AMD Phenom X3 is definitely a very interesting processor. At least since it is the industry’s first CPU with triple-core sign and monolithic organization. And although it is our first experience with a non-standard processor like that, it didn’t cause any issues when working in a convention hardware and software environment. This CPU is fully compatible with the existing infrastructure, which indicates that AMD chose the right strategy in putting the defective quad-core Phenom X4 to good use.
As for the consumer qualities and marketing future of the new processor, the things are not as clear here. All major problems typical of processors on K10 micro-architecture found their way into triple-core solutions, too. That is why Phenom X3 processors, just like Phenom X4 lack clock speed so badly. However, they are still in a little better situation than quad-core processors, because AMD positions them as competitors to Intel’s dual-core Core 2 Duo.
However, Core 2 Duo and Phenom X3 do not always show us an interesting race. We only see it in applications where performance scales well for more than two cores. Unfortunately, there are very few applications like that, so in most cases Phenom X3 loses to Intel processors from the same price range. Still, these applications do exist and include final rendering tasks, some video processing and encoding tasks, and a few others.
So, we have to state that another AMD initiative has not too many chances to succeed. Phenom X3 may become a great niche product, however, they will hardly get very popular. Youngest Intel processors from Wolfdale family priced at the same level offer higher average performance, lower heat dissipation and power consumption and much better overclocking potential. AMD, however, will hardly dare drop the Phenom X3 prices much lower, because they use a monolithic quad-core die, which is pretty expensive to make. To be fair, I would like to add that if AMD decided to lower the prices even more, Phenom X3 may become a worthy alternative to Core 2 Duo E4000 and Pentium Dual Core.
In conclusion I would like to say that Phenom X3 can not always be recommended as a suitable upgrade for the Socket AM2 systems. The thing is that top dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors can often offer better performance, although with higher heat dissipation.
So, Phenom X3 will hardly become a bestseller. It will most likely find its users, but there are still too many reservations to be made with not too many significant advantages.