Athlon II X3 425
If you read our Athlon II X4 620 review published recently, everything you've read there applies here as well. Athlon II X3 series, with one disabled core, is the Athlon II X4 processor. It's based on same Propus core like Athlon II X4, but because one core is disabled, AMD renamed it to Rana. No other modifications or changes have been done, so like Athlon II X4 it supports AM2+ and AM3 sockets, as well as DDR2 up to 1066 MHz and DDR3 memory up to 1333 MHz.
The Athlon II X3 425 is clocked at 2.70 GHz which puts it ahead of the Athlon II X4 620 by 100 MHz, and makes it 200 MHz slower than the fastest Dual Core Athlon II X2 250. Considering it has three cores and a price tag of $79, this sounds like a real sweet spot for a budget CPU. AMD has set a very high operational voltage of 1.425 for this processor, just like with the Athlon II X4 series, which results in higher power consumption and more heat output. But for some overclockers this could also mean higher overclocking potential with stock voltage. The TDP rating for Athlon II X3 models is set to 95W, same as on the Quad Core Athlon II models. Of course, I will be checking undervolting capabilities of Athlon II X3 425, as well as unlocking options.
Since the Athlon II X3 series is based on a Propus-derived Rana core, it is missing the L3 cache and has just 512 KB of L2 cache memory per core. This will have a serious impact on performance in some benchmarks, with gaming taking the biggest hit. By removing the L3 cache memory, AMD significantly reduced the core die size which measures 168 mm². A smaller die means lower manufacturing costs, which results in lower prices for end customers. But by removing the L3 cache, AMD also removed one of the most important features of the K10.5 architecture: its large and fast memory buffer for CPU instructions which can be shared between all cores. Without L3 cache, the CPU cores have to wait for instructions from much slower system memory, resulting in performance drops in some applications. Performance scaling is also weakened, because no matter how fast the CPU is clocked, it still has to wait for instructions from system memory to process any fast clocked workload.
Athlon II X3 425 is connected to the rest of your PC components through Northbridge via HyperTransport interconnect which provides up to 16 GB/s bandwidth. More than enough bandwidth even for quad CrossFireX setups.
As far as other technology implementations go, there are no changes compared to AMD's Athlon II X4 series, which means Athlon II X3 is supporting everything that the top model Phenoms support, including MMX, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4A instructions, Enhanced 3DNow!, NX bit, AMD64, Cool'n'Quiet, and AMD-V virtualization technology.
If you are thinking about overclocking, it is recommended to have decent memory and motherboard as the multiplier is locked to 13.5, and overclocking must be done via increasing the HT Link value.
SpecificationsIn the table below you can review detailed specifications of Athlon II X3 425 and other models that will show up later in the performance graphs. Intel's closest price competitor is the new Pentium E6x00 series, to be exact, the Pentium E6300 Dual Core model clocked at 2.8 GHz.
X2 550 BE
Core 2 Duo
Core 2 Duo
Core 2 Quad
|Number of cores||Single||Dual||Triple||Dual||Quad||Triple||Dual||Dual||Dual||Dual||Dual||Quad|
|Core codename||Sargas||Regor||Rana||Callisto||Propus||Heka||Allendale||Wolfdale 3M||Wolfdale 3M||Wolfdale 3M||Wolfdale||Yorkfield 6M|
|Core speed||2700 MHz||2800 MHz||2700 MHz||3100 MHz||2600 MHz||2600 MHz||2400 MHz||2500 MHz||2800 MHz||3060 MHz||2660 MHz||2330 MHz||L2 Cache||1 MB||1 MB/core||512 KB/core||512 KB/core||512 KB/core||512 KB/core||512 KB||2 MB||2 MB||3 MB||6 MB||4 MB||L3 Cache||-||-||-||6 MB||-||6 MB||-||-||-||-||-||-||Process Node||45 nm||45 nm||45 nm||45 nm||45 nm||45 nm||65 nm||45nm||45 nm||45 nm||45 nm||45 nm||Core die size||117 mm²||117 mm²||168 mm²||258 mm²||168 mm²||258 mm²||77 mm²||82 mm²||82 mm²||82mm²||107 mm²||164 mm²||TDP||45 W||65 W||95 W||80 W||95 W||95 W||65 W||65 W||65 W||65 W||65 W||95 W|
|Price||$ 40||$ 60||$ 79||$ 102||$ 99||$ 109||$ 62||$ 67||$ 81||$ 145||EOL||$ 140|