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AMD Athlon X4 620

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Posted September 28, 2009 by Jake in CPU & Motherboards

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by Jake
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Summary

There are a few observations and conclusions we can draw from today’s results. The first is that the Core i7 chips tend to chew up the competition in synthetic benchmarks. So if you’re looking to break popular synthetic benchmark records, chances are you’re going with a Core i7 setup. That also means, however, that you are a diehard enthusiast and money is not your primary concern, in which case you would not be looking at the Athlon II X4 620 as a viable purchase.

Another area where the Core i7 excels is in workstation-type tasks: graphics, animations, and renderings. These applications are multithreaded and can harness the hyperthreaded nature of the Core i7 platform, and the performance differences here are significant. In industries such as these, time is money and speed is a paramount concern. So if you’re a workstation user, then you will greatly benefit from the Core i7 setup. However, the workstation market is dominated by corporate clients, so chances again that are you are not in the market for a budget CPU.

So we ultimately come to the question: who would buy, then, an Athlon II X4 620? Well quite simply, people on a budget who want some great value for their money, and also those who want a cheap Quad CPU that can be overclocked like a cheetah. While today’s comparison clearly shows the Athlon II lacks the top horsepower of the monster AMD Phenom II and Intel Core i7 chips, the X4 620 is actually a mini-monster in its own right. When run at stock speeds, its performance is acceptable for mainstream users and gamers on a budget. But this little chip also holds a significant amount of overclocking headroom, and we saw today it can jump up over 1.1GHz in speed on air.

Quite honestly, I was shocked to see this CPU hit 3.7GHz stable on air. That is not an insignificant amount, and when you can squeeze the performance of a Phenom II X4 out of a $100 budget chip, that is impressive no matter how you slice it.

The price is probably the most attractive selling point of the X4 620, and typically low cost processors have been dual core, or more recently, the AMD X3 720. The arrival of this new chip, however, signals perhaps not only a new era of affordable computing power, but also a return to AMD’s heyday of overclocking. While we have no doubt mainstream users will find the X4 620 attractive in terms of price and performance, enthusiasts on a budget may be salivating at the overclocking headroom here to boost the speeds by a gigahertz or more.

While the X4 620 can be paired with a great ATI graphics card such as a Radeon 4770 (if you can find one) in a low-cost gaming rig, what is likely more appealing is a non-discrete GPU setup. Toss this chip into a 785 chipset micro-ATX motherboard with onboard video, 4GB DDR2 memory, a 450W power supply, 500GB hard drive, and a micro-tower setup, and for about $400 USD you have a very capable all-around home computer setup or perhaps even an HTPC if you upsize the hard drive and drop in a multimedia card.

The AMD Athlon II X4 620 is an outstanding little chip, and its overclocking performance is exceptional. There’s a great deal of horsepower hidden in there, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at the spec sheet or price. But it doesn’t draw much power and runs pretty cool, so managing the heat output with only air cooling is key here to simply unlocking that potential. While it may not run with the big dogs, it’s also nowhere near the price either, and quite simply is one of the very best values you’ll find out there.

AMD Athlon II X4 620

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