AMD Socket AM3 Processors Arrive - X3 720 BE & X4 810

Last month during the Consumer Electronics Show, AMD announced their new 45nm desktop processors with the launch of the Phenom II series. The series consisted of Phenom II X4 940 and Phenom II X4 920 processors. In our review of the Phenom II X4 940 processor we saw that the new 45nm processors looked much improved from both a performance and overclocking stand point. AMD cannot pose a threat to the Intel Core i7 processor series with Phenom II, but they can compete with them when it comes to the price of the processor and the overall final price of the platform in its entirety.

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor Overclocking

AMD is announcing five new Socket AM3 processors that many enthusiasts have been waiting months for. These processors are based off the same 45nm 'Deneb' core that the previous Phenom II processors use, but with a few tweaks and a new memory controller. This new memory controller allows the processor to run both DDR2 and DDR3 memory kits, which is good news for AMD as up to a 5% performance boost can be seen when running DDR3 memory on Phenom II processors. What is even better news is that AM3 processors are 100% backwards compatible with motherboards using AM2+ sockets, which means you do not have to run out and buy a brand new Socket AM3 motherboard and a DDR3 memory kit to upgrade to one of these processors.

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor Overclocking

Right about know you are more than likely thinking that other than a memory controller change not much else happened. AMD actually made a package change and removed two of the 940 pins that are found on Socket AM2 and AM2+ processors, so the new Socket AM3 processors have just 938 pins! So, if you want to invest in an AMD processor that supports DDR3 memory to give you an upgrade path down the road you can breathe a sigh of relief as AMD officially announced the immediate availability of the following five new AM3-packaged Phenom II processors:

Today, we will be looking at the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition processor and the Phenom II X4 810 processor. The Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition processor is said to have the most potential since it is an unlocked black edition processor that retails for under $145. Let's take a closer look at these two processors before jumping into the benchmarks!

Phenom II X4 810 and Phenom II X3 720 BE

AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition Processor

Not too much hype is around triple-core processors these days, but AMD has high hopes that the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition processor is about to change all that. AMD is positioning the triple-core $145 X3 720 BE against Intel's $165 dual-core E8400. AMD feels that the $20 lower price will offer consumers a better value since the processor has an additional core. Sadly, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor that we reviewed yesterday can be had for $169 and might as well be in the same price category. AMD still has a lower price tag, but no longer has a core advantage. What is interesting to us is the fact that this processor should have a ton of overclocking headroom due to being unlocked. If that holds true this processor might be a budget overclocker that will stand out from the crowd and win the hearts of enthusiasts.

AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition CPU CPU-Z

The Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition processor operates at 2.8GHz and features the full 6 MB of L3 cache, which makes this processor have the same amount of cache as the quad cores! Since the cache is shared, AMD can have three cores running and not have to lose any of the Level 3 cache, which means each core now has more cache than even the more expensive quad-core processors!  Each individual core still features 64 KB of L1 Data cache, 64 KB of L1 Instruction cache, and 512 KB of L2 cache. Another bonus of having just three active cores is the fact that this is a 95 Watt TDP part, which is lower than the 125 Watt TDP Phenom II X4 processors. 

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor

The other processor that is under the spot light is the AMD Phenom II X4 810. This processor will be retailing for $175 and is set to do battle with Intel's $169 Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor in the mainstream quad-core market.  This processor is a quad-core part, but there is a catch that might make you scratch your head for a few seconds. AMD reduced the L3 cache from 6MB down to just 4MB!

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor CPU-Z

The AMD Phenom II X4 810 processor operates at 2.6GHz and features just 4MB of shared L3 cache. If each core is under equal load the most L3 cache each can have is 1MB. The Phenom II X4 720 Black Edition, on the other hand, has 6MB of shared L3 cache between three cores, which means it has 2MB of cache per core if the loads are equal. With half the amount of L3 cache available to each core it will be interesting to see how the Phenom II X4 810 does in terms of both performance and sales. Luckily, each individual core still features 64 KB of L1 Data cache, 64 KB of L1 Instruction cache, and 512 KB of L2 cache. AMD also informed us that due to the lower clock speed and reduced L3 cache size that they were able to qualify this processor as another 95 Watt TDP part and that all current Socket AM3 processors are 95W TDP. The AMD Phenom II X4 810 processor is not a black edition part, which means that it is multiplier locked. Increasing the bus speed will be the only way to overclock this processor and that is likely to deter many enthusiasts and overclockers.

Common Socket AM3 Processor Specifications: 

Now that we have a fairly good understanding of the two processors that will be benchmarked let's take a look at the test system.

The Test System

Before we look at the numbers, here is a brief glance at the test system that was used. It should be noted that all Phenom II testing for this article was done on the MSI DKA790GX Platinum motherboard, which is an AMD Socket AM2+ platform. We will do an AM2+ versus AM3 article in the days to come that shows DDR2 versus DDR3 performance. The focus of this article is the performance results against more than 20 other leading processors.

The Test System

All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. All of the modules were run in dual channel mode with a 120mm fan placed on top of them to keep them cool except for the Core i7 system that was run in triple channel. The EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB used NVIDIA ForceWare 169.28 video card drivers and the. The LGA 775 test system used the ASUS P5E3 motherboard using BIOS version 1404 and the LGA 1366 test system used the ASUS P6T Deluxe motherboard with BIOS v8004. The AMD Phenom testing was done on the MSI DKA790GX Platinum motherboard with BIOS v1.6 installed along with ATI system driver version 8.54.

Memory Settings:

Here is the Intel LGA 1366 Test platform:

Intel Test Platform

 

Component

 

Brand/Model

 

Live Pricing

 

Processor

See Above

 

Motherboard

ASUS P6T Deluxe

 

Memory

6GB Corsair DDR3 1600MHz

 

Video Card

 

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

 

Hard Drive

 

Western Digital RaptorX 150GB

 

Cooling

 

Thermaltake BigWater 760i

 

Power Supply

 

Corsair HX1000W

 

Operating System

 

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

Here is the Intel LGA 775 Test platform:

Intel Test Platform

 

Component

 

Brand/Model

 

Live Pricing

 

Processor

See Above

 

Motherboard

ASUS P5E3 Deluxe

 

Memory

4GB Corsair DDR3 1800C7

 

Video Card

 

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

 

Hard Drive

 

Western Digital RaptorX 150GB

 

Cooling

 

Corsair Nautilus 500

 

Power Supply

 

PC Power and Cooling 1KW

 

Operating System

 

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

Here is the Intel Skulltrail Test platform:

Skulltrail Test Platform

 

Component

 

Brand/Model

 

Live Pricing

 

Processor

 

2x Intel Core 2 QX9775

 

Motherboard

Intel D5400XS 

 

Memory

4GB Micron 800MHz FB-DIMM

 

Video Card

 

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

 

Hard Drive

 

Western Digital RaptorX 150GB

 

Cooling

 

Zalman AT Fan/Heatsink

 

Power Supply

 

PC Power and Cooling 1KW

 

Operating System

 

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

Here is the AMD Phenom Test platform:

AMD Test Platform

 

Component

 

Brand/Model

 

Live Pricing

 

Processor

 

All AM2 and AM2+ and AM3 CPUs

 

Motherboard

MSI DKA790GX Platinum

 

Memory

4GB Corsair PC2-9136C5

 

Video Card

 

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

 

Hard Drive

 

Western Digital RaptorX 150GB

 

Cooling

 

Corsair Nautilus 500

 

Power Supply

 

PC Power and Cooling 1KW

 

Operating System

 

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

Sandra 2009 Memory Bandwidth

Sisoft; Sandra 2009:

Sisoftware Sandra 2009

The Sisoft Sandra 2009 benchmark utility just came out recently and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. With Sandra 2009 you can now easily compare the performance of the tested device with its speed and its (published) power (TDP)! Sandra XII SP2 also has SSE4 (Intel) and SSE4A (AMD) benchmark code-paths, which is great for those of you testing next-generation AMD & Intel chips.

Sandra 2009 SP2 Benchmark Scores

Results: All of the AMD Phenom II processors were benchmarked with a 4GB kit of Corsair DOMINATOR PC2-9136C5 running at 1066MHz with CL5 timings and for some reason Sandra 2009 SP2 showed that both the Socket AM3 processors performed better than the Socket AM2+ processors. It looks like whatever AMD did to the memory controller didn't hurt DDR2 performance at all!

Photodex ProShow Gold 3.2

ProShow Gold allows the user to combine photos, videos and music to create spectacular slide shows. The software provides the capability to share memories with friends and family on DVD, PC and the Web. ProShow Gold brings still photos to life by adding motion effects like pan, zoom, and rotate. The user can also add captions to a photo or video and choose from over 280 transition effects.

Photodex Proshow Gold 3.2 Benchmark Settings

The workload we are using takes 29 high resolution jpeg photos and converts them to an mpeg2, widescreen DVD quality, 3min 9sec slideshow video file. The input photos are in 3872x2592 resolution and total about 170MB in size.

Photodex Proshow Gold 3.2 Benchmarking

ProShow Gold 3.2 lets you share your slide shows in virtually any format and on any device. You can upload your shows directly to YouTube or choose from over 20 devices to directly output to including the iPod, Blackberry, ZuneTM and more. Not bad for software that runs under $70 and is optimized for eight-cores! Our benchmark testing wasn't at 100% load the entire time, but averaged around 95% during the testing period.

Photodex Proshow Gold 3.2 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Photodex Proshow software showed that the Phenom II X4 810 and Phenom II X3 720 performed well, but they are mixed in tightly with other processors by Intel.

Sony Vegas 8.0c

The Vegas Pro collection combines Vegas Pro 8, DVD Architect Pro 4.5, and Dolby Digital AC-3 encoding software to offer an integrated environment for all phases of professional video, audio, DVD, and broadcast production. These tools let you edit and process DV, AVCHD, HDV, SD/HD-SDI, and all XDCAM formats in real time, fine-tune audio with precision, and author surround sound, dual-layer DVDs. Vegas Pro software also supports 24p, HD and HDV editing, which is what we are going to look at in this benchmark.

Sony Vegas Benchmarking

The Sony Vegas 8.0c workload that we are using takes a series of short movie and audio files and creates a single video that incorporated special effects and transitions. It uses a MainConcept HDV encoding profile to render the 24p widescreen video clip at a resolution of 1440x1080x32.

Sony Vegas Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Running our custom Sony Vegas 8.0c benchmark shows just how important a CPU is when it comes to create a single video clip from multiple clips. The Phenom II X4 810 and Phenom II X3 720 did good in the benchmark and the Phenom II X4 810 was less than ten seconds behind the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor.

Microsoft Excel 2007

Microsoft Office Excel 2007 is a powerful and widely used tool with which you can create and format spreadsheets, and analyze and share information to make more informed decisions. It allows you to import, organize and explore massive data sets within spreadsheets and then communicate your analysis with professional-looking charts. Excel 2007 also provides tools to “see” important trends and find exceptions in your data. Legit Reviews has two benchmarking tests that we do on Microsoft Office Excel 2007.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Testing

The first workload executes approximately 28,000 sets of calculations using the most common calculations and functions found in Excel. These include common arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, division, rounding and square root. It also includes common statistical analysis functions such as Max, Min, Median and Average. The calculations are performed after a spreadsheet with a large dataset is updated with new values and must re-calculate many data points. The input file is the 6.2 MB spreadsheet seen above.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Lots of people use Microsoft Office at work and home, so this is an important test for many of our readers. Many people don't run 28,000 sets of calculations at once, but if you do the CPU will determine how fast the task is completed. 

The Black-Scholes model is used in our second Excel test to calculate a theoretical call and put price using the five key determinants of an option's price: stock price, strike price, volatility, time to expiration, and short-term (risk free) interest rate.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Testing

This workload calculates the European Put and Call option valuation for Black-Scholes option pricing using Monte Carlo simulation. It simulates the calculations performed when a spreadsheet with input parameters is updated and must recalculate the option valuation. In this scenario we execute approximately 300,000 iterations of Monte Carlo simulation. In addition, the workload uses Excel lookup functions to compare the put price from the model with the historical market price for 50,000 rows to understand the convergence. The input file is a 70.1 MB spreadsheet and with 10 times the calculations of the first test, this one should take a bit longer to complete.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: With 300,000 iterations of Monte Carlo simulation taking place in this benchmark it takes all the processors a bit longer to finish as it puts a good load on the system. The Phenom II processors all did better than the original Phenom processors in this benchmark, but didn't have enough to compete with many of the Intel processors.

Cinebench R9.5

MAXON; CINEBENCH 9.5:

CINEBENCH is the free benchmarking tool for Windows and Mac OS based on the powerful 3D software CINEMA 4D. Consequently, the results of tests conducted using CINEBENCH 9.5 carry significant weight when analyzing a computer's performance in everyday use. Especially a system's CPU and the OpenGL capabilities of its graphics card are put through their paces (even multiprocessor systems with up to 16 dedicated CPUs or processor cores). During the testing procedure, all relevant data is ascertained with which the performance of different computers can subsequently be compared, regardless of operating system. Again, higher Frames/Second and lower rendering time in seconds equal better performance.

Cinebench 9.5 Benchmarking

Cinebench 9.5 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.

Cinebench 9.5 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Cinebench 9.5 was tested in both 64-bit and 32-bit, which resulted in some minor performance differences as seen above. The AMD Phenom X3 720 Black Edition was actually beating out the Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 this time around.

Cinebench R10

MAXON; CINEBENCH R10:

CINEBENCH is the free benchmarking tool for Windows and Mac OS based on the powerful 3D software CINEMA 4D. Consequently, the results of tests conducted using CINEBENCH 10 carry significant weight when analyzing a computer's performance in everyday use. Especially a system's CPU and the OpenGL capabilities of its graphics card are put through their paces (even multiprocessor systems with up to 16 dedicated CPUs or processor cores). The test procedure consists of two main components: The first test sequence is dedicated to the computer's main processor. A 3D scene file is used to render a photo reaslistic image. The scene makes use of various CPU-intensive features such as reflection, ambient occlusion, area lights and procedural shaders. In the first run, the benchmark only uses one CPU (or CPU core), to ascertain a reference value. On machines that have multiple CPUs or CPU cores, and also on those who simulate multiple CPUs (via HyperThreading or similar technolgies), MAXON CINEBENCH will run a second test using all available CPU power. Again, higher Frames/Second and lower rendering time in seconds equal better performance.

Cinebench 10

Cinebench R10 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.

Cinebench R10 Results

Results: Running Cinebench R10 in 64-bit mode showed a significant improvement in performance on all of the processors and the results were in-line with what we expected from running Cinebench R9.5!  The AMD Phenom II X4 810 beat out the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor in this benchmark.

POV-Ray 3.7 Beta 25

Processor Performance on Pov-Ray 3.7 Beta 25:

The Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer was developed from DKBTrace 2.12 (written by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins) by a bunch of people (called the POV-Team) in their spare time. It is an high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux. The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package. These scenes can be modified so you do not have to start from scratch. In addition to the pre-defined scenes, a large library of pre-defined shapes and materials is provided. You can include these shapes and materials in your own scenes by just including the library file name at the top of your scene file, and by using the shape or material name in your scene. Since this is free software feel free to download this version and try it out on your own.

The most significant change from the end-user point of view between versions 3.6 and 3.7 is the addition of SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support, which, in a nutshell, allows the renderer to run on as many CPU's as you have installed on your computer. This will be particularly useful for those users who intend on purchasing a dual-core CPU or who already have a two (or more) processor machine. On a two-CPU system the rendering speed in some scenes almost doubles. For our benchmarking we used version 3.7 beta 25, which is the most recent version available.  The benchmark used all available cores to complete the render.

Pov-Ray 3.7 Beta 25

Once rendering on the object we selected was completed, we took the score from dialog box, which indicates the average PPS for the benchmark. A higher PPS indicates faster system performance.

Pov-Ray 3.7 Beta 25

Benchmark Results: Looking at the POV-Ray 3.7 Beta 25 benchmark results found that the AMD Phenom II X4 810 once again beat out the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 and AMD Phenom X3 720 smoked the Intel Core 2 Duo E8500!

POV-Ray Real-Time Raytracing

Legit Reviews was e-mailed by one of the developers over at POV-Ray to see if LR could include real-time raytracing in our performance analysis, and we were more than happy to include the data in our testing. 

E-Mail From POV-Ray -- I thought I might ping you about an experimental feature we've added to the POV-Ray SMP beta: real-time raytracing. It's mostly useful to folks who have multi-core systems and in fact is something that I've wanted to do for years but the hardware just wasn't there (at least not in the consumer price range). It works best on a kentsfield or later, but a core 2 duo should be sufficient if you don't mind sub-10fps frame rates.

If you want to try it out it please feel free to grab it from:  http://www.povray.org/beta/rtr/

POV-Ray real-time raytracing

This experimental software by POV-Ray was a welcomed addition to our testing and was able to spread the work load across all the cores in even our eight core test system as seen above.

POV Ray RTR Benchmark Chart

Results: POV-Ray Real-Time Raytracing is a great benchmark that we love to use on Legit Reviews and it does a great job at showing how performance scales with CPU cores. The AMD Phenom II X4 810 was again able to perform better than the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200.

Futuremark 3DMark06

Futuremark 3DMark 2006

3DMark06

Futuremark's 3DMark06 has a built-in CPU test is a multi-threaded DirectX gaming metric that's useful for comparing relative performance between similarly equipped systems. This test consists of two different 3D scenes that are processed with a software renderer that is dependent on the host CPU's performance. Calculations that are normally reserved for your 3D accelerator are instead sent to the CPU for processing and rendering. The frame-rate generated in each test is used to determine the final score.

Futuremark CPU Benchmark Results

Futuremark CPU Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The 3DMark 2006 CPU test showed that the AMD Phenom II X4 810 scored higher than the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 in both the overall and CPU benchmarks.

Power Consumption

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. It should be noted that the Core i7 processors used a Thermaltake BigWater 760i water cooler and the rest of the systems used a Corsair Nautilus 500 water cooler.

Power Consumption Results

Results: When it came to power consumption the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200S uses 30W less power at load than the AMD Phenom II X4 810 processor that it is priced against. The AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition wasn't really more energy efficient that the Phenom II X4 810 since it has more cache and a higher clock frequency. At an idle state all the Phenom II processors that we have looked at have roughly the same idle speed, so nothing significant to report back on that as they all have 45nm Deneb cores inside.

Overclocking Results

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor Overclocking

I won't be overclocking the AMD Phenom II X3 720 today as I have something special cooling planned for the processor.  I put off overclocking till the very end of testing, so if something blows up all the benchmarks are completed. By doing that I wasn't ready for dry ice till the weekend and my local supplier of dry ice happens to be closed on weekends. To hold you guys over till I get everything ready for some 'real' overclocking I did some overclocking on the AMD Phenom II X4 820, which is a locked non-black edition processor.

Image Description

The AMD Phenom II X4 810 is an interesting processor in that it is locked and has a multiplier of 13x with a default HT clock frequency (bus speed) of 200MHz. With multiplier options ending at 13x I figured I'd just see how high I could crank up the bus speed till the processor needed more voltage.

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor Overclocking

Without touching any other option in the BIOS other than the HT clock frequency I managed to hit 3.32GHz! This is a 715MHz overclock for doing nothing more than adjusting a single setting in the BIOS!  The processor really comes to life at 3.3GHz! I tried to reach over this HT clock frequency, but no matter how much voltage I threw at the processor when using water cooling it just would not load Microsoft Windows and even at with the HT clock frequency at 260MHz it would lock up in the BIOS or on the post screen. This is due to the fact that these processors don't like to run the HT link past 2600MHz on AM3 cpu's (AM2+ phenom 2's tend to stop at 2400MHz). By lowering the HT link and NB link you can then increase the bus speed again. (HINT: The NB link MUST be equal to or higher than HT link).

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor Overclocking

By doing this and increasing the voltage a CPU frequency of 3.58GHz was reached by increasing the CPU voltage to 1.41V.

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor Overclocking

Wanting even more, we tossed on the ASUS Triton 81 CPU Cooler and cranked up the CPU Voltage to 1.47V and was able to reach 3.84GHz. This overclock would error on Prime95 after a couple hours, but it ws pretty close to being stable. With a few more hours of voltage tweaking this processor could likely hit the 4GHz mark on air cooling! By overclocking the CPU frequency was increased by 1,235MHz, which is an overclock of 46%!

AMD Phenom II X4 810 Processor Overclocking

As you can see benchmarking the overclock shows that it knocked 32 seconds off the ProShow Gold benchmark, which is an improvement of 26.2%.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

The five new AMD Socket AM3 processors are a welcomed addition to the Phenom II series, and those who have been waiting to update their processor can now pick out a processor and finally upgrade. The nice thing about these processors is that they will still work properly in AMD Socket AM2+ motherboards. AMD socket AM2+ motherboards will continue to sell well because DDR2 is still the dominant memory in the industry. Now that AMD Socket AM3 processors are available for as little as $115 for the AMD Phenom II X3 710, one can build an affordable system that still performs well.

AMD Sockets

The only bummer about the new socket is that you can't buy a new Socket AM3 motherboard and use your old Socket AM2 or AM2+ processors in it since the pins don't line up. Since AMD has shifted to a new socket that is no longer compatible with older processors and motherboards, now would be a good time to start saving to make a platform jump to the new socket. We are still running our AM2+ versus AM3 benchmark numbers and as soon as we have them complete we will be posting a follow-up article showing how much, if any, performance boost DDR3 has to offer.

The AMD Phenom II X4 810 proved to be a very nice processor that performed better than the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor. The Phenom II X4 810 was also fairly easy to overclock up to 3.84GHz, which is roughly 1.2GHz higher than the default frequency of 2.6GHz. With a decent overclock and being price competitive with Intel, this processor should do pretty well in the retail market. It makes you wonder how much better the benchmark results would have been if it had all 6 MB of cache, but there is nothing we can do about that now. For $175 this processor will turn a few heads over the coming months.

The AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition processor is an interesting one. The performance numbers for the chip were solid, but failed to impress at stock settings. With a price tag of just $145 this processor has the potential to be a budget overclocker, and that is exactly what we plan on finding out in a coming article. With the full amount of cache this triple-core processor should have what it takes to compete with many of the quad-core processors, but do consumers really want a triple-core processor? That question remains to be seen, but if AMD has a say in things they think triple-core has a place in the market place. The AMD Phenom II X3 720 showed in the benchmarks that it will give any Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 or E8500 processor a run for the money with threaded applications. With more applications supporting multiple cores it only makes sense that triple is better than dual, as enthusiasts have known for years.

One thing about the launch of the AMD Socket AM3 processors that seemed a bit strange was the lack of a flagship part. It is a shock that AMD didn't pull out an AMD Phenom II X4 Black Edition running 3.4GHz or something like that as they have touted how well the new Phenom II cores scale when overclocked. Since Intel has the performance front won with the Core i7 Series, why not launch something on the top to make the battle a little more interesting? Our guess is that AMD wants to hit the mainstream market with parts that people can afford. It might not sound like good news to enthusiasts, but the mainstream market is where the vast majority of the chips sell.  In this economy you have to keep the parts moving, and that looks like what AMD is doing with the launch of these five new processors.

Legit Bottom Line: A total of five new AMD Socket AM3 processors have arrived, and with them comes support for DDR3 memory kits at a price tag that won't cause sticker shock.