The Matchup

The Sandy Bridge Pentiums go head to head with AMD's Athlon II and to a lesser extent the new triple-core AMD A6. At the low end we have the Athlon II X2 260 vs. Intel's Pentium G620. AMD has the clock speed advantage (3.2GHz vs. 2.6GHz) but Sandy Bridge does offer better performance at the same clock, we'll have to see if the 600MHz advantage is too much for Intel to overcome.

Moving on up AMD gets to throw more cores at the competition. The Athlon II X3 455 (3.3GHz) has three cores to the Pentium G840's two (2.8GHz), although the clock speed advantage shrinks a bit.

Finally compared to the Pentium G850 we have two options from AMD. If you can find one there's the Athlon II X4 635. The clock speed advantage goes away completely but AMD delivers twice the cores of Intel's Pentium G850. The 635 is no longer on AMD's price list so your chances of finding one at a reasonable price go down considerably. The Athlon II X3 460 is the only other similarly priced competitor, and its performance should be similar to the 455 I mentioned above.

Meet the A6

Although at a slightly higher price point than the most expensive Sandy Bridge Pentium, we also have a lower cost member of the Llano family: AMD's A6-3650. For $20 less than the flagship 3850, the A6-3650 loses 300MHz on the CPU clock and lops off 80 GPU cores. The GPU also runs at a slower 443MHz frequency. The TDP remains unchanged at 100W. Given the small price difference between a 3650 and a 3850 I'd much rather opt for the latter but we'll see what the slower GPU does to performance when every dollar counts.

Gallery: AMD A6-3650

Introduction CPU Performance & Power Consumption


View All Comments

  • yo2020 - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    for both idle and load. :D Reply
  • Havor - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    For anyone that wants to build a low power system, dont look for a 620T or 2100T, they will only cost you actually more money and save's you almost no energy or even cost you extra if you do heavy loads like encoding.

    After looking up a lot of sites and comparing idle loads i made the following list, and radical changed the dissension on what CPU to use for my server.

    CPU (total system use) Idle/Load
    E-350 26W /38W
    Pentium G620 Undervolt @ 0.9GHz 31W/43W
    Pentium G620 31W /60W
    Pentium G840 31W /60W
    Pentium G850 32W /65W
    Core i3 2100 33W /69W
    Athlon X2 240e 34W/84W
    i3 2120 33W /84W
    i5 2400 34W /99W
    i5 2500K 34W /110W
    i7 2600K 35W /125W
    i7-2600K (4.85GHz) 39W/190W

    The idle difference between a G620T and a i7 2600K is only 4 watts, and yes under load the 2600K uses 2x the amount of watts, but at the same time it also dose 4x the amount of work, so with the "instruction per watt" (IPW) you are better of with a 2500K/2600K

    So now I turn my main system of when i dont need it, and let my server that's 24/7 on anyway, do all the work.

    So if a system is needed that needs to do heavy CPU work like encoding, but you still want a energy lean machine, a fast CPU could not be suds a bad idea after all.

    Just something to think about ;-)
  • Marlin1975 - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    These are well suited for HTPC but you did not compare them in that regard?

    Very few care about synthetic benchmarks, test these for real world uses like HTPC where many are looking to use low-end cpus like these.
    Also you can still overclock the intel cpus just not much. Why not overclock the A6/A8 and the intel chips to compare as well?
  • dubyadubya - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Seems everyone has forgotten about 64 bit programs. There is zero mention of 64 bit programs in most reviews on the net. Testing using mainly 32 bit programs and not stating which programs are 32/64 bit give the impression that Intel's SB is way faster than AMD's offerings. AMD offerings perform much better running 64 bit code than Intel's SB so lets see some multi-threaded 64 bit testing. Reply
  • Traciatim - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Benchmark links? Reply
  • A5 - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    You're going to have to back that up. Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Either you're saying that AMD's CPUs perform better in 64-bit mode than 32-bit mode, or that AMD's CPUs are better at x86-84 than Sandy Bridge. Regardless, as stated, you'll need to provide some evidence to back this up. Reply
  • AngryMonkeyMob - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    While it is true that AMD can keep competitive on price/performance, when it comes to power consumption AMD gets it the hot bullets of shotgun when compared to Intels baked goods. That matters to some people ( it does to me ). I'd use this in a tiny ITX machine with something like this

    ...But I'd imagine that makes me a minority around here :)
  • Death666Angel - Friday, August 26, 2011 - link

    If you do something that specific, surely you know how to undervolt a CPU? :-) AMDs Llano can be undervolted quite heavily as far as I know and the 65W TDP chips (A8-3800 and A6-3600 afaik) will already perform much more energy conscious out of the box. :-) Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    Since you quibble on 5 or 20 bucks when it comes to a crap apu, and spend minimum $124.00+ on a tiny computer case, yes, I'd say, God Willing, you are in the minority around here, but I fear, that you definitely are not.

    Oh the irony

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