|AMD Athlon-II X4-640 CPU ADX640WFGMBOX|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Friday, 02 July 2010|
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AMD Athlon-II X4-640 Propus Processor Review
In September 2009, AMD unleashed a torrent of personal computing potential by introducing the market to the first sub-$100 quad-core processor, the Athlon-II X4-620. Since then, like it has with the entire Athlon-II series, AMD has been releasing newer versions of their inexpensive quad-core CPUs. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at AMDs latest release in the Athlon-II X4 line, the Athlon-II X4-640 ADX640WFK42GM AM3 Processor. Built on the Propus die, the Athlon-II X4 series cuts costs by eliminating any L3 cache and limiting the L2 cache to 512KB per core. In looking at the performance of the Athlon-II X4-640, we will compare it to other recent AMD offerings in a similar price range, the Athlon-II X2-260 and the Athlon-II X3-445.
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 brought 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.
In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the new Athlon-II X4-640 Quad-Core Processor and compares it's performance to that of the Athlon-II X3-445 and X2-260 processors. All three have similar clock speeds, with the X4-640 at 3.0GHz, the X3-445 at 3.1GHz and the X2-260 at 3.2Ghz. With the release of the Athlon-II X4-640 as AMDs flagship Athlon-II processor, the price of the 2.9GHz Athlon-II X4-635 will fall below $100. The X4-640 was released at an MSRP of $122, with the X3-445 and X2-260 comparison processors at $87 and $76, respectively. Here at Benchmark Reviews, we have recently tested both the X3-445 and the X2-260 and found them to be excellent performers for the entry-level prices they represent. We will be quite surprised if the Athlon-II X4-640 provides us with a different view than these others, as AMD has proven to be quite consistent with the price to performance ratio of its recently released products.
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."