AMD Athlon II 620 X4

Introduction

Introduction
 
x4For a long time AMD held the performance crown. Anyone with a passing interest in building their own computers, or having the fastest, ran AMD. The Barton processors were almost legendary. Then Intel came along with the 775 series of chips and AMD started lagging behind somewhat.
 
The upgrade of AM2 to AM2+, and then the switch to the DDR3 based AM3 platform redressed the balance and the recent various takes on the Phenom II core in processors ranging from the X2 240 all the way up to the full fat Phenom II X4 965BE have all provided good value for money and ensured that there is a chip for any budget, without requiring the user to purchase a new motherboard and relevant components every time they want to upgrade.
 
Today on Overclock3D we're looking at very aggressively priced and featured processor in the Athlon II series, the X4 620. Second from the top of the Athlon II line, the X4 630 is clocked slightly faster, does it provide the ultimate in performance for price, or have too many compromises been made?
 
 
Technology
 
AMD have codenamed this chip the "Propus" core and it very much appears to be a cut down version of the Deneb core found in the Phenom IIs.
 
 Athlon II X4 620Phenom II X4
Cores
 QuadQuad
L1 Cache4 x 128KB4 x 128KB
L2 Cache
4 x 512KB4 x 512KB
L3 Cache-- 6 MB
Transistors300 million758 million
Process45 nm45 nm
 
At first glance it does appear that it's a Deneb core with no L3 cache and under half the number of transistors. That should improve latency and help keep the processor cool. Always something we're interested in because as we all know, heat is the main problem when attempting to overclock a processor, or in these modern times, having one that is energy efficient.
 
The loss of the L3 cache appears to be the major thing missing. No other obvious compromises have been made. The X4 620 supports x86, x86-64, MMX, 3D Now, SSE, SSE2, SSE3 and SSE4a instruction sets.
 
One of the few faults I can find with the initial specifications is that this is not one of AMDs Black Edition range with unlocked multipliers, so this defaults to a multiplier of 13x, and can only be adjusted downwards. However, AMD are clearly aiming this processor at the mainstream and cost-effective upgrade end of the market, and it's by far the cheapest Quad Core you can buy, so to complain about something like an unlocked multiplier is a little harsh.
 
X4 620
 
Considering the X4 can be found for about half the price of a Phenom II, is the lack of L3 cache going to cripple this, or will the decrease in latency mean that this is one of the best bargains to be found for those wishing to dip their toe into the quad-core waters?
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Most Recent Comments

03-11-2009, 04:01:04

tinytomlogan
We welcome VonBlade to the Overclock3d Review team by sending him an AMD Athlon II 620 X4 to review.

Continue Reading

03-11-2009, 05:01:00

Mul.
Welcome to the team VB!

The X4 620 certainly is a stonking processor for the money, though my hunch is that the OC limitation lies with the motherboard. 250HTT can often be a real struggle for some boards. It may have been a CPU related limitation if the mobo didn't offer a decremental NB multiplier.

Good work!

03-11-2009, 07:37:11

VonBlade
Thanks Mul.

It was the most frustrating OC I've ever attempted. Usually you get towards it and gradually strike the balance between stability and the CPUz screengrab of death. This was just all or nothing.

It's amazing value for money though.

03-11-2009, 16:09:49

painejake
Picked one of these up last week actually... Gotta say for the cash it is a complete bargain. I managed 3.4Ghz but unstable. Running at 3.2GHz very stable

At 70-80 for a 3.2GHz Quad CPU you can't complain at all

Nice review VB

03-11-2009, 17:57:56

Rastalovich
Great review VB.

I think I'm alone in feeling uneasy about the pricing on this.

I do accept that, yes it's quad core, and yes it'll capably handle what's thrown at it - and I can see oc'ers liking this.

So why the uneasy feeling... perhaps if the 77 is mrrp and it onlines at 70 or a snatch under, I'd feel a little better.

But I think I latch onto the superpi score (which there is a multicore version available now I think I've seen), just under 25s for an oc. Then look over at Intel's camp, especially considering the 220 mobo/cpu idea. Intel are ofc making the adjustments too, and they're 'pentiumizing' previous c2d cpus, and yeah they're 2 cores (if u bank on 4 cores, or have a legit reason to think ur software will use it - ur not really on a budget imo) - but they are more attractively priced imo, and ofc they oc too.

Tough one.

04-11-2009, 13:29:13

Judderman
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='VonBlade'
Thanks Mul.

It was the most frustrating OC I've ever attempted. Usually you get towards it and gradually strike the balance between stability and the CPUz screengrab of death. This was just all or nothing.

It's amazing value for money though.
Very good review, and looks like the chip is going to be a bit of a bargain, to check if the 250fsb is the limit did you drop the multiplier down?, this may give an indicator if the 250fsb is the problem or the 3.2ghz clock is the limit

04-11-2009, 13:57:15

funslave
Hi, new here.

1. Nice review, man. 'Cause that's real life, where the silicon you buy does only a part of what most reviews say.

2. It looks to me that the notorius and long praised 785G chipset is somewhat stucked in OC. I don't especially blame a certain producer, but the chipset/BIOS combination. AMD770 + SB710 appears more OC-friendly, since I personally jumped over the 250 mark, and I bet I'm not the only.

3. Picked one of these nano-beasts last month. I've come along with a CADAC. After getting around 3.7 GHz with decent voltage, finally managed the 3.9 GHz with 13 x 300 on air cooling, but at 1.6V (see validation below). By the way, was it possible to set the memory to "Ganged" in the BIOS? I've noticed that you may OC further in this way.

It is also a question of luck: during more than a 6-year period, this is only the third CPU I own in a long series which proved to be highly OC-able.

Sorry, I'm not allowed to post links.

04-11-2009, 15:44:11

VonBlade
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Judderman'
did you drop the multiplier down?, this may give an indicator if the 250fsb is the problem or the 3.2ghz clock is the limit
Yes. Sorry I thought I'd said. The multiplier was dropped to 5, 7 and 10 and it still fell over at 250. Which does indicate it's probably the mobo.

Another test is in the pipeline.
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