A Closer Look:
Architecturally the AMD Phenom X3 processors are identical to the Phenom X4 CPU’s. Some of you maybe wondering how since X4’s are quad core while the X3 is a triple core, shouldn’t there be one less core? The simple answer is that all triple core processors are quad-core X4’s with one of the cores disabled.
The reason for disabling this 4th core could be for a number of reasons but more than likley it is AMD’s way of releasing a product instead of discarding it. During the manufacturing process each CPU goes through a strenuous testing phase where they test speed, stability, operating voltage, and temperature among other things. If during this process one of the four cores fails then instead of throwing that processor away, it is possible that they simply disable that one core, and sell it as a X3 processor. This is good for both the consumer and the manufacturer, because this saves the manufacturer from throwing away these processor and allows them to sell them much cheaper saving the customer money.
Below are two pictures that show information about the new AMD Phenom X3 8750. As seen below the AMD Phenom X3 8750 uses the new B3 revision which eliminates the TLB effect described in our Phenom 9600BE review. The 8750, codename Toliman, uses socket AM2+ with a max TDP of 95watts. Has a default core voltage at 1.2V to power the 2400MHz core speed. Each core has 128KBs of L1 cache and 512KBs of L2, with a shared 2MBs of L3 cache. Also being part of AMD’s phenom line, its HT Link is pumped up to 1800MHz.
The Triple Core Market:
Before we dive into benchmarks we need to discuss the focus for triple core and the market this product is aimed at. Both AMD and Intel have dual core CPU’s, each also has quad core CPU’s and each targets both the budget and high end markets. AMD officially now has the only triple core CPU on the market filling a very unique and interesting need that will appeal to many of you that may have not even realized the need for such a product.
The benefits of dual core CPU’s have been discussed at length and it is an accepted fact that these processors do well in multi-threaded applications and environments. They assist users greatly with multitasking and have additional benefits as well. This philosophy extends itself to the quad core market where the benefits to gaming, office applications, and multi-threaded programs nearly doubles that of a dual core processor. The price difference between the dual and quad core processor often stops many consumers from this significant upgrade.
As mentioned earlier the triple core will be released to the market starting at a price between $145 and $195. Currently Intel does not offer any quad core processors in this range, add to this the fact that you must pair the processor with a platform and you pad the price by another $150 to 200. The lowest priced intel quad core, the Q6600 also operating at 2.4Ghz is priced approximately $40 higher than the triple core Phenom 8750. The cheapest X38 chipset Intel motherboards start at $200 giving you a combined outlay of $435 for just a processor an motherboard and we haven’t even added in a video card to this system yet.
On the AMD side you have the 8750 which is the most expensive AMD triple core part, not the cheapest and is priced at $195. Pair the 8750 with the latest 780G AMD platform which starts at $80 and you have a combined outlay of only $275 and the 780G comes with built in 3200HD video. The difference between the Intel platform and the AMD platform comes to $160 which will afford you a very nice video card. Add in an approximately $50 ATI HD 3450 and you even have yourself a cross fire setup and an extra $110 for extra upgrades and your still cheaper than the Intel setup.
Think sub $500 complete PC here and you start to see the value of the triple core CPU’s from AMD. Now while this won’t appeal to many of you high end enthusiast’s it will appeal to OEM’s, system integrators, most small IT and computer retailers looking to offer a good performance PC with ton’s of extra’s for a low price. Most consumers buy with price in mind and the triple core AMD offers consumers and businesses a path towards greater multiprocessing at a lower price and higher performance than the equivilant dual core Intel processor.
We expect that the triple core CPU’s will be very popular once you compare them against the appropriate competition and take into consideration that AMD has not targeted them as high end CPU’s. These are as appropriate for your local Best Buy and Circuit City as they are your local small computer store offering custom computers. The finished Intel based PC could cost upwards of $1000 while it’s entirely possible to see a complete AMD based around a triple core for $500 to 600 or less.
With this in mind let’s see how the 8750 Triple Core performs.