AMD Phenom II X4 810 Review & Overclocking

Author: William Henning
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, February 9th, 2009
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/phenom_ii_x4_810/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Recently AMD sent us two new Phenom II's to review: the Phenom II X4 810 (that we are reviewing now), and the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (the review of which will be ready tomorrow.) AMD suggested that we could compare the Phenom II X4 810 against the Core 2 Quad Q8200, as it was selling for a similar price to what AMD intended to sell the X4 810.

The first thought that occured to me was that AMD is getting its confidence back - they are willing to be compared to a Penryn!

In the past, we have covered the launch of previous Phenom X4's - the Barcelona based Phenom X4 9600, Phenom X4 9900, Phenom 9600 Black Edition, Phenom X4 9950, and recently, the Deneb based Phenom II X4 920 & 940 Black Edition.

Before Deneb, it simply was not realistic to compare the Phenom's to Penryn based Core 2 Quads, the performance delta was just too large. They were still decent upgrades to Athlon X2 based systems - and we loved that capability - but Penryns were in a class by themselves.

With the introduction of the Phenom II's, AMD was finally able to get into roughly Penryn level of performance - mind you, the Penryns still had superior integer performance due to being able to issue and execute one more integer instruction per clock cycle, but the FPU's were comparable. The Phenom II X4 940 performed quite well, and overclocked incredibly well compared to previous Phenoms.

Today, AMD is introducing new, more value oriented, Phenom II processors:

Currently prices from the AMD price page are:

Now I don't know about you, but to me it looks like the price for the Phenom II X4 810 will drop even before it is available; I expect it to sell for less than the Phenom II X4 920 as it is 200MHz slower and with 2MB less L3 cache... I'm guessing it will sell around $165 when it shows up at e-tailers.

Okay, great, the prices seem reasonable -- but how does it perform?

Test Setup

For this article, we used a Core 2 Quad Q8200 for the Intel comparison chip. We used the same benchmarks, and the same hardware (video card, SSD etc) with the only difference being the P5E3 motherboard using an SSD. Note that the Gigabyte MA790G motherboard is an AM2+ motherboard and the Phenom II's are compatible with AM2+ or AM3 boards - we'll be testing AM3 motherboards later on as motherboard manufacturers start sending those out to us for review.

Hardware used for the Phenom II 940 & Phenom X4 9950:

Hardware used for Core 2 Duo Q8200 testing:

Benchmarks Used

For now, here is a listing of the tests performed:

For the additional gaming tests we used

Video drivers used were the latest Catalyst drivers 8.10.

 

Business Winstone

The stock Phenom II X4 810 does very well here, it beats the stock Q8200 35 points to 30.1 points - a 16.3% advantage.

When overclocked to the max, the results are basically identical, 39.2 vs. 39.3 with the 0.25% difference favoring the Q8200; however such a tiny difference is within experimental error.

Content Creation

The stock Phenom II X4 810 also does very well for Multimedia Conent Creation - 47.1 vs. 42.7, a 10.3% lead at stock; and 56.5 vs. 55.2 a small lead when overclocked.

 

WinRAR

The higher memory bandwidth of the Phenom II X4 810 gives it a huge advantage in WinRAR, at stock speeds beating the Core 2 Quad Q8200 by 24.9%, and by 32% when overclocked.

HDTach

These results are here for reference only, obviously the Intel SSD is going to cream the Seagate hard drive.

HDTune

Again, for reference only.

 

Sandra CPU

There is no doubt that the Intel Core 2 integer performance is outstanding, and the Q8200 manages to significantly beat the Phenom II X4 810 at stock by a whopping 50.2%, and by 55.2% when overclocked. I think it is clear that the Core 2 can process more integer instructions per clock.

The story is different for Whetstone, the floating point part of the benchmark - where the Athlon II X4 810 holds its own, at stock slightly beating the Q8200 by 0.5%, and losing by 3.8% when overclocked.

Sandra Bandwidth

This is one of the places where the on-board memory controller shines.

At stock speed, the Phenom II X4 810 beats the Core 2 Quad Q8200 by a whopping 66.2%, and by 47.9% when overclocked

Sandra Latency

The Phenom II X4 810 beats the Core 2 Quad Q8200 for latency, both stock and overclocked.

 

RightMark Read

For RightMark Read, the Phenom II X4 810 beats the Core 2 Quad Q8200 at stock speeds, but loses when overclocked.

RightMark Write

The Phenom II X4 810 loses at both stock and overclocked settings.

RightMark Latency

It would be fair to say that The Phenom II X4 810 trounces the Q8200 at both stock and overclocked settings for latency here.

RightMark Bandwidth

The Phenom II X4 810 has a significant lead over the Q8200 at both stock and overclocked settings for memory bandwidth.

 

LAME MP3

TThe Phenom II X4 810 loses at both stock by 10.2% and overclocked settings by 8.3% - the better integer IPC for the Q8200 shows here.

TMPGEnc

The race is similar for video encoding, the Phenom II X4 810 loses by 25.1% at stock, and 19.2% when overclocked.

 

CineBench

For rendering, the Phenom II X4 810 is 9.4% slower than the Q8200 at stock, and 11.9% slower when overclocked.

POVRay

For POVRay, the Phenom II X4 810 wins by a hair at stock, and loses by 6.5% when overclocked.

 

Doom 3

For Doom 3, the Phenom II X4 810 wins by 9.1% at stock, and loses by 2.7% when overclocked.

Quake 4

The Phenom II X4 810 wins by 6.8% at stock, and 2.1% when overclocked.

 

Halo

Like Doom 3, the Phenom II X4 810 beats the Q8200 at stock (by 6.1%) and loses by 6% when overclocked.

Jedi Knight

For Jedi Knight, the Phenom II X4 810 loses by 13% at stock, and by 16% when overclocked.

UT4K

Here the Phenom II X4 wins by 4.5% at stock, and loses by 6.8% when overclocked.

 

Call of Duty

Unfortunately the Phenom II X4 810 gets trounced at low resolution Call of Duty, by 42.5% at stock, and 50.4% when overclocked.

Commanche 4

The Phenom II X4 810 does much better at Comanche, winning by 18% at stock, and 7.2% when overclocked.

 

World in Conflict

I had to go back to the original data to call the winners here, the chart was not clear enough!

At stock, the Phenom II X4 810 was approximately 7% slower at high resolution; when overclocked, 6%  slower at high resolution.

Crysis

As you can see from the chart, at Crysis, the differences were much smaller.

At stock, the Phenom II X4 810 was 1% slower than the Q8200 at high resolution.

When overclocked, at low res, the Phenom was only 0.6% slower than the Q8200 at high resolution.

Basically no difference at higher resolution, as the difference is smaller than the experimental error.

 

Devil May Cry 4

At stock speeds, the Phenom II X4 was a hair faster at high rez than the Q8200, and less than 0.3% slower when overclocked - well within experimental error.

Dynasty Warriors 6

The Phenom II X4 810 and the Q2800 tied at the high rez test at stock, and the Q8200 won slightly when overclocked.

 

Overclocking

Overclocking the Phenom II X4 810 was an interesting experience.

With the latest BIOS update, it was dead easy to get the HT frequency up to 240MHz, a 20% overclock, but it took a lot of effort to get the last 15% out of it. It seems that there are some "interesting" interactions between the HT multiplier and memory multiplier, such that certain combinations are not stable.

In the end, I found that it was necessary to keep the HT interface speed below 2050MHz, and the memory did not like going over 1100Mhz.

To get the Phenom II X4 810 running at 3.51GHz, I had to:

Power Consumption

One test where the Core 2 Quad Q8200 definitely won was the power consumption test - as you can see, the Core 2 Duo Q8200 used 21W less than the Phenom II X4 810 when idle, and 42W less when loaded. This was with both processors power saving features disabled.

Conclusion

By my count, the Phenom II X4 810 won 28 of the tests, and the Core 2 Quad Q8200 won 21 of the tests - and there were five tied results.

What does that mean? Some of these results were so often, so damned close...In the end this means that as long as the AMD Phenom II X4 810 is priced the same, or lower, as the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200, AMD is likely to have a winner on its hands.

For business applications, the Phenom X4 810 has a clear lead over the Q8200. For high end gaming, they are both tied pretty well, with a slight (<1%) advantage going to the Q8200 in some cases, and 6% for World In Conflict - but I am sure there are games where the Phenom would have a similar (6%) edge. Its worth noting again that at stock, the Phenom did have a slight advantage .

For media encoding, the Q8200 has a lead.. but only by 10%, and for anything that is memory intensive - for example, compression, encoding, etcetra -- the Phenom II X4 810 has a large lead:  as in more than 50% in some cases.

As we can see, for some applications the Phenom II X4 810 will have an edge - and the Core 2 Quad Q8200 will hold an edge for some others ... but they are very comparable overall in performance. You really cannot go wrong with either one.

The Phenom II X4 810 does have a slight edge in the price of the infrastructure supporting it though. You can get a nice 780G based micro-ATX board for about $75 that should let you overclock to levels reaching are own, but you will be paying closer to $100+ for an Intel board that can take a high enough FSB to significantly overclock the 1333MHz FSB Q8200.

Welcome back to the competition, AMD.

(Side note: Now some of you will rightly point out that a Core i7 920 will beat the Phenom II X4 810 - and I will just say "Duh!". The two systems are not comparable due to cost of processor, and especially due to the cost of the X58 motherboard - that will run you at least $200. You would also need three sticks of DDR3 for best performance, which is not cheap either.)

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