Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fan, video card and hard drive model. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements POV-Ray 3.7 was run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load. All of the systems used identical hardware minus the motherboard and processor.
Results: When it came to idle power consumption the AMD Phenom X3 8750 consumed less power than some of the other Phenom processors, but was still higher than some of the other processors we benchmarked it against. The entire system consumed 145W at idle and 202W at full CPU load.
The new 50-series Phenom X3 triple-core processors performed great for being the first processor to operate with three cores. None of our testing applications had any issues with the triple-core design and the motherboards we tested it on all worked as well. This also means that consumers will be able to use AMD Phenom X3 processors as an upgrade option as you can just drop them into many socket AM2 boards that are already on the market today. Just remember Phenom X3s have a 95W TDP rating, so make sure the board you are upgrading can support that many Watts. We’ve heard reports that enthusiasts and gamers are putting 125W TDP CPUs into some entry level 780G boards and causing the boards to fail. This is because the entry level boards don’t have the power management required for high end Phenom X4 processors like the Phenom X4 9850! Since all the current Phenom X3 processors are 95W they go perfectly with the AMD 780G platform. The Phenom X3 series and the 780G chipset now make up what AMD has called the ‘Cartwheel’ platform, which is aimed at the $500 PC segment.
When it comes to performance the AMD Phenom X3 8750 performed much faster than the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ and actually beat out the AMD Phenom X4 9600 (Running the TLB Patch) in a number of benchmarks. It was also able to perform better than the Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 and Core 2 Duo E6750 as seen in the benchmarks. Intel still has the lead when overclocking, but AMD hasn’t been marketing the Phenom X3 series as enthusiasts parts. With that said, we still managed to get another 500MHz out of the Phenom X3 8750 by overclocking just the bus frequency. This is a pretty solid number and while 3GHz could be had it still wasn’t stable on our test platform.
Pricing on the new ’50’ series of AMD Phenom X3 processors are aggressive, but we’d like to seem them even lower. For just an extra $20 one can have a quad-core Phenom processor with the same clock speed.
Of course many consumers are on a tight budget as are system builders, so the Phenom X3 will be a popular part for those where $20 makes or breaks the total system cost. Also keep in mind that the Phenom X3 triple-core processor is similar to X-Box 360’s configuration, which might help marketing and sales down the road. As more and more games are ported over from the Microsoft X-Box 360 to the PC it might just mean that triple-core is all you need for gaming.
Legit Bottom Line: AMD Phenom X3 processors have now had the TLB Erratum fixed and are ready to be a drop-in upgrade to your current AMD socket AM2 motherboard.