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Written by Hank Tolman   
Monday, 29 March 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Athlon-II X2-255
Testing and Results
EVEREST Benchmark Tests
Passmark PerformanceTest
PCMark Vantage Benchmark Tests
SiSoftware Sandra
Video Game Benchmarks
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

AMD Athlon-II X2-255 AM3 Processor Review

In late January 2010, AMD released a new series of processors that fills in some of the gaps in their Athlon-II and Phenom-II Dual, Triple, and Quad-Core Lines. Most of the newly released processors are really just 100Mhz clock speed bumps on the old versions. Today at Benchmark Reviews we are focusing on the newly released ADX255OCGQBOX AMD Athlon-II X2-255 AM3 processor. Based on the Regor core, the Athlon-II X2-255 has a 3.1Ghz clock speed, up 100Mhz from the Athlon-II X2-250 at 3.0GHz which was released last summer. The Athlon-II X2-255 is at the very low end of the newly released processors and represents a very value based market at only $74.99 over at Benchmark Reviews is going to use the Athlon-II X2-255, with its support for DDR2 RAM up to 1066Mhz as well as DDR3 RAM up to 1333Mhz, to show some of the great upgrade options available for consumers who have been waiting for a low-cost option to a better computer system.

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 January 2010, almost 21% of gamers (remember, the hardware survey is based on Steam users) are still using single core processors in their systems. And that's coming off one of the most sale studded holiday seasons ever. Quad core use is up, but still only amounts to 20% of users. That means that there are more gamers out there with single core processors than quad cores. The bulk of the users use dual core processors with speeds between 2.0 and 2.6GHz. This leaves a lot of room for upgrade.


In this article, Benchmark Reviews will be upgrading from two Intel dual core systems currently used as media PCs and for playing popular games, and converting over to an AMD system using the Athlon-II X2-255 AM3 Processor. This will give us a good idea of the differences in performance and it will allow us to see if the lower-than-ever-prices being offered by AMD for its processors can justify the upgrade. After all, we would all love to have a powerhouse computer, but it comes down to what we can afford to spend on our computer gaming vice. We will also overclock the AMD Athlon-II X2-255 to see just how much power we can get out of it. Join us now as we take apart AMD's latest entry in their lower end Athlon-II line.

About Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (AMD)AMD_Fusion_Logo_300px.jpg

"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."



# Great read with one flawBrian 2010-03-30 06:41
I like the read. It had great set of info for my next build, but I see a small flaw in the test. You said in the description that the FSB was eliminated because then the data transfer will be a whole lot faster than with a FSB, but I would like to know since the E6300 FSB is 1066Mhz, and the E5300 FSB is 800Mhz, what would happen with the Intel processor with a FSB of 1333MHz? The tests are sound don't get me wrong, but I would like to see what will the outcome will be with this processor. I use both AMD and Intel at home, and I see a great difference between them. but I would like to know more when it comes with a higher FSB? Still a great read, a job well done.
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# Contributing EditorHank 2010-03-30 07:40
I'm sorry, but I am extremely confused by your comment. I don't know how it would be possible to eliminate the FSB. Also, if I were to use an Intel processor with an FSB of 1333MHz it would certainly be faster than the Athlon-II X2-255, considering the least expensive of these would be a Core 2 Quad at about $160 or so. We don't need benchmarks to tell us that the Core 2 Quad will come out ahead. If I'm way off and you are talking about something else altogether, could you rephrase you question for me?
Hope this helps,

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# RE: Contributing EditorBrian 2010-03-30 08:09
Thanks for the reply, to rephrase the question, there are dual core processors that have a FSB of 1333Mhz, i.e Intel E8500. Since this is just a dual core processor, how will something like the E8500 or the E6750 go against the Athlon II X2 which has no FSB?
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# RE: RE: Contributing EditorHank 2010-03-30 09:41
Ok, I see what you mean. The processors with a 1333MHz FSB would likely all outperform the Athlon-II X2-255. The increase FSB speed would make a difference, but so would the 4MB of L2 cache. The processors used in this review were picked to test the upgradeability of the Athlon-II X2-255, and also to show its performance relative to its price. Even the E6750 will run you nearly twice what the Athlon-II X2-255, so you can expect that it will do better. But will it do twice as well as the X2-255? It's all about what you are willing to spend, as well. Paired with a 785G motherboard, like in the review, the processor/mb combo is only $150. You would be spending that on just the processor for a 1333MHz Core 2 Duo, and you wouldn't get the Radeon HD 4200. :)
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# RE: RE: Contributing EditorHank 2010-03-30 09:50
I don't there is an Intel competitor that can match the performance of the X2-255 for the same price. I think to get a processor that will beat the X2-255, you need to look at the Pentium E6500, and even that might be close. The Core 2 Duos, even the E7500 at just over $100 will outperform the X2-255, and certainly the i3-530 at $120. You'd have to compare those, however, to the Phenom-II X2-555 or maybe the Athlon-II X4-630 to get a better idea of AMD/Intel matchup.
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# RE: RE: Contributing EditorBrian 2010-03-30 14:55
Well if you put it that way than that's actually more understandable, I was just wondering why the 1333Mhz dual core processor was not on the list for some reason. But thanks for the replies, it was still a very informative reading. :)
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# RE: AMD Athlon-II X2-255 CPU ADX255OCGQBOXJohn D mathis 2011-02-04 19:24
Intersting read, informative, factual, and utilitarian. I am contemplating an upgrade on my Velocity Micro lemon, w/Intel mobo, E6600 CpU, andhaving replaced the Mobo, video card, snd card, re-installed XP Home, several times over the three years, I look longingly at the AMD line in an Asus Mobo. It appears that AMD-Asus kit would be the way to go, based on the near 20 years my Compaq (AMD cpu) has lasted w/o a hitch.Caveat other than the Creative Snd Card, always a problem configuring. Couple that with not having to replace snd, video and Net card and the value goes way up. Doing the owrk myself, a no brainer with today's modular designs, makes the AMD a GREATER value. Bit more inot the Mobo, and still save about 50% over Intel's inflated prices and w/o the arrogance of their deaf "help desk". You guys are great, saved me a tone of money, aguish and KEEP up the good work.
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