Phenom X3 8750 Is Predictably Phenom-enal

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To get an accurate baseline, we installed the 2.4-GHz 8750 into the same testbed we've used for other AMD processors, an Antec case housing a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H, with 2 GB RAM, an Ultra 3X 1,000-watt power supply, a 160-Gb SATA HDD, and Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1.



: AMD Phenom X3 8750

There's been industry speculation that the X3 is really a quad-core X4 with one of its cores disabled (either by design or due to a bad core found during QA). An AMD spokesman confirmed that it is, indeed, a quad-core die with one of the cores turned off, but it's not done strictly to salvage quads not up to snuff (although that does happen, too). According to the spokesman, AMD polled its OEM customers early in the design stage to see if there was a potential market for the triple core; the overall response was positive.

AMD's goal is to help builders create entry-level, sub-$500 performance PCs that can do a lot more than a dual-core PC for the same, or even less, cost of acquisition. Using Primate Labs' benchmarking tool Geekbench 2, the Test Center watched the X3 8750 score a respectable 3461. Our tests of the 2.5-GHz X4 9850 in the same motherboard yielded a 4333 and the 2.5-GHz dual-core 4850e attained a 2619. Considering the 8750 is 100 MHz slower than the other two chips, its score is about where we expected it would be.

The X3 CPUs are rated with a maximum TDP of 95 watts, compared to the X4's maximum of 125 watts. AMD is positioning the new processors as part of its "Cartwheel" platform.

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