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AMD Athlon II X3 450 review

What kind of processor performance can you get for this cheap a price?

Our Verdict

A great cheap chip, but not for those looking for raw power

Product features

  • Processor Core : Triple-core (3 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Possible unlockable fourth core
  • Very cheap

Against

  • Well behind on performance against Intel or Phenom chips

The harsh truth about the AMD Athlon II X3 450 is that it only exists because AMD is currently struggling to compete with Intel for raw processor performance. That may change in 2011 when AMD rolls out its hotly anticipated new processor architecture, known as Bulldozer.

In the meantime, AMD is forced to scrounge for scraps at the budget end of the market. In practice, that means filling out its model range with a large number of very similar budget-priced chips based on the same basic architecture but offering different core counts and clockspeeds.

Running at 3.2GHz, the X3 450 is towards the quicker end of AMD's scale for clockspeed. But perhaps its most intriguing feature is a hidden fourth core.

We should point out that there are absolutely no guarantees when it comes to unlocking cores in AMD processors. In our experience, it works around 50 per cent of the time.

When it does come off, as it does with our particular Athlon II X3 450 sample, the results can be dramatic. With the fourth core unlocked and the chip clocked up to 3.6GHz, this processor is ludicrously quick for a sub-£60 CPU. It's truly stunning value for money when you compare it to Intel's pricey dual-core processors.

If you get unlucky and the fourth core doesn't fly, performance is still decent in the context of such an affordable processor. OK, it can only encode video at half the speed of AMD's fastest six-core Phenom II X6 processor. But then it does cost less than one third the price.

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreTriple-core (3 Core)
Thermal Design Power95 W
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Product FamilyAthlon II X3
Clock Speed3.20 GHz
Processor SocketSocket AM3 PGA-938
Brand NameAMD
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
L2 Cache1.50 MB
ManufacturerAdvanced Micro Devices, Inc
Product Model450
Product NameAthlon II X3 Tri-core 450 3.2GHz Desktop Processor
Product LineAthlon II X3
Manufacturer Part NumberADX450WFGMBOX
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.amd.com
Marketing Information

Do more in less time with amazing multi-core performance at a great price

Do more of the things you want to in less time and enhance your digital life with the multi-core performance and energy efficiency of AMD Athlon II processor-based desktop systems. Combined with superior ATI Radeon HD graphics technology, systems based on the AMD Athlon II processor deliver a vivid visual experience, superior multi-tasking, and exceptional digital media performance with next-generation energy efficiency.

Process Technology45 nm
Package Contents
  • Athlon II X3 Tri-core 450 3.2GHz Desktop Processor
  • AMD-qualified Heatsink/Fan with Thermal Interface
  • Installation Manual
  • AMD Processor Case Sticker
  • Certificate of Authenticity
Limited Warranty3 Year