AMD Athlon II 620 X4

Conclusion

Conclusion and Final Thoughts
 
It's difficult not to be impressed by the AMD Athlon II 620 X4. It provides a genuine 2.6GHz quad-core processor that will work perfectly well in either your current AM2+ motherboard, making it even more of a bargain, as it would provide 4 core goodness for a very small investment. As part of a new build for the budget conscious it clearly would be a good starting point and the interchangeability of AMDs platform ensures that should you require even more horsepower a Phenom II is just a short stones throw away. However, today is all about this particular chip, so how did it fair?
 
Initially the lack of L3 cache would appear to be a major hindrance and one that seemed like a strange decision on AMDs part. This certainly isn't like some of the Athlon II dual-cores in which a quick visit to Advanced Clock Calibration could provide a nice surprise. No the L3 cache just doesn't exist. There are reports that in the very very early stages of release the 620 X4 was just a Phenom II with disabled cache, but that certainly isn't the case here, and nobody should buy one looking for a cheap Phenom II.
 
However, testing clearly showed that this L3 cache actually makes very little difference to the real-world performance. Synthetic performance was exceptionally impressive, particularly once it had been overclocked. The 3 minute reduction in rendering time in PovRay stood out as one of the more impressive things that we came across during testing, and certainly for anyone looking for an all-rounder this is a genuine bargain.
 
Gaming performance, especially considering the mid to low-end graphics card used in testing, was quite surprising. Devil May Cry 4 provided playable (60fps +) frame rates from the medium resolution and details used in the review. Far Cry 2 was a revelation. The Dunia engine scales very well and, once we'd seen the results of the low resolution test with 70+ fps average, hopes were high that this processor could really make the 4850 sweat. It easily dealt with everything set to very high and 1680x1050, providing a very playable experience. Crysis performed about as expected although I was surprised that even the lowly 4850 could provide nearly 30fps average, and again it must be stated that this at no point felt jerky thanks to the 620 X4s ability to push data at a very consistent rate. Grid performed fantastically as it always does on ATI hardware, but as someone who's run it on this graphics card but with a lesser processor it has made a definite improvement all across the board.
 
A motherboard, processor and graphics card combination that can play Far Cry 2 at 50fps, gets great frame rates in Crysis, and decimates COD4 and Grid for around £220? Sounds about as good value for money as it's possible to get, and speaks very highly of AMDs Dragon platform.
 
The overclocking results are a mixed bag. It hit 3.25GHz so easily that anyone could do (put bus speed at 250, done). However the initial promise this gave that we might have the next Q6600 on our hands was quickly dispelled as 250 seemed to be the wall. No amount of tweaking and adjustments could get the system remotely stable over this despite the fact it was 30°C underneath the thermal limit. It's not clear yet whether this is a problem with the chip or with the motherboard, but you can rest assured that this wont be the last time we torture this chip to try and unlock its obvious potential.
 
So in conclusion if you have an AMD motherboard or are looking to build a system on a budget, this processor is highly recommended. It's got enough grunt to power some heavyweight applications and yet still provide good gaming performance. In fact the money you save basing your system on this great value chip could easily be spent on a 5850 or similar and we are in no doubt that the AMD Athlon II 620 X4 could provide the required grunt to make it sweat. Highly recommended and I have absolutely no qualms about giving it the OC3D Value For Money Award. A 3.25GHz Quad Core for around £80 seems to good to be true, and yet isn't. Congratulations to AMD.
 
The Good
- Price.
- Performance.
- Cool even under overclocked conditions.
- Doesn't require a whole new subsystem.
 
The Mediocre
- It overclocks well, but promises much more headroom than seems to be available.
- No L3 cache, although this didn't seem to make much difference in the tests.
 
The Bad
- Nothing springs to mind.
 
Value    
     
Many thanks to AMD for providing the Processor used in todays test. Discuss in our forums.
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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.
Reply
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