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AMD Phenom-II X4-840 CPU HDX840WFGMBOX E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors
Tuesday, 04 January 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Phenom-II X4-840
Testing and Results
AIDA64 Extreme Edition v1.1 Benchmark Tests
Passmark PerformanceTest
PCMark Vantage Benchmark Tests
SiSoftware Sandra
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
Street Fighter IV Benchmark
Video Transcoding Tests
AMD Phenom-II X4-840 Final Thoughts
AMD Phenom-II X4-840 Conclusion

AMD Phenom-II X4-840 Final Thoughts

If the Phenom-II X4-840 really releases at an MSRP of only $102 (of which I am skeptical), it will become the fastest quad-core CPU in its price range. It will actually be less expensive than the Athlon-II X4-645, the flagship Athlon-II quad-core processor. This will make it a great buy, and it would be a great move on the part of AMD right in line with the release of the Sandy Bridge platform.


One thing that just bugs me about the Phenom-II X4-840 is its name. I can't complain about the performance, because it's right in line with where the specifications put it. What I am complaining about is AMD calling this processor a Phenom-II CPU. It's not. The Phenom-II X4-840 is clearly a renamed Athlon-II X4-645.

AMD said that it was bringing back the Phenom-II X4-800 series moniker with the X4-840. Unfortunately, it's a wolf in sheep's clothing. One thing that I have always appreciated about the incremental upgrades in Athlon-II and Phenom-II CPUs was the transparency in the naming convention. We saw the Athlon-II X4-635 replaced by the X4-640, then the X4-645. The same thing took place up and down the line of Athlon-II and Phenom-II processors; until now.

The Phenom-II line has always had an L3 cache. That's what you think of when you buy a Phenom-II processor. Quite honestly, if I were browsing around online, looking for a good deal on a processor, and I hadn't read any reviews of the Phenom-II X4-840, I would be in trouble. I would see the Phenom-II X4-840 for close to $100 and I would automatically think it was a Phenom-II X4-800 series processor, complete with the Deneb die and the 4MB of L3 cache. I just can't help but think it's kind of shady to market this processor as something that it clearly isn't.

On another note, if this processor were called the Athlon-II X4-650, I would enthusiastically put my support behind it. The Phenom-II X4-840 specifications fall right in line to make it the new flagship Athlon-II processor and its set to be priced to sell. If the highest level of Athlon-II X4 processors starts selling for $102, I can see a lot of competition coming, even with the release of the Sandy Bridge platform.

As the test results showed, the Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge CPU offers superior performance to anything else in our test bed, even the Core i7-920. Set to release at $216, the i5-2500K and other Sandy Bridge CPUs are going to be a menace to AMD CPU prices. With this in mind, I am not too surprised at the price set for the Phenom-II X4-840. It seems like a great place to put it. Now if AMD would just get to it and release a new CPU series. Keep bookmarked to learn about what's happening and what's being announced at CES in the next few days.



# You tell it like it isBernardP 2011-01-04 06:09
Congrats for telling it like it is. I have read another review that glosses over the renaming trickery.

However... the Phenom II 840 is not "a wolf in sheep's clothing", as you say, but more of a sheep in wolf's clothing :-)

It should be called a Athlon II 650, without a doubt. This renaming brings shame to AMD.

No doubt we will see the likes of HP and Acer peddling this Phalse Phenom to the gullible masses.
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# Marketing at it's finestComputer Ed 2011-01-04 07:52
That in the end was the reason for it. My sources at AMD hinted that the name change was asked for by the partners. However as I understand it the 800 series will be the replacement as it where for the Athlon II line.

On a different note I am curious how many people complained when the the i5 was moved from the quad core as it originally released to a dual? Did anyone cry foul then?
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# I agreeHank 2011-01-04 12:10
I mentioned in my review of the i5-2500K that I was glad for the newer transparency with the Sandy Bridge CPUs where all i5 chips are quad-core with no hyperthreading. It's disappointing that they don't have hyperthreading, but at least we know what to expect when buying an i5 this time.
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# What about the "real" Phenom II?Olle P 2011-01-14 06:37
I think the most intriguing result of this test is how little extra performance is gained by adding 6MB L3 cache and hiking up the clock speed from 3.2 to 3.6 GHz (the specs of the 975).

The difference in actual results is mostly way below the 12.5% expected by the clock speed alone.

Seems like the only reason for spending the extra money on a "real" Phenom II X4 is to get a Black Edition with better overclocking.
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# replyNormal 2011-01-20 14:17
@Olle P

Do not forget the L3 cache is suited for memory intensive tasking.
So just a clockspeed application a faster Athlon will beat a lower clocked Phenom,but whenever memory (Cache) comes in play a slower Phenom will beat an even higher clocked Athlon handsdown.
That's why in certain games the smaller P2X2 560 will beat the Athlon 2X4 645 .
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# MrDavid Richmond 2011-05-20 10:24
I built a new pc around a 840 cpu.I was going to use a i3 clarkdale originally but when I went to buy the supplyer only had the new sandybridge as I was on a tight budget I took the amd route instead.A great choice fsst at most tasks and cheap.
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