Earlier this year AMD launched the Phenom II series to succeed the original quad-core Phenom processors, with these newer desktop CPUs being built upon a 45nm process, tripling the amount of Level 3 cache to 6MB, and offering support for both DDR2 and DDR3 system memory. Prior to the launch of the Phenom II we had tested the AMD Shanghai Opterons on Linux and benchmarked these CPUs on OpenSolaris too, which were the server/workstation version of this new AMD 45nm core. With the Phenom II series there is the X3 and X4 line-up for triple-core and quad-core processors, respectively. In this article we are looking at how well the AMD Phenom II X3 710 performs under Ubuntu Linux.
Just for the record I have Phenom II X4 810 running on a ASUS M4N78PRO motherboard. Onboard Nvidia Geforce 8300 graphics and VIA VT1708s onboard sound. This is a DDR2 motherboard. WD 1TB Green Power SATA hard drive and a Pioneer SATA DVD burner.
I loaded Ubuntu Jaunty x86-64 and it all ran nicely except the default Nvidia non-free driver would freeze the system if I tried to resize a window with Compiz enabled. This is a driver issue, not just Ubuntu. I enabled the PPA repository (thefirstm) for updated Nvidia drives and now it hums along without error. With Cool'n Quiet enabled it idles along at 800MHz most of the time and makes very little noise with the stock cooler.
Hmmm, maybe I'll put off upgrading my rig for another month or two and hop on the Phenom II bandwagon. I was just going to get a cheap AthlonX2 rig to replace my aging AthlonXP rig, but those X3's look impressive.
Sucks they don't ship the same heatsink with them as they did with the first generation phenoms. I remember how impressed I was with the boxed heatsink of the 9950 BE when I build a rig for a buddy of mine. It's pretty huge and has copper, heatpipes and everything. It's also pretty silent. With the lower tdp of the Phenom IIs I'd guess they would make an awesome and cheap bundle for silent-pc-enthusiasts.
But I guess it's all about saving money, can't blame AMD on that.
Anyway the new Phenom IIs are really great cpus, I'd love to update my rig right now... but my E6600 just isn't slow enough to justify an update.
But I hear AMD is soon gonna present a new mobile platform.
Great article. Nice that there's a DDR2-3 upgrade path. I'm running an EE X2 with mtron ssd, and it's great and quiet, but new X3s are much faster now. I'll hold off for a while, 8G of DDR3 is bound to be expensive, but I guess I could get an older AM2+ board. Is it possible to run DDR2 in an AM3 mobo?
What should perhaps be mentioned is the speedup due to elimination of IO bottleknecks. An IO bound system with fast cpu will often be slower than a system with fast IO and slow cpu. Increased memory and an SSD may make more sense than a proc upgrade, nice tho the procs are.
I'm playing around with the phoronix-test-suite. Is there any way to run all the review tests and have the results shown alongside the results within the review? Would be a great way to determine worthy upgrades.
The new Phenom IIs are 45nm chips, way better than the Phenom Is. Lower idle power usage than an i7, slightly higher at max load. The argument about the Intel chips finishing video rendering quicker therefore being even more efficient is a load of crap unless your computer renders video all day long. Most people's computers idle most of the time only ramping up for short periods.