Much attention has been paid of late to AMD‘s new 6-core desktop CPU, the Phenom II X6 1090T. While its performance is certainly impressive, its price—over $300 at time of publication—can be off-putting to many system builders. For those whose wallets run a bit leaner these days, AMD has brought us the Athlon II X4 640. This quad-core CPU promises good performance at a low price. Let’s take a closer look, and see how it stacks up.
First, let’s take a look at the raw numbers from AMD:
AMD Athlon II(tm) X4 640 Processor Specifications: Model Number, Core Frequency & Price: X4 640 / 3.0GHz Tray OPNs: ADX640WFK42GM L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (512KB total L1 per processor) L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (2MB total L2 per processor) Memory Controller Type: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller * Memory Controller Speed: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management Types of Memory Supported: Unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz) HyperTransport 3.0 Specification: One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2) Total Processor-to-System Bandwidth: Up to 37.3GB/s total bandwidth [Up to 21.3 GB/s memory bandwidth (DDR3-1333) + 16.0GB/s (HT3)] Up to 33.1GB/s total bandwidth [Up to 17.1 GB/s memory bandwidth (DDR2-1066) + 16.0GB/s (HT3)] Packaging: Socket AM3 938-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA) Fab location: GLOBALFOUNDARIES Fab 1 module 1 in Dresden, Germany Process Technology: 45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology Approximate Die Size: 169 mm2 Approximate Transistor count: ~300 million Max Temp: 71° Celsius Nominal Voltage: 1.05-1.4V Max TDP: 95 Watts AMD Codename: “Propus”
*Note: configurable for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes
As with all of AMD’s AM3 offerings, the X4 640 supports the fastest varieties of both DDR2 and DDR3 DRAM with its onboard memory controller. Which kind of RAM you use will be determined by the motherboard, as the two are deliberately not socket-compatible. With a 95W TDP, power consumption is firmly in the upper-middle end of AMD’s line, with only the new hexa-core Phenom II chips drawing more. Massive tower heatsinks or watercooling solutions are not needed with this CPU, but an aftermarket cooler will help greatly in keeping things cool.