Power Consumption

Idle Power Consumption

Without power gating the Athlon II X4 draws as little power as possible, noticeably less than any of AMD's other multi-core CPUs. Our X4 620 sample was a bit more power hungry than our 630.

Load Power Consumption - x264 HD Bench Pass 2

Even under load the power consumption story is a good one. Given the position of our Q8400 sample here we'd say that the Q8200 would probably use a bit less power, but the price differential should more than make up for it.


As I mentioned at the start of this article I managed to hit 3.25GHz on the Athlon II X4 620 without any additional voltage using the retail AMD cooler:

I could hit 260MHz x 13.0 for 3.38GHz by upping the voltage, but the gain wasn't worth the additional power usage. Anything higher wasn't possible without more exotic cooling or much more voltage. The performance improved handily at 3.25GHz:

Processor Adobe Photoshop CS4 x264 2nd pass Left 4 Dead
AMD Athlon II X4 620 (2.6GHz) 27.5 seconds 15.4 fps 93.2 fps
AMD Athlon II X4 620 @ 3.25GHz 23.2 seconds 18.9 fps 102.9 fps
AMD Phenom II X4 955 (3.2GHz) 22.3 seconds 19.1 fps 121.4 fps
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 21.8 seconds 17.9 fps 105.6 fps


At 3.25GHz the Athlon II X4 ends up faster than the even more expensive Q8400in some cases, and gets much closer in others. In applications where the large L3 cache isn't missed, the overclocked Athlon II can end up being a poor man's Phenom II X4 955. But looking at the Left 4 Dead performance, there's no such thing as a free lunch - the overclocked Athlon II isn't quite that good.

Gaming Performance Final Words


View All Comments

  • damage98 - Saturday, November 21, 2009 - link

    I have an asus m4n78 pro mobo. Would the new gt240 be appropriate?
  • Archer0915 - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    Well I have put it through the ringers and this is what I came up
    with: http://www.techreaction.net/2009/09/25/athlon-ii-x...">http://www.techreaction.net/2009/09/25/...-x4-620-...

    This thing can smoke or at least keep up with the common PhII or Core 2
  • monkeyman1140 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    I'm kinda iffy about how this compatibility thing works, and it seems manufacturers aren't terribly interested in compatibility bios updates either, preferring you to fork over fresh cash for the latest mobos.
    I'd like to put this in an older dual core system thats perfectly fine but its just not as fast as it used to be...
  • flexy - Friday, September 18, 2009 - link

    What version of Cinebench R10 are you using?

    The 64 bit version or the 32 bit version?

  • ClagMaster - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    Another well written article by Mr Shimpi on the latest AMD mainstream quad core offering. Article was brief and to the point with adequate benchmarking to support his claims. It's articles like this that keeps me coming back.

    The i5/P55 is the mainstream processor par excellance to acquire for a major upgrade if you presently have an Intel rig. This is what I am going to upgrade to next year because I have a 3 year old Intel rig. By that time, there will be 65W Lynnfields available with P55 boards thoroughly debugged.

    However, if you have an AM2+ motherboard in good shape with a 780G/785G/790X/790GX chipset with continuing BIOS support, then the Athlon II X4 620 is an outstanding upgrade from dual to quad core for $100-$120. This is a really good value for bargain or mainstream. Price:Performance ratio is better than i5 just on the basis of the CPU alone. Throw in a paid-for motherboard into the equation and it gets even sweeter.
  • jtleon - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    Great Article Anand - as usual!

    Despite the other Intel Fanboy comments here, I take away from this that AMD is bringing Quad to the masses - and undercutting the competition at the same time.

    Running an old Athlon XP as I write this, I am glad to see AMD resurrecting the Athlon name, and applying it to what may be their new bread & butter piece of silicon.

    Clearly in a depressed worldwide economy, performance takes a backseat to price - AMD has an ace here with this design, in its 1st iteration, appears to have Intel over a barrel with regard to their inflated price structure. From the benchies here, the performance differences are almost imperceptible. Thus the Athlon II based boxes should jump off the shelves, leaving the other guys gathering dust.

    Kudos to AMD - and Best of Luck on the next gen Propus.

  • Genx87 - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    That X4 955 is being smoked for the most part by the i5 750. Intels basement i series processor. The i5 performs better, costs less, and consumes less power.

    Why cant AMD get their act together? Ever since Core 2 Duo they have been on the wrong end in a bad way.
  • the zorro - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    that's false.

    the results are biased because core i5 750 its overclocked at least 600 mhz.
    phenom 955 beats core i5 750 clock by clock.
    also when overclocked to 4 ghz core i5 temperatures are almost 100 C which is a failure.
    also core i5 power consumption when overclocked skyrockets because of the integrated northdbridge.
  • Genx87 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    That is really irrelevant to the avg user is it not? The avg user doesnt care how the processor achieves it power\performance. Only that it does. That is a design feature of the Intel chips that isnt in AMD. Bottom line is in the suites and everyday use AMDs top processor is often beat by Intels next gen entry level chip. Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    Clock for clock? I don't think so. True, if the i5 didn't have Turbo, it wouldn't sprint ahead so far in single threaded applications, but the fact is it does and it's a legitimate technology. However, the 955 pulls closer, clock for clock, in multi-threaded tasks.

    The i5 ships with a rather weak cooler. It's not suitable for heavy overclocking... but then again, if you want to do it right, you'd get an after-market cooler anyway.

    Nothing that AMD has out now is better clock-for-clock than Core2 or Nehalem, no matter how much we'd like to believe there is.

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