We are back today with a quick update to an article we did a few weeks ago. That article addressed readership questions about how well the Phenom II X4 940 performed against a similar Intel Core 2 Quad (Q9550 in this case) with a multi-GPU setup. It was an interesting request and one that we enjoyed answering. Without repeating the entire article, we discovered the X4 940 was every bit a match for the Q9550 in the majority of our multi-GPU game tests. The one exception was Far Cry 2, but that title just favors Intel’s processors, especially the i7 series.

Our conclusion brought about additional questions. The majority of questions centered on how well the latest Phenom II AM3 processors perform in multi-GPU setups and if DDR3 really makes a difference in performance, application or gaming. We had other comments questioning our sanity and/or heritage after commenting on game play fluidity advantages for the Phenom II in a couple of major titles. We still stand by those comments and might even discuss them again today.

In the meantime, our article today seeks to answer if the Phenom II X3 720BE is a viable alternative to the more expensive Phenom II X4 940 and indirectly the Q9550 in gaming with a CrossFire X setup. We had numerous readers wanting to know how well a “budget” oriented processor would perform in a multi-GPU setup if they decided to divert possible cost savings to procuring an additional mid-range GPU like the HD 4870 1GB. A fair enough question for gaming centric users although we still believe in procuring the single fastest card possible (based on price/performance) for gaming. However, considering current release schedules, pricing, and performance ratios for the higher end GPUs, a more modest dual GPU setup might be a better value proposition over the long term if driver support is consistent.

We will be back shortly to answer the DDR2/DDR3 performance questions and more as we extend our coverage on budget and mid-range platforms. Until then, let’s discuss the system setup and get to the numbers.

The Setup...
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  • Griswold - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - link

    Hi Bertha!
  • StormyParis - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - link

    do we have any idea of the %age of gamers who actually have an xfire (or nvidia's equivalent) config ? I personnally know of none, and always wonder when I see such a review what use it is...
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - link

    All people that I know who do multi-GPU do it for BOINC or folding.
  • TA152H - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - link

    Does the 9550 have the same issues on the x48? You mentioned that the differences were minor, so I'm guessing they did, but, even a few fps seems relevant there, since that's all the more fluid AMD processors had.

  • just4U - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - link

    I agree with your conclusions about the 720BE. It's a nice compromise for those looking at Dual cores and Quads. It's also at a really reasonable price that competes against the 8400 and maybe to a lesser extent the 7500 which I think is priced to high. For those that want a Quad but might not be able to afford it this is a excellent substitute that's actually cheaper then the other two.. (go figure!)

    If someone offered me a 8400 or the 720BE for free and said choose I'd take the 720 without even a thought. Hell It's even got a selling point over the 920 in being a black edition with unlocked multi's.

  • abzillah - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - link

    I have my phenom II 720 overclocked to 3570 Mhz using a Xigmatek cooler. Without the video card and hard drive, I spent $398 plus tax. This is for a gigabyte micro-ATX board, Corsair PSU, Mushkin 1066 DDR2 Ram, Case, Xigmatek CPU cooler and two Xigmatek case fans. Now I am waiting for the 4890 to come out and prospecting some SSDs for a Raid setup.
    I love how much money I saved that I can now use towards a video card and two SSDs. So far I love the performance on my new PC.
  • garbageacc3 - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - link

    you spent so little because you went with mATX.

    mATX mobos SUCK more than full ATX
  • albundy2 - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - link

    troll much?

    i know your dad lost his job and your mother to an american, but would it not be more constructive to seek therapy. we didn't do it.
    i know you hurt, would you like a hug? some gummy bears perhaps?
    a OO buck load to the forehead?

    your off to a great start kid. suicide, please consider it...
  • garbageacc3 - Sunday, March 29, 2009 - link

    fag fuck much?

    i know you're a teabag loving faggot.

    americunts are dumb, fat, and big'o smelly fishy PUSSIES and no one would want to fuck any of you fatties.

    i don't want a hug cause your man tits would crush me.

    you're already at a crappy end fat 40 yr old virgin fuck. go off yourself. remember, down the street, not across it.

    castration, do it.
  • ap90033 - Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - link

    Wow guess Mommy let you use her pc tonight eh?

    Get a life. No wait please post some other useless comment, I am sure that is your calling in life.

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