage, especially because the A880G+ doesn't have a MOSFET Heatsink or anything.

First, though, try disabling that fourth core. I'll bet you have much better luck overclocking after that.
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# comparison tablepaulo 2010-12-07 08:44
I would like to know which Intel processor is equivalent to the AMD Athlon II X3 - 445 - 3.1GHz ?
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# Comparible Intel CPUHank 2010-12-07 09:09
Paulo,

I suppose that depends on a lot of variables. Where price is concerned, a Pentium Dual-Core, maybe a E5400 or thereabouts will be the closest comparison. However, the X3-445 will easily outperform a Pentium Dual-Core E5400. Where performance is concerned, I would say the X3-445 falls between an i3-560 (about twice as expensive) and an i5-650 (about $100 more than the X3-445). Of course, that's all relative, because the i3-560 and i5-650 both have an L3 cache while the X3-445 doesn't. Additionally, they have other features such as an on die GPU that the X3-445 doesn't have. So really, that's a difficult question to answer. What exactly are you after? Price? Performance? A middle-ground between the two? A lot will depend on your other hardware as well.

Hank
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# RE: Comparible Intel CPUpaulo 2010-12-07 09:36
I need to know an equivalent in performance (MHz) in some other Intel processor for my "future" Athlon-II X3 445 3.1 MHz.

I haven't bought the processor yet, I'm just waiting for an answer to whether the comparison is worth buying the Athlon or not.

sorry about the english, I used Google...
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# Comparible Intel CPUHank 2010-12-07 13:28
Paulo,

Zac is right, the X3-445 outperforms much more expensive processors from Intel. My recommendation would be that, unless you want to do some very CPU intensive tasks, the X3-445 is a great processor and you won't find an equivalent for the same value on the Intel side.

By the way, what language do you speak? Porque si hablas espanol, podemos hablar en tu propio idioma y no tendras que usar Google para traducir.
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# languagepaulo 2010-12-07 14:42
dear Hank,

I speak portuguese...

Hank what happens is that I'm building a computer for a client, this client asked me to see how would the final price of the computer with this processor Athlon-II X3 445 3.1 MHz.

Then, the client remembered that a 3.1 MHz AMD processor "is not" the same as an Intel processor with 3.1 MHz and the client asked me to find a "table of equivalence" between Intel and AMD...

and this table is that I'm looking for the fastest possible because the customer wants the budget of the computer on Friday...

thanks a lot...
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# Intel 3.1GHzHank 2010-12-07 16:01
Paulo,
Unfortunately, I don't speak portuguese. :(
As far as clock speed is concerned,
The i3-550 is 3.2GHz and costs about $129.
The i5-650 is 3.2GHz and costs about $179.
The AMD X3-445 is 3.1GHz and costs about $79.

In most benchmarks, the X3-445 will perform better than the i3-550 and slightly worse than the i5-560. Again, it really depends on the types of things your client will be using the computer for. For most applications the X3-445 is much better for it's price. For 3D rendering, video encoding, or, frankly, file compression, the Intel CPUs will outperform the X3-445 and might be a better choice.

Hank
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# RE: AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 ProcessorZac 2010-12-07 11:57
I thought I had adjusted the memory timings manually before, but It must of been a bad clock or something. Changing them to 99924 allowed me to have lower voltage and better over-clock results. Im still towing with it. Ive got x3 cores and 3.62 OC. I cant get over 3.3ghz w/ 4th core unlocked.

About the L3 CACHE, I dont think it matters much for gaming unless you play EQ2. This chip passes the i3 and nearly competes directly with the i5 in Passmark, but im not really interested in much but gaming performance.
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# RE: AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 ProcessorZac 2010-12-07 13:38
I was also successful to OC it at 3.85ghz 14.5x266. But just (1) core.

@Hank, in the ACC it has percentage listing from -8% to +8% per core. Do you know anything about this? Some error calibration? I could not find anything on it. Also, if your NB and chip voltage jump a few degrees what is that a sign of? should I raise or lower one til they stop jumping?

Whats the max bus speed you guys seen these am3 II chips go? does a 1:1 ratio with memory matter any on amd cpus?
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# ACCHank 2010-12-07 13:56
Zac,

There is very little released about the ACC values, but the key to it is that decreasing a negative % will allow you to undervolt the core with the value and increasing the positive % will allow you to effectively overclock the core better. That was the initial intent of ACC, not just to unlock cores, but to adjust the cores individually.
By the way, the Biostar 880G motherboard shouldn't have ACC. AMD removed ACC from the 800 series motherboards. Biostar has the BIOUnlocKING feature, but it should function similarly.

That being said, if you use Prime95 to stress the cores, you can find out which ones are failing at your overclock levels. Then you can change those values under the ACC in the bios to try for better overclocks. For example, if your unlocked 4th core is failing, increase it to 1% in the ACC and try again, then 2% etc.

The jump in voltage is just because there isn't an extremely accurate voltage regulator interface from the BIOS to the motherboard. That's why, even when you increase the voltage to 1.6v, for example, CPUZ will only register that 1.52v is going to the CPU. Sandy Bridge could change this....
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# HT/CPU Reference ClockHank 2010-12-07 16:04
For the CPU/HT Reference Clock, I have gone as high as between 310-320 when I have reduced the CPU Multiplier. This can be a better option with locked multiplier CPUs like the X3-445, but I have generally found that the 250-265 range is the most stable, again, depending on the CPU.

Hank
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# RE: AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 ProcessorAriel 2011-01-20 21:47
I'll buy a processor soon but do not know which. Do you know if Athlon II x3 445 is very worse than Phenom II x2 555? I mean... the price difference justifies buying Phenom or the Athlon is only little worst and the difference is minimal?
Thank you!
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# RE: RE: AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 ProcessorHank 2011-01-21 11:14
To tell you the truth, I would buy the Athlon-II X3-445 over the Phenom-II X2-555 any day of the week. Look at my review of the Phenom-II X2-560BE to see direct comparisons between that and the Athlon-II X3-445.


#benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=601&Itemid=63

Hank
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# RE: RE: RE: AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 ProcessorAriel 2011-01-21 16:56
Oh, I thought the Phenom x2 was better than Athlon x3 because is more expensive...
The reviews are very clear! Thank you!
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# MrThomas DAmico 2011-11-27 19:15
Just won a AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 Processor on ebay as shown in this link:
#cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200680103779#ht_2020wt_1036.

WHAT MOTHERBOARD(S)DO YOU RECOMMEND I PURCHASE AS A BEST MATCH. PLEASE LIST MORE THAN ONE, SAY AT LEAST THREE, BETTER YET FIVE, IN THE ORDER OF SUPERIOR MATCHING.

ANY FURTHER ADVISE AS TO RAM, COOLERS, DESKTOP CASE TO CHOOSE, WILL LIKEWISE BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SEASONS' GREETING'S & HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!

THOMAS

11-27-11.
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# MotherboardsHank Tolman 2011-11-28 07:07
Congratulations on your win! As far as motherboards go, that is an extremely broad question. Any AM2+, AM3, or AM3+ motherboard would accept the AMD Athlon-II X3-445. Which one is best for you depends on a lot of factors. How much are willing to spend? What are you going to be using the system for?

I would recommend an AM3 motherboard. A 880G or 890GX chipset would do nicely, but a 700 series motherboard would be less expensive and work great also. Just search for AM3 motherboard and see what suits you. You'll need DDR3 RAM and I would recommend a dual channel kit. Any cooler for an AM2 or higher socket will fit. As far as cases go, anything that fits a mATX case or better will work for you.

Have fun building your system!

-Hank
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