Phenom II X3 720BE & CrossFire X Performance - Does it Compete?by Gary Key on March 28, 2009 12:00 AM EST
- Posted in
The question we wanted to answer in this article, “Is the Phenom II X3 720BE an alternative to the Phenom II X4 940 for a mid-range gaming system featuring CrossFireX?” We have to enthusiastically answer with “Yes!” to that question based on our experiences with the games we tested today and several others offline.
In fact, we think it even compared well to the Q9550 in our gaming tests. The Phenom II X3 720BE does not match the performance of the X4 940 or Q9550 in application testing, but it is no slouch either, especially considering the $136 price tag and overclocking capabilities. Compared directly to the $215 X4 940, we think the X3 720BE is a better value if gaming is your priority. Sure, any performance differences might be greater with a GTX 295 or 4870X2 at 2560x1600 resolutions, but we are discussing the performance capabilities of mainstream processors and video cards at two of the most popular gaming resolutions today.
When it came to actual game play experiences, our opinions still have not changed when it comes to a choice between the Phenom II or Core 2 Quad. The Phenom II processors are a better choice in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts and Crysis Warhead due to fluidity of game play, especially with background tasks running or CPU utilization near 100%. In the four other titles, we could not tell any real differences in the quality of game play between the Phenom II X4 940, Phenom II X3 720BE, or Core 2 Quad Q9550.
We included the i7 platform performance results as a measuring gauge to how well our test platforms compare to the latest and greatest from Intel when utilizing mid-range components at popular game resolutions. Strictly going by the numbers and game play experiences, we would be remiss in not recommending this platform for users who can afford it, especially gamers looking for a multi-GPU setup to run at higher resolutions or those who are serious about video/audio digital content creation.
We have praised the Phenom II X3 720BE since its launch and continue to believe it is an excellent value for the money. Some of us on staff are very enthusiastic about it for a variety of reasons. The primary one being this processor’s performance and cost advantage allows you additional flexibility in upgrading other components in your system. If you are on a limited budget as most of us are at this time, the money saved purchasing this processor over the X4 940 or Q9550 can be utilized to procure a higher end video card as an example. For a gamer, this means the ability to step up to an AMD HD 4870 1GB or NVIDIA GTX 260 video card instead of settling for a HD 4850 or GTS 250 without really affecting platform performance compared to the higher end processors.
In the end, it is always a compromise when putting a system together without unlimited funds, especially when the average user will perform a multitude of different tasks on the same system. For the typical gamer, this processor brings a lot to the table from a cost/performance viewpoint. It is every the bit the equal of the Phenom II X4 940 and in most cases the Core 2 Quad Q9550 when paired up with mid-range video cards and monitors. If you fall into the limited funds category, then we highly suggest you give the Phenom II X3 720BE serious consideration when upgrading your next system.