Intel Core i7-6700K & i5-6600K “Skylake” Processors Review

Introduction


Skylake is finally here, after months of speculation that all leads up to a single date in the calendar. Based on the first truly successful 14nm process after the very difficult launch of Broadwell a few weeks ago. Today sees the launch of two of the Intel Skylake SKU’s; the i7-6700K and the i5-6600K and this review will focus on both CPUs. This is a completely redesigned CPU focusing on the gamers, overclockers and enthusiasts alike and embedded in this message was the fact that Intel are dedicated to traditional sockets; no soldered on chips for the future of the mainstream consumer range for Intel. When Broadwell was released and the rumours started swirling around Skylake, everyone was jumping for joy with full BLCK overclocking; we can finally and officially confirm that there is a full BLCK overclocking range in increments of 1MHz instead of being limited to the strap of 100/125/166 of previous designs.

With those new chips, also brings a brand new chipset and socket. Z170 is amazingly complicated and feature-packed, with up to 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes compared to just 8 on Z97, up to 10 USB 3.0 ports and almost all motherboard manufacturers will be introducing USB 3.1 Type A and Type C as standard. Not only that but the CPU can automatically switch between DDR4 and DDR3L support although it is to be noted that the CPU cannot do this at the same time so don’t expect any motherboards with 2 DIMMS of each. Take note of the ‘L’, as Skylake CPU’s cannot accept DRAM with a voltage of more than 1.35v natively; I guess under overclocking situations you could try it, but system instability will most likely occur. The socket in question has been redesigned and this brought the introduction of a single additional pin; that means you cannot upgrade your CPU or motherboard now and the other later. This may seem like a money making idea on Intel’s behalf, but when you think of the nitty gritty, Z97 doesn’t offer as much connectivity or overclocking capabilities as Z170 does; so putting a new socket on an old board would neglect the user of the full potential they could harness.

Year on year Intel promise up to 10% more performance compared to the last generation processor; it is the same this time around. To put things into perspective, a 1-year-old PC would hold an i7-4790K, 2-year-old would be an i7-4770K and 3-year-old would be an i7-3770K. For those of you holding out with your i5-2500K, you would probably be considering Skylake as your next upgrade.

Devils Canyon brought 4GHz to the masses and Skylake looks to build on that with the i7-6700K starting at 4GHz and reaching up to 4.2GHz and the i5-6600K starting at 3.5GHz and boosting up to 3.9GHz. Both come with a TDP of a mere 91W and start at an MSRP of $243, or approximately £190 in the UK.

ASRock N3700-ITX Braswell SoC Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


There comes a time for every enthusiasts when someone asks them to build a computer that is quiet, efficient, small and cheap. I know most of us would tend to go straight for an Intel i3/AMD APU and a mini-ITX motherboard, but sometimes even those options are too costly. So what do we decide on? We could look on the second-hand market or look at SoC options.

SoC options have been around for years; inside some netbooks with the Intel Atom range or even some NAS options in recent years. What we tend to think of when considering these options is how poor they are when trying to do medium workloads such as word processing, image processing and web browsing at the same time.

When used correctly, a SoC option can make perfect sense. Many consumers tend to buy them for HTPC (Home Theatre PC) or home-built NAS options; which is exactly what they’re designed for. These are extremely low power options, which can handle basic tasks such a 1080p video playback; although in today’s market, 4K playback is becoming the norm.

How much does something like this cost? It can be as low as £50 for a no fuss model, when it would cost roughly that much for just a CPU in most cases. Along with it being seriously cheap, they are seriously low power, drawing as little as 15W, so even the most budget of power supplies could run it (although we wouldn’t recommend buying cheap power supplies).

The sole purpose for SoC options like this is for simple media playback and simple web browsing, but just how much different are they from the current top dog enthusiast CPU, the Intel Core i7-4770k? Let’s find out.

Key Features

Despite these Braswell based motherboards being at the lower end of the spectrum, they do include some nice features.

  • 6 USB 3.0 ports
  • 4k video playback
  • Power gear
  • Power Spike Protection

For more information on these functions, please visit the N3700-ITX product pages.

ASRock N3150 Braswell Motherboard Round-up Review

Introduction and Specifications


Integrated processors and motherboards aren’t really in the direct interest of the enthusiast, where the focus is more on; in the word of Jeremy Clarkson, “POWAH”. With limited output options and they very rarely have PCIe slots for additional add-in cards, they don’t stack up to make the best option for the consumer market; so why are these even produced?

To some, it’s not about overall performance, but “will it run internet explorer, play 1080p videos and let me do basic work on?” I know many people who have an Intel Core i7 2600k (or similar) in an HTPC that is turned on once a week to play the odd movie from a pen drive. That’s serious overkill for the task and not to mention the heat it would produce, or the cost of the build. Onboard processing (SoC) options are not only perfect for less demanding tasks but also run passively thanks to a built-in heat sink.

How much does something like this cost? It can be as low as £50 for a no fuss setup, when it would roughly cost that much for just a CPU in most cases. Along with it being cheap, they are also efficient, drawing as little as 15W, so even the most budget friendly PSUs could run them (although we wouldn’t recommend buying cheap power supplies).

The sole purpose for Soc options like this is for media playback and web browsing, but how much different are they from the current top dog enthusiast CPU, the Intel Core i7-4770k? Let’s find out.

Key Features

Despite these Braswell based motherboards being at the lower end of the spectrum, they do feature some nice features.

  • At least 4 USB 3.0 ports
  • Power gear
  • Power Spike Protection

For more information on these functions, please visit the N3150M, N3150B-ITX and N3150-ITX product pages.

AMD A8-7650k Kaveri APU Review

Introduction


In January 2014 AMD unveiled its latest generation of accelerated processing units dubbed “Kaveri”. The range was formed of the A10-7850K flagship, the A10-7700K mid-range part and the entry-level & low power A8-7600; of which a previous comparison can be found here. These new range of APU’s brought forward a new leap in internal graphic processing units (iGPU); making them more powerful and energy-efficient than ever before. Today we have the newest addition to the lineup, the A8-7650k. This chip is based on the A8-7600, but has been given the famous AMD ‘Black Edition’ treatment, allowing the user to overclock the core somewhat freely. Pricing in today’s market is paramount, and producing a fully unlocked processor for the same price as its predecessor is mind-boggling.

AMD seem to know how to pile the goodies into their products, offering a multitude of graphical advantages at such a low price throughout its entire range of APU’s.

Are we expecting anything different with this newest addition? I’d say not, with the same architecture as its little brother, the A8-7600, but just an unlocked multiplier and configurable TDP, we may seem some small gains once overclocked.

AMD FX-8370E 95W “Piledriver” Octa-Core Processor Review

Introduction & What’s New?


The 32nm “Vishera” processors from AMD have been around for a long-while; since October 2012 to be exact. Vishera was AMD’s Zambezi successor with Vishera being based on the Piledriver architecture and Zambezi on Bulldozer. Since the first release of Vishera, AMD has continued to refresh its FX product stack with new CPUs based on the same architectural design and AMD’s most recent releases maintains that trend. On September 2nd 2014 AMD officially revealed three new CPUs for the FX line; the FX 8320E, the FX 8370 and the FX 8370E. We are looking at the FX 8370E processor which is AMD’s attempt to tame the high TDP of their 8 core FX line down to 95W; previously the standard TDP stood at 125W.

There are two other releases which we will not be reviewing today. First is the FX 8370 (4/4.3GHz) which is a new flagship part which sits under the FX 9370 (4.4/4.7GHz) and FX 9590 (4.7/5GHz), but improves slightly over the FX 8350 (4/4.2GHz) in clock speed. Secondly is the FX 8320E which is an energy efficient variant of the already-released FX 8320 which is a 3.5/4GHz part. All of the FX 8XXX and FX 9XXX parts sport 8 Piledriver cores divided over four modules.

For the AMD enthusiast these newest releases may disappoint since they do not bring anything new to the market: instead they refresh existing technology. AMD is taking advantage of a matured production process instead of advancing the FX line onto their newest CPU architecture “Steamroller”. Steamroller is what the CPU component of Kaveri APUs are based on and it features improved IPC (Instructions per Cycle) performance and greater power efficiency. The decision by AMD to opt for the same technology means we are unlikely to see any ground-breaking results – instead we should expect AMD to rely on the use of lower prices to remain competent against their main rival Intel.

Interestingly AMD’s PR pitch for their newest E series energy efficient FX CPUs relies on rallying the cost advantage versus the Intel & Nvidia combination. AMD claim by choosing an FX CPU and Radeon GPU you can get better performance at the same price point. I think the R9 285 + FX 8370e is a smart combination as the objectives of both those AMD products have been to improve power efficiency over some of their more power-hungry siblings.

In our review of the AMD FX 8370e we will not be overclocking. My reason for this is that there is no point of pitching an energy efficient CPU if you’re going to throw those power savings away with an overclock, you might as well just buy the FX 8370 instead. You can still overclock the FX 8370e but don’t expect results to be significantly different from the FX 8350 or FX 8370 both in terms of performance and power consumption. You can find 5GHz OC results for the FX 8350 in our graphs.

Before we delve into the review I would like to briefly explain how the FX 8370E’s power saving mechanism works. Unsurprisingly it manages power consumption with clock speed controls. At idle it will clock down to its lowest ratio which is 7X giving a frequency of 1.4GHz and around 0.85 volts.

If you add a medium-high intensity multi-threaded workload it clocks around 3.6GHz.

Moving on to a high intensity load that utilises all the cores and we see it drop back to its base frequency of 3.3GHz. It simply cannot clock higher than this without exceeding its TDP specification of 95W.

The highest clock speed comes on single threaded applications. If you utilise only one core to its maximum you can clock up to 4.3GHz on that particular thread.

Intel Core i7 5960X “Haswell-E” Processor Review Featuring The Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5

Introduction & What’s New?


 

The Intel Core i7 5960X, codename Haswell-E, is probably 2014’s worst kept secret. As I am writing this review the full specifications, pricing and pictures of just about every X99 board in existence have already been made public and the NDA is still a few days off. Product launches like this make me wonder what purpose NDAs even serve when they appear to not be worth the paper they are written on. Anyway, politics aside, today we can present your our Intel Core i7 5960X review – at least pretend to be surprised! Intel’s High End Desktop Platform is about to get its first core upgrade since the transition from X48 to X58 when Intel made the leap from 4 to 6 cores, that occurred in 2010. Nearly 4 years later and Intel’s HEDT is making the shift from 6 cores to 8 cores with Haswell-E.

What’s special about Haswell-E apart from the increased core count? Well the X99 platform Haswell-E  brings support for DDR4, SATA Express and M.2 (just like Z97 offers), up to 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes and of course 8 core CPUs. If you’re in the market for an upgrade this certainly isn’t going to be cheap, new memory, new storage drives, a new CPU, probably a new power supply…..but I digress. Let’s dive straight into the goodness of the Core i7 5960X. Today we are chucking it on a brand new test system, powered by Gigabyte’s X99 Gaming 5 X99 motherboard and 32GB of Crucial’s fresh-off-the-production line DDR4-2133.

Comparing Intel’s Core i7 5960X to the Core i7 4960X and Core i7 3960X shows some striking similarities. They obviously all share the LGA 2011 package but there are subtle differences. Notably the Core i7 5960X uses a different integrated heat spreader design to the other two.

Moving on over to the rear of the CPU and we actually see a steady decline in the number of built in components. The transition to each newer CPU decreases the number of transistors and other components but we also see an increase in the number of pins. You can see this by comparing the size of the green spacing on the 3960X to the 5960X.

Being a new CPU with a new memory controller this is not compatible with X79 despite still being a LGA 2011 package. Haswell-E takes the LGA 2011-3 package while Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E takes the LGA 2011 package. To prevent people putting the wrong CPUs in the wrong boards Intel has changed the locking points on the CPUs as you can see below.

Intel’s Core i7 5960X comes with a 3GHz base frequency and up to 3.5 GHz with turbo. There’s also native DDR4 support for 2133MHz memory but we are hearing 3000MHz and more is possible with a little bit of tweaking. The other notable thing is a beefy 20MB of shared L3 cache, the most we’ve ever seen on a consumer Intel processor.

Looking at the processor die we can see that it is very different to Haswell for two main reasons: there are 4 more cores and there are no integrated graphics. The new memory controller offers support for only DDR4, there’s no DDR4 and DDR3 combo support like some of our readers may remember on the AMD AM2+ platform.

Intel’s main audience for the Core i7 5XXX series are existing HEDT customers, whether they be X79 or X58. Comparing to X79 Haswell-E and the new X99 chipset brings more cache, more cores, more PCIe lanes, a higher TDP, a different socket, more SATA ports, Thunderbolt support and BCLK overclocking support from the chipset, a feature we also saw moving from Ivy Bridge to Haswell on the mainstream platform.

Like Intel’s previous Extreme Edition CPUs the Core i7 5960X has that $1000 price tag while the Core i7 5930K and 5820K come in for much cheaper. Unlike with Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E going for the 5930K no longer gives you all the performance of the 5960X for less money, the Core i7 5930K has two less cores. The Core i7 5820K also offers less PCIe lanes than the 5930K so each CPU has its own functional purpose: the model separation is better.

Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 “Ivy Bridge-EP” Processor Review

Introduction


When it comes to x86 processors of pure unadulterated power Intel’s high-end Xeon platforms are the only way to go. Intel’s “EP” (Efficient Performance) SKUs are often some of the most impressive processors that come to market sitting between the high-end consumer and small business segments. Over the years we’ve seen the EP series processors grow in core count as Intel’s CPU architectures have become more efficient in terms of power consumption, thermal specifications and their general design. For example, Westmere-EP had up to 6 cores, Sandy Bridge-EP had up to 8 cores and this current Ivy Bridge-EP series has up to 12 cores. Today we are reviewing the flagship processor of the Ivy Bridge-EP series, the Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 processor. Thanks to Intel’s generosity we have the opportunity to test a pair of these monstrous CPUs. On paper these are the most powerful CPUs available on the market within that top-end consumer bracket: these CPUs will work with all consumer hardware such as “normal” graphics cards, unbuffered non-ECC RAM, consumer operating systems like Windows 7 and so on. Yet with 12 cores, 24 threads and a 130W TDP its a heck of a lot of performance for any consumer so Intel’s main target is working professionals, small and medium size businesses and anyone who needs a serious amount of x86 computing power. However, the term reasonable cannot be used for the pricing as Intel expects consumers or businesses using these Xeon chips to pay a pretty penny – $2618 to be exact. That said you get what you pay for: with 12 cores and 24 threads in an efficient 130W package Intel’s Xeon E5-2697 v2 is unmatched by any other current generation hardware. Of course Intel’s Haswell-EP is just around the corner and with that we should expect the core limit to be increased again to a staggering 16 cores (if rumours are to be believed) within similar thermal envelopes, we will also see the jump to DDR4 memory made so Ivy Bridge-EP will be the last DDR3 EP platform from Intel.

Below you can find Intel’s key specifications of the E5-2697 v2 processor, you can get more detailed specifications on the product page here if you so desire. In today’s review we will be testing this CPU in single and dual configurations and putting it up against the Sandy Bridge-EP flagship the Xeon E5-2670. Sadly, we only have one of these for testing since one of them passed away (RIP!), please consider that before commenting on why dual E5-2670 CPUs were not included in the results – we wanted them to be but it simply wasn’t possible. Given the prosumer/business orientation of these products we’ve tried to use more productivity related benchmarks. If there are any relevant benchmarks readers think are missing then please feel free to inform us your thoughts in the comments so we can improve future Xeon processor reviews. In a pre-emptive statement I would also like to clarify that the gaming benchmarks are there not because I see these CPUs as being relevant for gaming, but because we ALWAYS get LOTS of questions about how these CPUs perform in games. Anyway…enough rambling let’s proceed to look at some testing results!

4 Generations Of The AMD APU: How Much Progress Has Been Made?

Introduction


Cast your mind back to mid-2011 when AMD released its first “APU”. Back then “APU” (Accelerated Processing Unit) was a term not many of us were familiar with, although the concept wasn’t alien as we’ve had it for quite some time: a CPU that also provides a GPU. Up until the first AMD APU most CPUs had pathetic onboard GPUs that were good for about one display, some video playback and that’s about it – that applies to both AMD and Intel CPUs. Now we have APUs that are capable of realistic 1080p gaming and that large shift has occurred in just three years – largely thanks to AMD’s APUs.

We have gone through four generations of AMD’s game-changing idea “the APU”, arguably something that has driven integrated graphics performance forward on both AMD and Intel platforms. The ball started rolling when AMD released its desktop “Llano” FM1 platform in 2011, this was followed by “Trinity” and the FM2 platform in late 2012. AMD then brought out a refreshed FM2 platform APU with “Richland” in 2013 and we have seen AMD’s latest “Kaveri” FM2+ APU platform this year in 2014. That’s three years of the APU across four generations of product releases – even if Trinity to Richland was more incremental than generational. What we want to look at today is examining the all important question: how much progress has been achieved with the APU? It’s a fairly simple examination we will be doing, we will be testing AMD’s four APU flagships from each generation to see how performance has changed over the generations and over time. In testing today we have the A8-3870K (Llano), the A10-5800K (Trinity), the A10-6800K (Richland) and the A10-7850K (Kaveri). We will be putting all these APUs through the same selectionof tests with fully updated drivers, benchmarks and operating systems to give a conclusive look at the APU’s progress since its first inception.

We won’t bore you with all the technical details of the APU and its history, but we do encourage anyone who is interested to check out some of our reviews and feature articles that have included AMD APUs in the past as these explain a lot of the technical aspects. All our past APU reviews and featured content can be found below so just click on any of them to get started!

AMD A10-7800 “Kaveri” APU Review

Introduction & What’s New?


In January 2014 AMD unveiled its latest generation of accelerated processing units dubbed “Kaveri”. The range was formed of the A10-7850K flagship, the A10-7700K mid-range part and the entry level & low power A8-7600. Back in February I conducted a comprehensive performance analysis of all the released Kaveri APUs. In short, I found them all to be very interesting but I was most impressed by the A8-7600. The reason for this is that it offered a solid amount of performance for its thermal envelope and price, overall the A8-7600 seems ideal for anyone building a multi-use entry level system. The configurable TDP option, of between 45 to 65W, also makes the A8-7600 a great choice for a wide variety of form factors: such as HTPCs, fanless systems and so on. AMD’s A8-7600 is only getting launched now, despite being paper-launched back in January. Alongside the launch of the A8-7600 AMD is also releasing a new APU, the A10-7800 – which is what we are testing in this review. The A10-7800 will be physically identical to the A10-7850K except it does not come with an unlocked option. The main reason for that is that the A10-7800 is optimised for low power and has the configurable TDP of 45-65W like the A8-7600 does.

The pricing for the A10-7800 will be $155, on par with the A10-7700K. The main advantage of the A10-7800 over the A8-7600 is that it features higher clock speeds and two more GPU compute units. This gives it more power on the CPU and GPU side making it more capable of gaming and productivity.

Why not just buy an A10-7850K and set its TDP to 65W? You can do that but AMD claims that you’ll get more performance out of the A10-7800 at 65W than the A10-7850K at 65W. Not to mention that the A10-7850K is a more expensive option, especially if you have no desire to overclock. That’s why the A10-7800 SKU was created, to offer more performance than the A8-7600 but still in a small thermal envelope.

To entice consumers into buying its Kaveri APUs AMD will be offering a choice of a free game, consumers can choose one of three big titles. All three games are part of AMD’s Gaming Evolved program.

Is there anything new that the A10-7800 brings to the table? No not really. It is just a new SKU of the Kaveri APU architecture: a power optimised version of the A10-7850K. As a result of that we can expect its performance to be broadly similar to the A10-7850K, although a little slower and with a little less power draw.

Intel Core i7 4790K “Devil’s Canyon” Processor Review

Introduction & What’s New?


Intel released its Devil’s Canyon CPUs at the start of this month in time for this year’s Computex event. Sadly we were delayed in getting our sample of the Core i7 4790K, which means our review has come out a little late, but nevertheless we have Intel’s new flagship on the test bench today for a good thorough review. For those of you who don’t know about Devil’s Canyon, it is Intel’s internal codename for its new Haswell Refresh K series CPUs. Devil’s Canyon includes the Core i7 4790K and Core i5 4690K, both quad core parts based on Haswell Microarchitecture but with speed bumps and a few modifications. There isn’t that much to say specifically about the Core i7 4790K that wasn’t already noted in our Core i7 4770K review, because the microarchitecture is still Haswell. However, there are a few new features that Intel is bringing to the table with Devil’s Canyon that have specifically been done to appease Intel enthusiasts and overclockers. The Core i7 4790K is unique in the regard that Intel have listened to the feedback and concerns of its user base and tried to make specific modifications to eliminate or reduce those concerns.

The first major change comes with regards to the physical characteristics of the CPU. Intel has swapped out the thermal paste under the IHS for a better quality thermal paste which should allow for lower temperatures and better overclocking as a result. Intel have also added additional capacitors to the back of the CPU which they claim smooths power delivery to the CPU die, which again should enhance overclocking potential. Another change that Intel aren’t really marketing is the addition of support for Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) and Transactional Synchronization Extensions New Instructions (TSX-NI)

Intel hasn’t just tweaked the physical design of the CPU either – they’ve also pushed the CPU’s performance even further. For the first time Intel is shipping a consumer processor with a 4GHz clock speed, that’s a barrier AMD broke many years ago but Intel has always been fairly cautious with its clock speeds. The CPU goes even further than 4GHz with a 4.4GHz Turbo frequency, from my experiences on a number of Z97 motherboards this basically means your CPU will always be at 4.4GHz so that’s a significant jump up from anything Intel have ever offered before. Frequency bumps aside the core count, thread count, cache size, graphics and socket all remain the same. Devil’s Canyon CPUs will price match their predecessors on paper but at retailers you can expect to see the older Core i7 4770K and Core i5 4690K slightly cheaper to the tune of $10-50. I also just want to clear up a note about backwards compatibility. Intel’s Core i7 4790K, Core i5 4690K and other Haswell Refresh CPUs will theoretically work in all 8 and 9 series LGA 1150 motherboards. Some motherboard vendors will need to issue BIOS updates to enable this support but all motherboards should get this support because the sockets still have identical pin-outs and the CPU pin-out has not changed either.

AMD “Kabini” AM1 Athlon 5350 APU (FS1b) Review – Winning at sub-$60?

Introduction


Today we are looking at AMD’s new AM1 platform and given that I am writing with the realms of a traditional “tech enthusiast” website you’ll either think this is a great platform with potential, or just too slow to add anything new to the market. However, I am in the former, not the latter, camp – I can see the massive potential of AMD’s socketed Kabini APU. I have always been keen on budget and small form factor computing solutions; the Raspberry Pi is a great example of something that caught my eye. Of course at just $35 the Raspberry Pi is hardly comparable to AMD’s new Kabini socketed APUs that will cost a similar amount for just the APU. However, you can build a Kabini quad core system with a motherboard for just $64 – less than twice the cost of Raspberry Pi but no doubt with way more than twice the performance. The ethos with AMD’s AM1 platform is to bring the Athlon and Sempron product lines (that are orientated towards value for money and “upgradeability”) back with a bang.

While the AM1 system may seem like it is catering to a small market – it isn’t! The majority of PCs are bought in those entry level and mainstream price points – below $200-300 shall we say. Yet if we look at emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and so on, then we find that the sub $200 price point is even more popular. As a result the majority of Windows-orientated desktop systems that will be delivered in the future are likely to be in the entry level and mainstream categories. That logic is AMD’s justification for the AM1 platform – it will deliver Windows capable PCs for a fraction of the cost of traditional desktop systems.

AMD is also looking to innovate to correct some of the deficiencies in the PC landscape. A lack of upgradeability, limitations to 32 bit operating systems and poor integrated graphics are common place in small form PCs. Latest generation Intel “Bay Trail” Atom SoCs are not upgradeable, are mainly limited to 32 bit operating systems and with regards to graphics performance most are still largely incapable of anything but video playback and browser-based gaming. Of course AMD’s Kabini Athlon APUs aren’t going to be creating high-end “Gaming PCs” any time soon but they do offer more graphics performance than Intel’s equivalent Atom parts.

AMD is keen to point out the advantages it has over Intel’s Bay Trail equivalents because that is what AMD sees as its main rival in this price point.

AMD’s “AM1” moniker is effectively the “chipset” denotation – although there is no chipset as such. All the “chipset” components are placed on-die with the APU. The socket of the AM1 platform is the FS1b and it is currently upgradeable to a choice of four Kabini APUs.

The FS1b APUs will be available with up to four CPU cores, 128 GCN cores and up to 1600 MHz memory. On-die there are two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports and two SATA III 6 Gbps ports so storage connectivity is modest but for such a low cost platform you would expect that.

We have covered the basics of what the AM1 platform is, why it has been created and what it is designed to compete with so now let’s move on to cover the technical aspects of it in a little more detail.

The Ultimate AMD Kaveri Review: A10-7850K, A10-7700K and A8-7600

Introduction


If you follow our website and the technology industry more broadly then you may have heard a lot about Kaveri since it was officially launched on January 14th 2014. Kaveri is the codename for AMD’s fourth generation of desktop APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) after Llano, Trinity and Richland. In successive generations we have seen AMD’s APUs grow a lot stronger mainly in terms of graphics performance but also bringing refinements in terms of power consumption and CPU performance as well as new features.

So what does Kaveri bring to the table that is new? In terms of new architectures we see a transition from Piledriver (Trinity) to Steamroller on the CPU side and from VLIW4 (Trinity) to GCN 1.0 on the GPU side. Yet the most exciting and easily the most talked about new feature is the inclusion of AMD’s new HSA technology. HSA is AMD’s “Heterogeneous Computing” plan which includes two main components: hUMA (Heterogeneous Unified Memory Architecture) and hQ (Heterogeneous Queuing). hUMA allows for the sharing of system memory equally between GPU cores and CPU cores and hQ allows for both the CPU and GPU cores to independently schedule tasks.

There is of course more to Kaveri than Steamroller, GCN and HSA – but those are the main components. Other new additions include full support for AMD’s TrueAudio technology, Mantle support and an improved Unified Video Decoder and Video Compression Engine. However, before we delve into those new technical improvements and features, let’s first discuss what this article is all about.

Today we are examining AMD’s entire new range of Kaveri Desktop APUs – the A10-7850K, A10-7700K and A8-7600. In addition we will be comparing those to their equivalents from the last generation – the A10-6800K, A10-6790K and A8-6500T respectively. Then for a bit of perspective we are comparing those three parts with their main Intel rivals – the Core i3 4330 and Core i5 4440. What we’re looking to do is provide a complete perspective on how AMD and Intel’s offerings match up across a wide range of CPU, GPU and combined benchmarks covering areas like gaming, productivity and general system performance, as well as the generational changes Kaveri offer over Richland. Below you can see a summary of all the contenders in this comparison. Please note that the number of GPU cores are not comparable between all processors below, but are only for reference. GCN cores are much more powerful than VLIW4 cores while Intel’s “cores” work in a different way, they are technically “execution units” not cores.

Intel Xeon E3-1230Lv3 1.8GHz Quad Core “Haswell” 25W CPU Review

Introduction


Intel’s Xeon E3-1230Lv3 CPU has been a hotly anticipated processor for a wide variety of target audiences – home users, office users, small business users and enterprise users. Today we’ve got an opportunity to put Intel’s enterprise Xeon E3-1230Lv3 CPU to the test in a professional home user or “prosumer” type of environment, by pairing it up with SuperMicro’s server-grade C7Z87-OCE motherboard. The Intel Xeon E3-1230Lv3 is an important CPU because it offers four cores, eight threads, a 1.8GHz base frequency, a 2.8GHz Turbo frequency and 8MB of cache all for a tiny TDP of just 25W. Below you can see some of those key specifications in more detail:

At $250 its tray price is roughly comparable to the Core i5 4670K which sells for $242. Though we’ve only got an Intel Core i7 4770K which sells for $339 to compare it to, a Core i5 4670K would be ideal but both processors are quite similar in performance anyway. That said, the Xeon E3-1230Lv3 certainly looks like an impressive part for the money and we want to find out exactly how well it performs! We will first walk you through our choice of motherboard and tell you why we made such a choice, then we will get onto some benchmarks followed by detailed power/temperature figures before letting you know our final thoughts on this processor.

Intel Core i7 4960X Extreme Edition Processor Review

Introduction


 

Ever since Intel released Ivy Bridge to the LGA 1155 platform, LGA 2011 owners were wondering when they would see High End Desktop (HEDT) processors based on the 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture. Up until today the LGA 2011 platform lagged two generations behind the mainstream LGA 115X platforms which are now as far forward as Haswell, two generations ahead of Sandy Bridge. However, today is a great day for all enthusiasts because Intel are taking the covers off Ivy Bridge-E. Ivy Bridge-E brings the 22nm processors to the socket LGA 2011 platform and the X79 chipset. What can we expect to see? Well, similar things to what we saw with the transition from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge except with bigger numbers as we are working with a six core processor not a quad core. Of course there will be quad core processors available and Ivy Bridge-E brings to the market the Core i7 4960X, the Core i7 4930K and the Core i7 4820K which is the quad core while the previous two are hex cores.

Other than the change in architecture there is actually a lot of continuity with Ivy Bridge-E because Intel keep the same socket pin-out, the same chipset and for current LGA 2011 system owners the vast majority of you will be able to keep the same motherboard – all you’ll need is a BIOS update from your chosen motherboard vendor. In today’s review we are going to examine the performance of the new Core i7 4960X in a variety of benchmarks covering gaming, synthetic CPU performance, power consumption and much more. Of course what we are mainly here to try and decipher is whether Intel’s Core i7 4960X is a worthy successor to the Core i7 3960X and if so where does it triumph over its predecessor. What we’ll also be looking for is to see how well the Core i7 4960X stacks up against Intel’s best LGA 115X CPU, the Core i7 4770K, and how well it fares against AMD’s budget Piledriver based eight core the FX-8350.

AMD A10-6800k & A10-6700 ‘Richland’ APU Review

It’s been a busy time of year in the CPU market, with Haswell now on sale and making its stand as one mighty processor for its size, it’s time for AMD to release their update to the Trinity APU platform.

Whilst Intel’s new Z87 platform has seen a vast improvement in performance over Z77, it still has one major downside for some people and this relates to the cost. A new ground up platform means that users need to buy a new Z87 board in order to use the latest fourth generation processors and on the top end of the scale, this can equate to a large hole in the wallet. This is where AMD’s APU platform makes a strong stand against Intel. Whilst they have got their FX line of CPU’s that can perform virtually neck and neck with the 3rd Generation offerings from Intel, they do lack a built in GPU.

The APU or Accelerated Processing Unit is something that AMD have been proud of for a while now and the Trinity platform showed that with the inclusion of HD Radeon graphics into the same chip as a quad core CPU, it was able to give quite a substantial amount of power, especially for the price.

Richland is the next generation of APU’s to roll out of the AMD factories and even though AMD have made it clear that their HD Radeon 8xxx series of discrete GPUs will not be around until the early part of next year, back at the start of the year they did state that their 8000 series mobile graphics would be making appearance way before then within notebooks and within their APU’s

So what extra is there to be had over Trinity? Well over the last generation chips, AMD is promising a boost of 30-40% in performance and the biggest shouting point of all is the total cost of upgrading. Whereas Intel users need to buy both a chip and board in order to upgrade, the Richland APUs will all work on the current line of FM2 A85X motherboards with a simple BIOS update.

Other new features within Richland include the new HD Radeon 8000 series GPU cores, with up to 384 shaders, 8xAA and 16xAF support, DX11 support, DisplayPort 1.2 support and a clock speed of up to 844MHz. On top of this the A10 APUs will now also have native support DDR3-2133MHz memory speeds and the chips as a whole will offer more voltage and frequency levels for overclocking meaning that we should see some chips that are easier to work with when taking them to the next level in terms of speed.

Intel Core i7 4770K “Haswell” Processor Review

The build-up to the launch of Intel’s fourth generation of core processors, codename Haswell, has been extensive. To my recollection this has got to be one of the most publicized launches to date, and expectations have been set very high for Intel’s new processors. In this article today we are looking to cover one specific thing, as the title suggests, which is the Core i7 4770K. This will be the flagship of Intel’s new Haswell based LGA 1150 platform, which is not backwards compatible with LGA 1155 in any way, but does succeed the LGA 1155 platform.

The Core i7 4770K and other desktop Haswell processors are a very small part of the Haswell “portfolio”. Haswell has really been designed for the mobile notebook and tablet markets, with power consumption and battery life in mind. Despite this power optimisation, the desktop variants have still been tweaked and tuned to provide more performance in addition to power savings. Intel’s Core i7 4770K boasts a stock clock speed of 3.5GHz, with 3.9GHz Turbo and 8MB of shared L3 cache. The Core i7 4770K supports dual channel memory at 1600MHz and has 18 PCI Express lanes integrated onto its main controller. The Core i7 4770K is recommended for the Z87 platform which we aren’t covering here but there will be extensive coverage of it throughout our Z87 motherboard reviews.

Haswell features a totally redesigned 22nm architecture using tri-gate 3-D transistors and a dramatically redesigned integrated graphics component which offers significant performance boosts over previous generation Intel Core series CPUs. The die size of the quad core Core i7 4770K is 177 millimeters squared and it features 1.4 billion transistors.

We aren’t going to get into any more details for this introduction but we will proceed to do that throughout the course of this review as well as giving you performance numbers and power consumption figures. So let’s proceed to see how good Intel’s new flagship Core i7 4770K really is.

AMD FX-4130 Black Edition Processor Review

Mid last year, AMD announced that they were going to be giving their FX line of CPUs a little boost of energy and a little face lift to rekindle their budget appeal and performance for the entry level markets. The FX line of CPUs, also known as Bulldozer, has always filled in the gap between entry level processing power and top performance with chips that are able to give performance on a budget.

As part of this regeneration, AMD have targeted their 4-core lineup of chips and one of these in particular is the FX-4100, a quad-core 3.6GHz chip that still retails for a wallet friendly ~£70-80, although we do have to take in consideration that this older model is now end-of-line. In order to keep this chip alive and to boost its energy, AMD have upped its core clock speed by 200MHz taking it up to 3.8GHz and boosting to 3.9GHz when it feels like doing so. Other changes to the package include a far improved stock cooler which AMD claim will allow for better overclocking from the totally unlocked Black Edition chip over its older brother.

On top of the higher clock and better cooler, AMD claim that users should see a gain in performance of 3-9% in general day to day computing which for a chip of roughly the same price is a welcome sight. Given the FX-4130 is here to replace the FX-4100 we have tested the older chip alongside this one to give up-to-date test results and a far better comparison to see how much of a difference there is to be had at stock clock speeds.

AMD A10-5800k APU Processor Review

Recently we saw the release of the new FM2 socket and the trinity platform grace us and we took a look at A8-5600k APU which can be found here which we were impressed with due to its innovation and what it had to offer. With us being enthusiasts however, the one that we had in mind was of course the flagship, top-model A10 5800k as it offers better Radeon graphics as well as a slightly faster clock speed on both the GPU and CPU sides of the product. So with that in mind, we approached AMD about this APU and sure enough, we had one in the post and on its way to us.

During the period of waiting for delivery, we also thought it would be a good idea to get hold of some more extreme motherboards to test the chip with and that’s why over the next couple of weeks you’ll see more and more A85X based boards being reviewed by myself. The latest one that you’ll find is the ASRock FM2A85X Extreme 6 which ended up walking away with our bang for buck award when paired with the A10-5800k, so hopefully this is an indication as to what we already think of the platform as a whole.

To give you a quick rundown on the A10-5800k specs, it’s worth noting that it features HD 7660D graphics, has a TDP of 100W and includes 384 Radeon cores which are clocked to 800MHz. The CPU side of things includes 4 cores with a clock speed of 3.8GHz and turbo speed of 4.2GHz. Included is a total of 4MB cache, has support up to DDR3 1866MHz + overclocking and is fully unlocked for extreme overclocking.

Now we don’t want to ramble on about the technology to much as we did that in our A8-5600k review so instead we’d rather jump straight into the performance side of things to see where this processor falls within the market place, in terms of how it compares with the A8-5600k as well as its postition when looking at the older Llano platform.

AMD FX-8350 (AM3+) Piledriver Processor Review

Recently we saw AMD release their new lineup of FM2 APU processor units, codenamed Trinity. While their APU division were working hard on this, AMD’s desktop division were also planning a bit of a refresh on the current line of Bulldozer processors.

When Bulldozer released, we were able to take an in-depth look at the flagship FX-8150 processor which was set to compete against Intel and their (current at the time) Sandy Bridge i5 2500k. While it fell a bit short, it did offer something that Intel have never been able to do; be priced competitively within reach of the majority of consumers within the market.

Today we find the FX-8350 landing with us, which is to take over from the 8150 as the new flagship model in AMDs product catalogue, and is set to take on the Ivy Bridge based i5 3570k in terms of performance and of course, that vital weapon that AMD generally have up their sleeve; price.

With regards to processors and APUs and so forth, we find that taking a look at how it looks doesn’t really excite us or our readers, unless of course AMD have changed the design, but sadly this isn’t the case, so more so we want to focus on the performance aspect and how this particular processor sits in the current market place, between their own APU based products and Intel’s main stack of skus ranging from the Ivy Bridge based i5 3570k to the powerhouse Sandy Bridge-E i7 3960X, but the question is, will this new refreshed range of desktop processors be able to offer what everyone was hoping in terms of performance or will AMD continue to focus on pricing and offering the general public exactly what they need in these hard times of economic crisis? We’d like to think that they are able to hit it from both sides, but we’ll find out how true that is further on in the review.

Before we do jump straight into the performance aspects, we want to shed a little light on what AMD have done with the new range, and exactly what products come under this lineup, and of course their specifications.

AMD A8-5600k APU Processor Review

You won’t normally find us taking a look at processors, even though we use them daily in our tests when looking at the huge array of motherboards from brands such as Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI, but sometimes a processor in its own right gets a bit overlooked shall we say. We tend to reserve an article devoted to a CPU or APU for when something new is released, which is where we find ourselves today.

AMD have released their second generation of APU products, under the FM2 platform. We all know of the FM1 based processors, codenamed Llano, which were a huge hit for the budget-end of the market, by offering something that rivals such key processor ranges as the Intel i3 processors by offering better onboard graphics among other key aspects, including a better price point.

With FM2 now fully released, a new stack of processors utilising the Bulldozer Piledriver architecture, with the codename Trinty, under the Virgo platform. Lots of fancy names, but don’t worry, we don’t expect you to remember them all. For now, we only want you to remember one key model; the A8-5600k, as that’s what we’ll be looking at in detail today.

AMD have released this APU offering higher clock speeds than the Llano based predecessor with newer technologies and features, but how does it fair when it comes to grunt and performance? There’s only one way to find out, by running it through our extensive benchmark suite, but before we do that, we want to show a little bit of a background on the product and what it has to offer for the type of user, and market that its aimed at.

Ivy Bridge and changing the Thermal Interface Material

Ivy Bridge offers the best clock per clock performance of any consumer processor to date and exceeds Sandy Bridge by 5 to 15% in performance at equivalent speeds. Yet this revolutionary new architecture from Intel disappointed some enthusiasts, with its high temperatures and inability to clock as high as Sandy Bridge.

Ever since the first reviews came out speculation has been thrown back and forwards about whether removing the integrated heat sink (IHS) and changing the thermal interface material (TIM) on Ivy Bridge unlocked “K” processors would result in better temperatures and higher clock speeds. The logics behind this argument stem from the fact that Ivy Bridge is capable of higher clock speeds than Sandy Bridge once temperature can be tamed – as shown by an i7 3770K recently reaching 7.1GHz under LN2. Add to that the fact Ivy Bridge actually produces less heat, due to a lower TDP. Although the lower TDP doesn’t translate into lower temperatures because of the high density of transistors in the architecture that make heat dissipation more troublesome.

We want to offer something quite simple for the enthusiast world to see, a answer to the following question: What happens to temperatures when you change the thermal interface material on an Ivy Bridge processor? We won’t get into our testing methodology right away, because we will dedicate a whole page to that next.

One thing we want to introduce straight away is a warning-come-disclaimer about what we are going to attempt. By removing the integrated heat sink from an Ivy Bridge processor you void the warranty, even if you have purchased an Intel Performance Tuning Protection Plan. So we encourage you to know and understand the risks and consequences associated with what we are doing if you attempt to do it yourself. There is a high risk ( especially if you don’t know what you’re doing ) that you could brick your CPU during the process, since a razor is required to remove the IHS.

Right away we want to point out that this isn’t an Ivy Bridge review. Nor is this an Ivy Bridge vs Sandy Bridge overclocking guide or performance comparison. This is an Ivy Bridge modification results guide,designed to show you what temperatures improvements, if there are any, to expect after changing the TIM.

As this is written testing is yet to be started, so we are quite excited about the results to come. Our predictions are that by doing this we will hopefully be able to shave off 10 degrees celsius from overclocked load temperatures. As a result we expect most users would be able to push there Ivy Bridge CPUs that bit further, but obviously results will vary from system to system.

We would also like to say a massive thank you to Intel for making this testing possible.

Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition CPU Processor Review

We have to try and stay impartial at eTeknix when it comes to competative brands. We give a fair share to everyone and let their products do the talking and this is the key point with a couple of major brands on the market. The first is with the graphics card market, and the fight between AMD and Nvidia, and with each company, they both have their good and their bad points and we award them on their merits when we take a look at their products in our labs.

The major one however is the battle between AMD and Intel in the hope of being crowned the Processor King and for a while that crown has been held by Intel and though we don’t tend to do favoritism, Intel pretty much have the higher-end desktop market sown up with Sandy Bridge on the 1155 platform.

Whilst socket 1155 was booming and to this date still is, we saw the release of Bulldozer which was said to rival Intel, but sadly in certain aspects was a bit of a flop. The only area that it excelled in was gaming as it offered up the same performance, but for a fraction of the cost. There was however, a few consumers still running the old and trusty X58 platform with the first generation i7 processors which originally cost an arm and a leg to buy. Though they were expensive, their users seemed to stick by and branded them as the best still.

With Sandy Bridge offering a cheaper alternative, Intel decided that a refresh was needed and the idea of a new chipset and range of processors to take over the first generation i7 CPU’s and their X58 chipset was born. It was going to be called X79 and will offer the best product and best performance to date, and that’s why we’re here today. We want to find out if that is true and what the new flagship i7 3960X Extreme Edition CPU can offer over the competition.

There’s only one way to find out, but before we look at the benchmarks, we want to take a brief look at what these new range of CPUs will offer to the market.

Intel Core i7 2700k Flagship Showdown Review

We’ve known for a little while now, that Intel had something up their sleeves with regards to Sandybridge and now that the cat is out of the bag, we can shout out that it’s the i7 2700k. Taking over as the Sandy Bridge flagship processor is quite vital information to us as we will now be using it for all of our Sandy Bridge based tests, and we can tell you now; that’s a lot.

The i7 2700k isn’t anything too spectacular as simply put, it’s a cherry picked 2600k with 100MHz extra speed, which reminds us very much of what AMD did with the Phenom II range of processors, periodically releasing processors with 100MHz faster clock speeds, and a slight bump in price. Why Intel have decided to go down this route is anyone’s guess, but for us, we simply believe it’s to keep that firm step on bulldozer, by giving it no chance to breathe.

As said, the i7 2700k is 100MHz faster than the 2600k, meaning that it comes with a 3.5GHz core clock speed, still maintains the socket 1155 structure and much like the 2600k, has a 95Watt TDP. Also much like the 2600k, it comes with four physical cores and hyperthreading allowing for 8 threads (2 per core) opposed to the likes of Bulldozer and the FX-8150 which has 8 physical cores, though we’ve seen from first hand information of the results from this.

So it seems that Intel have simply released a processor with a multiplier of 35x instead of the 34x multiplier that the 2600k sports, and with the 2600k easily able to achieve these speeds, we can only assume that this chip is here to spoil the launch of Bulldozer, but isn’t it true that AMD did that all by themselves?

What we will be doing today is having a bit of a showdown between the AMD FX-8150 and the new Intel Sandy Bridge Flagship i7 2700k, and whilst we’re aware of which will come out on top, we’re more interested to see by how much, and that’s why we’re putting the i7 2700k through its paces.

AMD FX 8150 AM3+ Bulldozer Processor Review

I used to be quite a big fan of AMD, when the good old Athlon Mobile processors hit the market. They seemed to offer the best bang for buck in terms of performance and overclockability and they quickly became a hit.

After this, AMD continued to offer typical desktop processors that gave nothing more, until FX came along in the style of the Athlon 64 range of CPU’s. They offered an unlocked multiplier but sadly had a price tag to match, and when news appeared that the FX brand would be entering back into the market, the community was buzzing at the dead being brought back to life. It’s been a long and highly anticipated wait, but it seems that Bulldozer is here and has been one of the most hyped up, talked about launches of the year, so I’m sure that AMD are hoping they don’t disappoint.

We’ve already looked at Bulldozer as a platform including what the FX line-up will bring to the market, but this review will focus more on the performance behind Bulldozer and how it compares against its rivals including the AMD Phenom II X6 1100T  and Core i7 2600k as that’s exactly what everyone is here waiting for aren’t they?

Today sees AMD releasing a whole host of new processors with the FX branding, ranging from new quad core CPU’s, hexa core CPU’s and now the world’s first eight core desktop processor with their flagship FX-8150.

The FX-8150 is what this whole review will stem around, as we’re all enthusiasts here and want to see the best of the best being pitted against the best from market rival Intel.

AMD Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition AM3 Processor Review

Since its introduction in January 2009 AMD have offered a large range of various Phenom II series processors. These have ranged from the original AM2+ DDR2 only quad core Phenom II X4 920 and 940 processors right up to the current AMD flagship processor the Phenom II X6 1100T, which was reviewed here on eTexnix in December 2010.

Today we take a look at the Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition which is a dual core processor of which each core operates at 3.3GHz, however being a Black Edition it has an unlocked Multiplier which allows easy overclocking aimed at more the enthusiast cost concious customer.

What the Phenom II X2 Black Edition is all about:

AMD Phenom II X2 Black Edition processor combines value and unlocked potential for gamers and tuners on a budget. Users can now experience the power of AMD platform technology, codenamed “Dragon” with dual-core configurations. AMD Black Edition processors help users to take control and unleash the maximum potential of Dragon platform technology’s unprecedented performance tuning capabilities. With dual-core processors, AMD provides platform level solutions at multiple price points, each of which exceeds expectations for virtually any user.

AMD Phenom II is for high definition entertainment, gaming, creativity, and beyond. With AMD Phenom II processors as the foundation, you’ll enjoy a new level of responsiveness and visual intensity. AMD puts high definition computing within everyone’s reach. Superior technologies for HD video. Enjoy a superior high definition experience for HD videos on you PC. AMD Phenom II processor are the powerful engine behind your fidelity, high definition video entertainment experience. Only AMD puts the Ultimate Visual Experience for HD video within your reach. Enjoy entertainment beyond your media library. Get HD content online, offline, wherever you want it, however you want it. Your system can handle whatever you dish out – and serve it up on screen in full, high definition glory. Perfect chemistry. Combine AMD Phenom II processors and ATI Radeon HD graphics to really see the difference. Enjoy smooth video, brilliant videos and immersive games. AMD unleashes visual clarity and responsiveness for what you want to do.

AMD Phenom II processors have the power to do it all. Featuring next-generation quad-core design, they crush even the most demanding tasks. So design it, render it, play it, create it, stream it, HD it. With AMD Phenom II processors, if you can imagine it, you can do it.

AMD Phenom II processors were designed with energy efficiency in mind. Capitalizing on AMD’s leadership in energy efficiency, they incorporate all of the latest technology that gives you performance when you need it and save power when you don’t. Look for ENERGY STAR with AMD. Thanks to AMD’s power-saving innovations, you can count on machines based on AMD Phenom II processors for the energy efficiency you want and the performance you need.

Specifications
[HR][/HR]
[TABLE=class: Table_Style3]
[TR]
[TD]Frequency[/TD]
[TD]Total L2 Cache[/TD]
[TD]Packaging[/TD]
[TD]Thermal Design power[/TD]
[TD]CMOS Technology[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]3.3GHz[/TD]
[TD]1MB[/TD]
[TD]socket AM3[/TD]
[TD]80W[/TD]
[TD]45nm SOI[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

[TABLE=class: Table_Style3]
[TR]
[TD]AMD64 Technology[/TD]
[TD] Yes[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Simultaneous 32- & 64-bit computing[/TD]
[TD] Yes[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] L1 Cache (Instruction + Data) per core[/TD]
[TD] 128KB (64KB + 64KB)[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] L2 Cache (512KB per core)[/TD]
[TD] 1MB[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] L3 Cache[/TD]
[TD] 6MB (shared L3)[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] HyperTransport™ Technology[/TD]
[TD] HyperTransport™ Technology up to 4000MT/s full duplex, or up to 16.0GB/s I/O Bandwidth[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Integrated DDR2 Memory Controller[/TD]
[TD] Yes[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Memory Controller Width[/TD]
[TD] 128-bit[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Type of Memory Supported[/TD]
[TD] Support for unregistered DIMMs up to PC2 8500(DDR2-1066MHz) and PC3 10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Memory Bandwidth[/TD]
[TD] up to 21 GB/s dual channel memory bandwidth[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Total Processor-to-system Bandwidth (HyperTransport plus memory bandwidth)[/TD]
[TD] up to 37 GB/s[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Process Technology[/TD]
[TD] 45 nanometer, SOI (silicon-on-insulator) Technology[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Packaging[/TD]
[TD] AM3(938-pin) organic micro PGA[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Thermal Design Power[/TD]
[TD] 80W[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD] Manufacturing Sites[/TD]
[TD] GLOBALFOUNDRIES Dresden, Germany[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition AM3 Processor Review

As i type away on my quad core processor with its eight threads i can somewhat feel that a bit of light word processing isn’t really pushing its power to the max. Obviously when i need its four cores for some video rendering or photo work, it’s ready and waiting. Not everyone needs that amount of computing power though, and it would simply be money wasted.

This is why AMD have continued to keep focus on dual core processors, but have still been squeezing higher clock speeds out and coming up with the the AMD Phenom II X2 555 dual core 3.2GHz AM3 processor that we’re looking at today. Also, did we mention it’s part of the Black Edition range?

What the Phenom II X2 Black Edition is all about:

AMD Phenom II X2 Black Edition processor combines value and unlocked potential for gamers and tuners on a budget. Users can now experience the power of AMD platform technology, codenamed “Dragon” with dual-core configurations. AMD Black Edition processors help users to take control and unleash the maximum potential of Dragon platform technology’s unprecedented performance tuning capabilities. With dual-core processors, AMD provides platform level solutions at multiple price points, each of which exceeds expectations for virtually any user.

AMD Phenom II is for high definition entertainment, gaming, creativity, and beyond. With AMD Phenom II processors as the foundation, you’ll enjoy a new level of responsiveness and visual intensity. AMD puts high definition computing within everyone’s reach. Superior technologies for HD video. Enjoy a superior high definition experience for HD videos on you PC. AMD Phenom II processor are the powerful engine behind your fidelity, high definition video entertainment experience. Only AMD puts the Ultimate Visual Experience for HD video within your reach. Enjoy entertainment beyond your media library. Get HD content online, offline, wherever you want it, however you want it. Your system can handle whatever you dish out – and serve it up on screen in full, high definition glory. Perfect chemistry. Combine AMD Phenom II processors and ATI Radeon HD graphics to really see the difference. Enjoy smooth video, brilliant videos and immersive games. AMD unleashes visual clarity and responsiveness for what you want to do.

AMD Phenom II processors have the power to do it all. Featuring next-generation quad-core design, they crush even the most demanding tasks. So design it, render it, play it, create it, stream it, HD it. With AMD Phenom II processors, if you can imagine it, you can do it.

AMD Phenom II processors were designed with energy efficiency in mind. Capitalizing on AMD’s leadership in energy efficiency, they incorporate all of the latest technology that gives you performance when you need it and save power when you don’t. Look for ENERGY STAR with AMD. Thanks to AMD’s power-saving innovations, you can count on machines based on AMD Phenom II processors for the energy efficiency you want and the performance you need.

Specifications
[HR][/HR]

  • Dual-core Technology
  • 3.20Ghz clock speed (AM3 Socket)
  • Multiplier unlocked
  • 7.0MB L2+L3 Cache
  • Cool & Quiet Technology for Energy Efficiency
  • Enhanced Virus Protection
  • 64-bit Technology
  • Hyper Transport Technology
  • Virtualization technology
  • Unlocked Multiplier
  • 3yr Warranty
  • Retail Boxed with Heatsink & Fan

AMD Phenom II X4 975 3.60GHz AM3 Processor

AMD have been focussing on their new products with the likes of Bulldozer and the whole Fusion range as of late but haven’t forgotten about the users wanting more from an already current system.

AMD recently released a new flagship processor into their product line-up, in the shape of the Phenom II X4 975 BE. This is another Black Edition processor meaning that the multiplier is unlocked giving it more headroom for overclocking and a higher stock frequency.

AMD still believe there is life in the Deneb core and are squeezing more performance out of their quad core processor technology to come up with the X4 975 Deneb.

Specifications
[HR][/HR]

  • 3.60GHz clock speed
  • 2MB L2 cache
  • 6MB L3 cache
  • DDR3-1333 support
  • 45nm process technology (140W Edition)
  • True Multi-core Processing
  • Direct Connect Architecture
  • Integrated Dual-Channel Memory Controller with up to DDR3-1333 support
  • HyperTransport 3.0
  • AMD Balanced Smart Cache
  • AMD Wide Floating Point Accelerator
  • AMD Memory Optimizer Technology
  • AMD Digital Media Xpress 2.0
  • AMD Virtualization with Rapid Virtualization Indexing
  • Cool‘n’Quiet 3.0 technology

Packaging
[HR][/HR] When buying a processor, you get the choice of an OEM or Retail version. Our processors come in a OEM style packaging that is specific to the media though when buying retail, you get a lot more but that is also reflected in the price. A retail version will come with a longer warranty, AMD certified CPU cooler and instruction manual.