GTR2 was tested with a custom recording of a crowded grand prix track. The title’s configuration tool was used to enable its DX9 profile. The title’s video options were set at full for the high category testing since GTR2 isn’t particularly demanding.
GTR2 sees in the low category a strong differentiation between the two CPUs, with the X3 scoring roughly 20% higher; at high, though, the margin narrows down to around 10%.
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (GRAW2) was tested via repeated run-throughs of the middle portion of the title’s first mission. All in-game graphical settings were placed at high except for post processing, which was left at low.
GRAW2 exhibits a very strong 40% advantage for the X3 in the low category. This lead narrows down to roughly 15% in the 2nd category, which is still a significant margin.
World in Conflict was tested using the included in-game benchmark. Graphically intense, WiC was set in-game to medium video options for the high category testing since the Radeon 3870 is a mainstream rather than high-end GPU.
WiC produced a 20% lead for the X3 in the low category and almost 30% at higher settings.
For end users with a socket AM2+ motherboard and still using an aging Athlon CPU, the Phenom X3s certainly offer a decent upgrade path. The X3 8750 consistently outperformed the X2, though perhaps not by as much as one might have expected from a next-generation architecture. And the X3’s additional core really isn’t an advantage with most game titles at this point in time since most game engines still are not heavily multithreaded. AMD suggests there could be strong synergy between their X3 CPUs and the Xbox 360’s tri-core CPU for titles ported over from the console, but the 360’s processor isn’t also handling all the threads spawned by today’s desktop operating systems, so even there a quad-core may be the better choice. It’s unfortunate that AMD didn’t issue these X3s with higher clock speeds to offset the disabled core, but the company most likely wanted to keep the TDP rating at a reasonable level and yields high.
Unfortunately for AMD, Intel slashed prices on some of their desktop CPUs just this week, making it very hard to recommend a Phenom X3 with CPUs such as the Q6600 that can hold its own quite well against the fastest quad-core Phenoms and are priced in the low $200s. Furthermore, with pricing so tight across Phenom product lines, a “Black Edition” X4 9850 for only $40 more is hard to ignore with its higher clock speed, additional core, and unlocked multiplier. Combine all of this with potential software compatibility issues when running a tri-core CPU and SimHQ is left quite hesitant in recommending AMD’s X3 series to our readers. Hopefully for AMD’s sake the X3s find some niche market segment with the OEMs.
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