Frankly speaking, AMD’s timing with the launch of their new Socket AM3 platform for CPUs supporting DDR3 SDRAM is a little strange. For some reason, this platform didn’t come out a month ago when they first announced a new Phenom II processor family. As a result, Socket AM3 launch is accompanied by the mainstream processors only, since the top Phenom II modifications are already available in Socket AM2+ form-factor. However, these processors are not the best candidates for the new Socket AM3 mainboards. DDR3 SDRAM is currently about 1.5-2 times more expensive than the widely spread DDR2 memory. Therefore, the benefit of investing into more expensive memory over a more expensive CPU is quite doubtful at this point.
However, the main advantage of Socket AM3 processors is their flexible memory controller that can work with both: DDR3 as well as DDR2 memory. That is why you don’t have to use the newly announced mainstream Phenom II processors in Socket AM3 systems. They will work perfectly fine in the existing Socket AM2+ or even Socket AM2 infrastructure.
Nevertheless, we tested the new processor in a Socket AM3 mainboard and saw that it was absolutely viable. DDR3 SDRAM with Phenom II processors provides a noticeable effect: about 3% performance improvement even compared with DDR2-1067 SDRAM.
Luckily, high-performance Socket AM3 processors may be coming out shortly. AMD will most likely adjust its product range accordingly within the next few months and the new platform will be able to team up with high-performance CPUs. This remaining extra time is going to be very valuable for the mainboard makers who need to finalize and polish off their Socket AM3 products.
As for the AMD Phenom II X4 810 processor we discussed today, it is another incarnation of AMD’s strategy to be offering higher performance at a lower cost. Our tests showed that its performance is comparable to that of Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200, while its price is a little lower. As a result, AMD currently has a great alternative to all least expensive quad-core Intel processors starting with the Core 2 Quad Q9400 model. In other words, AMD made a very significant step to offering a competitive lineup of processors that we have every reason to recommend as a good buying choice.
In conclusion I would only like to add that we are going to continue checking out new Phenom II processors. Very soon we will offer you our review of triple-core CPUs on 45nm Heka core.