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Written by Hank Tolman   
Friday, 02 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Athlon-II X4-640
Testing and Results
EVEREST Benchmark Tests
Passmark PerformanceTest
PCMark Vantage Benchmark Tests
SiSoftware Sandra
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
Video Game Benchmarks
AMD Athlon-II Overclocking
AMD Athlon-II X4 Final Thoughts
ADX640WFGMBOX Conclusion

AMD Athlon-II X4 Final Thoughts

The launch of the Athlon II brand marked 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. Below that comes 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's one notch lower, sitting directly in the mainstream market segment. These budget processors bring quad-core processing to under $100. The latest releases, just 100MHz speed bumps on the older versions of the same processors, will help fill in the gaps in the AMD processor line, providing a perfect fit for nearly any user.

Our tests have been focused on looking at the Athlon-II X4-640 as a potential purchase over the Athlon-II X3 models that sit at just $35 less expensive. The quad-core processor market is quickly building its consumer base, and many games and programs are taking notice and designing their applications to take advantage of multiple cores. Even so, dual-core usage is still the highest on the Steam hardware survey. Throughout our testing, we have proved very consistently that the Athlon-II X4-640 can outperform the X3-445, especially in multi-core applications. While this doesn't come as a huge surprise, it is very interesting that the improvement from X2-260 to the X3-445 was consistently near 40% to 50%. The improvement from the X3-445 to the X4-640 was still impressive, but only about 30%. With the price difference from X2 to X3 at only $11 and the difference from X3 to X4 at $35, it seems that the upgrade to the quad-core might be less valuable then the upgrade to the triple-core.


Of course, for users of entry-level processors, there isn't as large a need for multi-core usage as there is amongst enthusiast and high-end gamers who are going to opt for a quad-core processor anyway. Only the latest, most resource intensive games even utilize more than one core at this point. This is rapidly changing, and most new games coming out take advantage of extra cores, but it is still a new trend. As the trend continues, I think we will see more entry-level users opting for quad-core processors over low-end dual-core processors with the prices being as enticing as Athlon-II X4-640 at $122.

With the Athlon-II X4-640 priced as it is, it offers a great option for upgraders or individuals on a budget looking to get a new computer for basic home uses. AMD suggests using the newly released Athlon-II processors with the 890GX chipset. The new chipset really isn't all that different from the 790G chipset, in use now for quite a while. The main difference is the addition of built-in compatibility with SATA 6Gb/s. Given the extremely limited amount of hardware available that takes advantage of the new SATA standard, the compelling reasons to move to the 890GX chipset at this point are few. Look out for our upcoming reviews of new 890GX motherboards for more information on this.


That being said, I tested the Athlon-II X4-640 in a 785G motherboard. I did this because I had more luck overclocking and better overall test results with the 785G over the 890GX. While this may be limited to only the two motherboards I used, and other 890GX motherboards might perform better, I think I can safely conclude that the benefits of upgrading to the 890GX chipset right now are not necessary. I highly recommend using the Athlon-II X4-640 in the 785G chipset. It works particularly well in the ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO motherboard. I would definitely look for a motherboard that offers the 128MB of DDR3 sideport memory if you are planning on using the onboard GPU. The Athlon-II X4-640 processor offers an excellent entry point for any budget minded user.



# RE: AMD Athlon-II X4-640 CPU ADX640WFGMBOXRobert17 2010-07-02 15:38
I replaced an Athlon x2 4200+ I'd been using for years with an x4 930 using the same ASUS M3N78 Pro motherboard, mainly to encode audio a little faster. $99 has been the tag on the 930 for months and I found it to be a nice uptick for my needs. It seems the 940 you reviewed would be a nice upgrade for anyone with a modest budget. I agree with your article wholeheartedly. Nicely done.
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# What I would like to seeBernardP 2010-07-05 10:13
Maximum overcl#ing at maximum voltage is of limited practical use. Data I would like to see even more are: maximum overclocking at stock voltage and undervolting results at standard clock.
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# Stock Voltage OverclockHank 2010-07-14 15:30
The highest stable overclock I was able to achieve using stock voltage was 3.69GHz. I increased the bus speed to 246 and left the multiplier at x15. I haven't yet tried to see how much I can undervolt the CPU at stock speeds, but I will try it out tomorrow.
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# UndervoltingDevius 2010-07-07 06:21
BernardP: I have an Athlon II X4 630 and the same motherboard used in this review and I found the cpu to be stable with 1.21375V at stock speed.
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# Power saverAdam Smith 2010-07-15 06:44
I chose a motherbd and CPU to get he most bang for the $ using less electricity. I was going to underclock to reduce power usage. Weeks of reading lead to choosing the Athlon IIx4 635, Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3. It uses less electricity is very adjustable (& will do 6 cores) has 4290 GPU usb3 SATA 6 Gb/s g.skill ddr3 1.35volt 2gb x2 use win 7Pro64t. (turn ACHI on before installing windows, then do the SSD)
Typing this on the internet - my kill a watt says my power usage is 73.9 watts this includes my power adaptors for my dsl router and my monitor + KVM + an ocz vertex2 (the 2 is very important) 50G ssd (the 50 is better than the 60 for reliability+longevit y sake).
When I turn on the speakers my pwrusage goes up to 76.6. When I add my printer idle it goes up to 85 watts.
After much testing I am now at stock speeds and just turned the cpu voltage down to 1.2 and the memory voltage down. The system is very stable at these speeds.
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# Power usage on your Athlon II 635Bob 2011-04-10 13:47
Hi Adam, have you used your kill-a-watt to measure only the PC (without monitor, KVM, and other itmes)? I am really curious about this measurement.

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# RE: power saverSunji 2010-12-19 17:13
ive chosen station very similar to your configuration. funny, i read this article after buying new pc but i see we made almost the same solution.
right now i got Athlon II x4 640, Asus M4A89TD PRO mainboard, ddr3 1600 2x2 GB RAM with 1,7-1,9V. instead of onboard GPU ive chosen Gigabyte's GF GTX 460 768 OC GPU - its high-end but doesnt use much power while iddle running.
as i can tell u dont have to decrease the multiplier. while cool n quiet turned on it decrease it automaticly down to x4 with 800 MHz core speed and 1,044 Voltage. the same goes with other componetns, the system reduce usage power and increase it when its needed (i.e. when ur playing games).
the only one thing u should remember - make sure to buy better quality(80+) PSU, like Seasonic or Tagan. with my config the 520W PSU runns perfectly
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# mere curiosityADI 2011-02-02 02:55
Great article i must say... n thanks to mr. tolman. But sir there is a question which i have i dunno how correct i am in asking this but which one is better Athlon X4 640 or Phenom II X4 955 BE. X4 645 is prices at around $110 and X4 955 BE at around $150 but i was just comparing the scores of few benchmarks from different articles on benchmark reviews and found both the processor's performance is almost the same or sometimes X4 640 beating the X4 955 BE... I dunno if anyone has noticed this earlier or my observation is wrong.

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# Athlon II x4 640 vs Phenom II x4 955Andrzej 2011-09-20 12:17
Phenom II X4 955 BE is a much faster cpu than Athlon X4 640 but uses at default speeds 20 - 30W of power more both idle and under load.
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# there is a lvl 3 cache on propustheunlocker 2011-10-21 10:45 m-d4dhc88.jpg

take a look at the cache of my Athlon II x4 640 :)
runs absolutely stable and well.
at 3 Ghz, not overclocked, i had the same test result with the Phenom II x4 940
actually... they are the same.
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# amd athlon ii x4 640Dee P.I. 2012-01-30 13:10
my processor when i bought it the multiplier was x4 only is this normal???my processor is amd athlon iix4 640..need some answers pls!help
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# adm athalon x 2 640 3.20ghz 3gb memmorymichele 2012-03-04 11:28
i have this...have to say i am not impressed. it runs ok when browsing the internet. but when i need to use a program, such as photoshop or 3max, it runs supper slow. i had a pentium 4 3.0 with 5gb memmory which was 7 years old when it broke down...even till the very last of its time, the pentuim ran my programs faster and smoother than the athalon x2.
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# OppsPoxer 2012-10-02 13:12
I know you most likely(& hopefully) have this fixed by now. But in case anyone have the same issue try upgrading BIOS to begin with. Look at the motherboards manufacters specifications, does it support your processor? Clear CMOS.

Hank, I think you should add that you not only increased the bus but hopefully reduced the HT multiplier etc as well. For those less experienced.

If I remember correctly things get troublesome above 2,5Ghz HT on that MB maybe could be fixed by changing volts here and there but yeah. And that BIOS is a hell :P I want numbers updated directly. For example if you increase the bus then change the multiplier it will not (in BIOS) show what you actually change to but what it would have been with default bus freq.
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