AMD Phenom X3 8750 Tri-Core Processor

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When AMD first announced plans to introduce triple-core processors back in September of last year, reaction to the news was mixed.  Some felt that AMD was simply planning to pass off partially functional Phenom X4 processors as triple-core products, making lemonade from lemons if you will.  Others thought it was a good way for AMD to increase bottom line profits, getting more usable die from a single silicon wafer and mitigating yield loss.  We were somewhat perplexed by the first reaction.  This is an age-old strategy in the semiconductor space and after all, the graphics guys have been selling GPUs with non-functional units for years.  AMD was simply borrowing a play from ATI's playbook.

If you take a step back and think about it though, who really cares outside of the enthusiast niche'?  Isn't it the ultimate quality of the end-product what's most important?  If tri-core processors end up outperforming competing dual-core chips, and are less expensive than quad-cores, wouldn't salvaging otherwise unusable die from a wafer be a good move on AMD's part?

Without actual product, it's tough to argue either way, of course.  But thankfully, AMD has delivered their first batch of triple-core processors and we can finally put the whole debate to rest.

AMD Phenom Retail Box

AMD Phenom X3 Processors 
Specifications and Features

Model / Processor Frequency: AMD Phenom Processor Model X3 8750, 8650, 8450 / 2.4GHz, 2.3GHz, 2.1GHz
L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (384KB total L1 per processor)
L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (1.5MB total L2 per processor)
L3 Cache Size: 2MB
Memory Controller Type: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller, capable of being configured for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes
Memory Controller Frequency: Up to 1.8GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Types of Memory: Support for unregistered DIMMs up to PC2 8500 (DDR2-1066MHz)
HyperTransport 3.0: One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 3600MHz full duplex
Total Processor Bandwidth: Up to 31.5 GB/s bandwidth
Packaging: Socket AM2+ 940-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA) (backward compatible with Socket AM2)
Fab location: AMD's Fab 36 wafer fabrication facilities in Dresden, Germany
Process Technology: 65nm (.065-micron) Silicon on Insulator (SOI)
Approximate Transistor count: approx. 450 million (65nm)
Approximate Die Size: 285 mm2 (65nm)
Nominal Voltage: 1.05-1.25 Volts
Max Ambient Case Temp: 70 degrees Celsius
Max TDP: 95 Watts
ACP: *to be announced after launch
Future Memory Controller Note: Future 45nm processors versions are planned to include support for DDR3 memory


AMD Phenom X3 8750

As you probaly expect, the new AMD Phenom X3 8750 looks exactly like any other socket AM2+ processor outfitted with AMD's standard heat spreader.  The chip also uses the same packaging and socket as current Phenom processors; it is only the silicon underneath that has changed.

The AMD Phenom X3 8750 is a 2.4GHz processor manufactured using AMD's 65nm Silicon on Insulator process technology.  The chip has a Max TDP of 95W and has official support for a 1.8GHz memory controller and HT 3.0 frequency with Dual Dynamic Power Management technology.  Although some AMD processors have support for a 2GHz memory controller and HT3.0 link frequency, not every CPU is rated for these high-end frequencies.  Also note the "50" in the processor's model number.  That "50" means the CPU is based on the recently released B3 revision to the Phenom core which does not suffer from the infamous TLB errata.

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Crisis Causer 6 years ago

Nice!  I've been waiting for a review of a tri-core Phenom ever since they were announced.  The performance is about what I expected.  It beats most dual cores in applications that take advantage of more than 2 cores.  Gaming is still mostly dual-core only though.  But it did show a good lead over the 4600 (also 2.4ghz) in gaming, showing that the K10 core is a little more efficient per MHz than the K8.

I don't understand AMD's pricing here, but I guess that's as low as they can afford to sell them.  But they won't sell a lot at that price.  Anyone willing to go with AMD still would likely go for all 4-cores. 

^Bad_Boy^ 6 years ago
Great Review :)
Marco C 6 years ago
If you have a moment, please digg this one for us too. Thanks all!
willardcw4 6 years ago

I'm not impressed with the new processor... the stock Q6600 is essentially better in almost every arena (and most people overclock it to at least 3.0 GHz, so it would score better in many areas)... I know the AMD proc isn't supposed to be 'top of the line' (couldn't compete with Penryn I think), i'm still, as usual, not impressed... even if it is "three core"

nelsoncp21 6 years ago

I would say that maybe if they were the same clocks speed and price compared to the core 2 duo's than maybe a esier decision. I am torn on this because I can take an E8400 for the same price as the x3 8750 but have higher clock speeds stock. Now the question is with both chips overclocked which performs better and in real world comparison. Now if the the x3 8750 was stock at 3.0ghz and the same price than the extra core would be worth it imo. You also have to take inot account upgrade path. Intel is releasing better chips so for the same price it would be wiser to go with a 775 socket than an AM2 for future upgrades. nice article guys

ice_73 6 years ago

you guys got linked from engadget.


great review guys 

ArthurT 6 years ago

 Mission Accomplished: Intel dropped the price of Quads by up to 50%.

The real target was dual cores.

The tri-core was never suppposed to complete with Quads, it was supposed to be better than Core 2 duo, and it was.

Do you know that a 6 core processor is in the pipeline to compete with Quad Cores?
( and a 12-core to compete with V8s?)

As far as helping games which support dual cores, try setting ALL OS processes to Core 2. ( i.e. the third core), and see how your game runs!



Former evanglest for


Crisis Causer 6 years ago

Yeah, tri-core is not 'sposed to compete with Quads, but when it's priced only $20 cheaper, it is.  If the 8750 were $140 it would be more competetive.  $195 just doesn't make sense.  The 2.2Ghz Quad core is the same price.  Any program that can take advantage of 3 cores, will take advantage of four.  The only advantage of going with the tri-core would be for dual or single threaded programs in which the extra 200Mhz would make it faster.  But if you are going above two cores, obviously that's not your major concern.

giantjoebot 6 years ago

 I bet the price will drop pretty quick.  Especially when you start seeing them on newegg as OEM's.  These CPU's seem to be more tegeted at wholsalers, and large manufactures like HP at the moment.  Give it some time, and the price will drop.

ArthurT 6 years ago

Actually from what I heard, the price was set up at a price point to get intel to drop their pants. Now they have done so,

AMD is SERIOUSLY dropping their pants to oems, bigtime. I head they were offering them to HP for


obi 6 years ago

 the amd athlon 64 3800+ windsor, was probably the best chip AMD ever made

it had an idle rating of  8 watts and a max load of 35 watts. AMD  pulled it off the market for some mysterious reason

A truly efficient CPU does not go over 10 watts in idle mode , it would be very informative  if you guys mesured cpus in solo mode under load and idle

and mention what hard drives you are using with its bandwidth specs, so we can estimate cpu stress from the hdd bottleneck.

it would also be real nice to know to what extent the cpu can be undervolted and underclocked for efficiency and if the cpu is Rohs compliant.

one shot system load only mesurements are really not informative nor consistent enough to make a buying decision.


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