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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

Video Game Benchmarks

PC-based video games can depend heavily on the CPU if the attached GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is less powerful, or the graphics settings are configured so low that they create no strain on the video card and must rely purely on system processing speed; a phenomenon known as CPU-dependence. The opposite is true when the video game has a powerful video card installed, and can handle all graphical demands without receiving assistance from the CPU. Benchmark Reviews has proven consistently that, with a high end GPU in use, frame rates are not often noticeably impacted by changes in processor or RAM. Since it is unlikely that someone spending enough money to buy a top-of-the-line graphics card would settle for the Athlon-II X4-640 as their gaming processor, we have decided to use Radeon HD 4200 with 128MB of DDR3 SidePort Memory, the ATI on-board video solutions provided with the ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO motherboard for these gaming tests.

It is important to realize, however, that the Athlon-II X2, X3 and X4 processors can all be used to play modern games, and even at very high settings. The only way to do this, however, is through the purchase of a high end graphics card. While the most likely purchasers of the Athlon-II X3-445 will not be high end gamers, it is feasible that some people might want to play the latest games, but have a budget that limits them to either a high end processor, or a high end graphics card. For this reason, we have included here the results of the gaming tests with the MSI NVIDIA GTX 285 GPU. This card runs about $370. There are other cards, i.e. some of the Radeon HD 5xxx cards, that will provide enough power to play these games even with an entry level processor. In these cases, the GPU is doing most of the work for the game, and the processor is much less involved.

Built upon an advanced version of Capcom's proprietary MT Framework game engine to deliver DirectX 10 graphic detail, Resident Evil 5 offers gamers non-stop action similar to Devil May Cry 4, Lost Planet, and Dead Rising. The MT Framework is an exclusive seventh generation game engine built to be used with games developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and PC ports. MT stands for "Multi-Thread", "Meta Tools" and "Multi-Target". Games using the MT Framework are originally developed on the PC and then ported to the other two console platforms.

On the PC version of Resident Evil 5, both DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 modes are available for Microsoft Windows XP and Vista Operating Systems. Microsoft Windows 7 will play Resident Evil with backwards compatible Direct3D APIs. Resident Evil 5 is branded with the NVIDIA The Way It's Meant to be Played (TWIMTBP) logo, and receives NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision functionality enhancements. NVIDIA and Capcom offer the Resident Evil 5 benchmark demo for free download from their website, and Benchmark Reviews encourages visitors to compare their own results to ours.


Regardless of processing power, with the on-board graphics, none of these CPUs can give us playable frame rates in Resident Evil 5. The tests were completed with the lowest settings possible at the most likely low-end gaming resolution of 1280x1024. In order to play the game, you will need to invest in a discrete GPU. The Radeon HD4200 just doesn't have what it takes to play this game. The game seems to favor clock speed over cores when dealing with the X2 and X3 processors, but the X4-640, with its fourth core, seems to pull a few more frames out of it.


The results from the Devil May Cry 4 tests are consistent with the Resident Evil 5 benchmark scores. None of the processors can muster enough frame rates to play the game without trouble. We are not surprised by the results of the gaming tests. While the frame rates to fluctuate generally based on what seems to be the clock speed of the CPU being used, none of the processors can make up for the lack of power in the Radeon HD4200. Even if you were to use the fastest Phenom-II chips available, it is doubtful that frame rates would reach decent playable levels. Playable levels are generally agreed to be over 30 FPS. So in Scene 4, some powerful CPUs might make it. Gameplay overall, however, would be less than viable with an onboard solution. Again, if you were using the fastest Phenom-II CPUs, you wouldn't likely be using the on-board graphics. These graphics are meant for media playback in an HTPC or for routine everyday uses, not for gaming.

If you have kept up with Benchmark Reviews articles in the past, it will come as no surprise to you that we have continually proven that, when using a high end graphics card, CPU speed and RAM speed and timings have very little to do with a noticeable increase in Frames Per Second, even at the highest settings. In order to show that the Athlon-II X4-640 actually IS a viable processor for use in gaming, when paired with a high end video card, we have included benchmark testing of the same two games using the NVIDIA GTX 285 video card. This card will set you back close to $370, so it is unlikely that it will often be paired with an Athlon-II processor. However, if your budget allows for only one high end item, and you want to play the latest videos games, these tests clearly show that you can do so with a good video card.


Like I said before, playable frame rates are at least above 30 FPS. I have used the V-Sync here to prove a point. At 60 FPS, you are seeing just about as much of the game as you can. Undoubtedly, if I were to take off the V-Sync, the i7-920 would provide a higher margin of success than the Athlon-II processors, with their lack of L3 cache and hyperthreading. Even so, the Athlon-II X4-640 can easily get up over 100 FPS when paired with a high-end video card. Again, the point is that the games are much less dependent on the CPU than some may think.


We can see that when using the much better GPU, the games are easily playable with the Athlon-II X4-640 and even the X2 processors. Due to the 60Hz refresh rate at 1920X1080 on the Acer X233H used for testing, and the V-Sync feature, the results are capped at 60 FPS. I did bump the refresh rate up to 75Hz at a much lower display setting, and the results were similarly maxed at right near 75 FPS. The real purpose of these tests is just to show how little difference the processor really makes when it comes to playing high end games. The GPU is the real factor here.



# 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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