Earlier this year AMD launched the Phenom II series to succeed the original quad-core Phenom processors, with these newer desktop CPUs being built upon a 45nm process, tripling the amount of Level 3 cache to 6MB, and offering support for both DDR2 and DDR3 system memory. Prior to the launch of the Phenom II we had tested the AMD Shanghai Opterons on Linux and benchmarked these CPUs on OpenSolaris too, which were the server/workstation version of this new AMD 45nm core. With the Phenom II series there is the X3 and X4 line-up for triple-core and quad-core processors, respectively. In this article we are looking at how well the AMD Phenom II X3 710 performs under Ubuntu Linux.
The AMD Phenom II X3 processors are effectively the equivalent X4 model but with one of the four cores being disabled, due to chip harvesting. However, as we will share later on in this review, in some circumstances it is actually possible to re-enable the fourth core. Beyond having 6MB of L3 cache, there is 512kB of L2 cache per core and 128kB of L1 cache per core. The memory controller that is integrated into the Deneb (the quad-core Phenom II codename) and Heka (the triple-core Phenom II codename) each support DDR2-1066MHz and DDR3-1333MHz. The DDR2 support is available when installing the Phenom II within an AM2+ motherboard while the products using the new AM3 socket are going with DDR3. The TDP for the AMD Phenom II X3 processors is currently at 95 Watts.
The two Phenom II X3 processors currently on the market are the X3 710 and X3 720. The Phenom II X3 710 is clocked at 2.6GHz while the X3 720 model that will cost a few more bucks is clocked at 2.8GHz. In the AMD Phenom II X4 series there is the 805, 810, 910, 920, 940 Black, 945, and 955 Black with clock speeds between 2.5GHz and 3.2GHz. As we were not sent any AMD Phenom II CPUs for Linux benchmarking at Phoronix, we had just went with an AMD Phenom II X3 710 processor to buy for testing.