For 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?
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 620||Phenom II X4|
|L1 Cache||4 x 128KB||4 x 128KB|
|L2 Cache||4 x 512KB||4 x 512KB|
|L3 Cache||--|| 6 MB|
|Transistors||300 million||758 million|
|Process||45 nm||45 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.
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?