|AMD Athlon-II X3-445 AM3 Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Tuesday, 11 May 2010|
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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.
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)
"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."