Let’s face it. If you skipped the review to come to the conclusion, don’t worry about it. I can’t even ignore the fact that I skip to conclusions with a straight face! Sometimes, you just don’t have time to read a full review. However, if you can, at least check out the graphs. I’m really proud of those things! But I digress….
There was a lot in this review that we were expecting. The Athlon X4 845 is a pretty low end chip meant for the extreme budget system. We were never expecting performance through the roof, but we did have some pleasant surprises. Let’s talk about the most obvious one. That single-thread performance! I can’t help but be incredibly curious about what Excavator could’ve been like in the FX series chips. I can’t blame Lisa Su for this though. It seemed that Read was giving up on the high end market before he left, but it’s dangerous to try and speculate on what goes on in companies most of us will never come close to legitimately understanding. Either way, there’s been a big gap in development for high end that is going to be filled by Zen (hopefully). But…I really wish I could see Excavator at 4.2 GHz with an 8 MB cache and some overclocking. The other great surprise is the new cooler design. The temperature and noise levels on this little guy were excellent. For those who aren’t into overclocking, a stock cooler is going to be great and it even looks much better than before.
This chip is an obvious win in many ways, but there is one glaring flaw. The 845 doesn’t have an unlocked multiplier. I’ll admit, I thought I was getting one of those Athlons at first, but didn’t realize it until after the fact. It would be nice to get some extra performance for free, but we’re also dealing with an Athlon chip that’s pretty cheap. I don’t know what it costs to put a K on it, but it might not be worth it for this particular price. After that though, we can’t complain about anything else. We have a chip that supports the current socket, has a pretty low power draw for a quad core chip and a 6020 PASSMARK overall score. That’s a good combination if you ask me!
I know I’ve been mentioning that the 845 is a budget chip through the entire review. How much of a budget? Try $68 on Newegg at the time of this review. The only real competition for this chip is the INTEL Pentium G3258 at this price. The only reason why is because this is the Pentium that has an unlocked multiplier. You can close that performance gap with some overclocking and it also has an integrated graphics chip. The down side is that the INTEL stock cooler won’t give you as much head room to really close that gap and the integrated graphics will only handle your basic office tasks. Even adding a $20 cooler at this price range isn’t entirely worth it. Considering how well the 845 positions itself and how well it’s doing in the single thread department compared to previous generations, I happily award the AMD Athlon X4 845 the Pure Overclock Editor’s Choice Award.