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AMD's Athlon II X4: The Baby Quads Print E-mail
Written by Michael Schuette   
Sep 26, 2009 at 11:00 AM

It doesn’t always have to be fancy words. In fact it can be numbers. "Ninety-nine dollars... " for example. Fact of the matter is that AMD has released last week the first quad core CPU running at a double-digit price tag, something that can be hidden amongst the grocery and weekly gas entries on the credit card bill without sticking out that one extra number that instantly raises some questions. Oh yea.. that's what it was: "Ninety-nine dollars... "

Needless to say that in the European market or in the UK, that "ninety-nine dollars... " number is kind of lost but people in the old world are not using credit cards as much, and cheque cards abide by slightly different rules anyway.

Old-world considerations aside, four cores were never as affordable as now and maybe Intel holds the performance crown in the high-end sector and also has a killer product with the Atom in the low end but here is the absolute king of the value proposition: four cores for ninety-nine dollars... . Enter the Athlon II X4 620!

Well, apologies, the photograph actually shows the Athlon II X4 630 but the two newcomers are essentially the same, with a few minor differences in clock speed and price as listed right below and a few differences in performance as a result that we'll cover in the rest of the article.

Let's take a quick look at the current line-up of AMD CPUs before delving into design details:

Processor Code Name Clock Speed L2 Cache L3 CacheDie SizeTransistor Count TDP Price
Phenom II X4 965 BE Deneb 3.4 GHz 2 MB 6 MB 258 mm2 758 Million 140 WUS$ 245.-
Phenom II X4 955 BE Deneb 3.2 GHz 2 MB 6 MB 258 mm2 758 Million 125 WUS$ 245.-
Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0 GHz 2 MB 6 MB 258 mm2 758 Million 125 WUS$ 225.-
Phenom II X3 720 BE Heka 2.8 GHz 1.5 MB 6 MB 258 mm2 758 Million 95 WUS$ 145.-
Phenom II X2 250 BE Callisto 3.1 GHz 1 MB 6 MB 258 mm2 758 Million 80 WUS$ 105.-
Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8 GHz 2 MB n/a 169 mm2 300 Million 95 WUS$ 122.-
Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6 GHz 2 MB n/a 169 mm2 300 Million 95 WUS$ 99.-
Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0 GHz 2 MB n/a 117 mm2 234 Million 65 WUS$ 87.-

Just looking at the chart, AMD does have an impressive line-up in the sub- US$ 150 range but also note that the 800 series with its smaller (disabled) L3 cache is no longer listed here. Needless to say that they are still in the channel but one of the questions we are addressing today is whether it is really worth running for the extra L3 cache or not. The answer is as always: It depends ...

Last Updated ( Nov 20, 2009 at 10:24 AM )
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