Phenom Recycled: Athlon X2 7000-Series


By no means is a Phenom-based Athlon X2 a revolutionary leap forward for AMD, since the release of a new generation of Athlon X2 processors following Intel's numbering scheme was really a long time in coming as the company adapted its newer, more advanced technology for the job. In that way, the new product is by no means really new, but it is based on a proven design--more precisely the Phenom's 65 nm Agena core. However, AMD decided not to call the new product Phenom X2 (most likely to keep a distance between the Athlon family and the Phenom product line, which offers superior performance).

Athlon X2 7000-Series: Made Better By Phenom

Thanks to the advantages of the 65 nm Phenom design, the Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition is faster per clock than its predecessor, the Athlon 64 X2. The processors come with the latest dual-channel DDR2-1066 memory controller, 2 x 512 KB L2 cache and a shared L3 cache. They also introduce the SSE 4.1 instruction set of the Phenom into the Athlon world. And the processors can be dropped into existing socket AM2/AM2+ systems as soon as a suitable BIOS update is available.

A Small Power Advantage

We found that there are some changes in power consumption as well. While the system idle power is slightly higher on the new Ahtlon X2 7000 series (a few Watts increase), the peak power actually decreased by 10-20 W. If we relate these power savings to the performance we saw, the Athlon X2 7750 BE has to be compared with the Athlon 64 X2 5400+, which it beats in most of the benchmarks except gaming.

Improved Performance Per Clock, But No Performance Improvement

Despite its more efficient architecture, the Athlon X2 7000 cannot make up for the clock speed difference separating it from some of the previous-generation Athlon X2s (500 MHz, in the case of the Athlon 64 X2 6400+), although there are some benchmarks in which the new 7000-series performs better: DivX 6.8.3, Mainconcept 1.5.1, and Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. In the synthetic benchmarks as well as the gaming benchmarks, it does lose out to the 6400+. If you're looking for higher performance, you'll have to go for faster clock speeds, more cores, or a Core 2-based configuration

For Upgrade Users, Only

Not everyone wants or can afford to buy a new system every few years, and luckily, the Athlon X2 7000-series provides an excellent option to upgrade existing socket AM2 powered systems. We have to qualify the statement made earlier about the new Athlons being suitable for folks looking to upgrade. More accurately, this one's a play exclusively for the folks looking to stretch their existing systems out until the next generation platforms hit the market by the middle of 2009, hopefully with integrated USB 3.0.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • mapesdhs
    Given how much Core2s can be overclocked, compared to the limits
    of the Athlon64 X2 (3.25GHz is about the max usually), I don't
    see any compelling case for these 7000 series CPUs. I bought
    a 6000+ because it was the very week AMD halved its prices, thus
    the price was very attractive compared to the Core2s available
    at the time (April 2007), but it's a very different situation
    today. For those considering an upgrade, given the minimal speed
    gains shown by the 7000 chips, a 6000+ makes more sense, or
    better still just bite the bullet and get a Core2 and new mbd.

    I like my 6000+ system a lot (I run it at 3.225GHz with an U120):

    but the 7000s CPUs offer nothing new IMO. I wish it were
    otherwise, but this is the truth. The charts show again
    and again that the 6400+ is better than the new 7000 series,
    so what's the point? And then compare to an oc'd Core2 such
    as an E8400 or similar? Ouch...

    Atm, my next system will be an i7 920 by the looks of it.

  • Anonymous
    Why does every other website reviewing the 7000 series show considerably better results often with Intel trailing, have you made a mistake?
  • spuddyt
    Guest007Why does every other website reviewing the 7000 series show considerably better results often with Intel trailing, have you made a mistake?

    *citation needed
  • mapesdhs
    spuddyt, you're right.

    I had a look around. Other sites either don't compare to the 6000+
    or 6400+, don't bother listing Intel dual-cores like the E5200
    or E8400, don't show results from an oc'd Intel dual-core, use
    stupid graphs that begin at a non-zero value which makes the
    AMD chips look better, or compare the 7K Black Edition to a
    pointless CPU like the 5000+.

    I see no evidence that other sites show better results with the
    7K chips at all, and I don't believe you could find a single
    test where the 7K Black Edition would beat an E8400 with a simple
    air overclock (indeed, most of the time an E8400 will be faster
    just at stock speed). Other sites that did bother comparing to
    the 6000+ show it to match the 7K B.E. almost exactly, which
    means the 6400+ would beat it no problem, as it does in the toms

    Despite this, article conclusions on other sites always sing
    the praises of these new CPUs, which I don't understand.

    One site showed the 7K B.E. consistently losing out to an E5200,
    which is really lame. Now consider the E5200 oc'd and well, the
    7K is left in the dust.

    I would love to read news of a good AMD dual-core that
    significantly beats the 6000+, but there just isn't one, period.
    Right now, for someone thinking of upgrading, switching to an
    Intel board with an E8400 or somesuch makes way more sense.

  • Faustinono
    On these figures, not much incentive to replace my Athlon 64 X2 5200+.
  • wild9
    (Intel Core 2) Max. Clock 400 MHz[/] (12.8 GB/s)

    I think the 400 MHz should be 1.6 GB/s (quad-pumped = 12.8 GB/s) :)
  • wild9
    (Intel Core 2) Max. Clock 400 MHz (12.8 GB/s)

    I think the 400 MHz should be 1.6 GB/s (quad-pumped = 12.8 GB/s) :)
  • wild9
    Intel Core 2

    400MHz quad-pumped = 1.6GB/s

    Sorry for the error (caught up in the Christmas rush).
  • wild9
    I'd be interested in of these products if it were sold at the right price. Perhaps 7000 will be clocked down and actually replace most of it's predecessors - less power under load, faster Hyper-transport and the latest SIMD support. It's just a pity AMD couldn't have clocked it a bit higher, since the L3 cache doesn't seem to have much impact on dual-cores as it does with quads, unless under specific testing. I'd Be interested to see some heavy multi-tasking benchmarks.

    Also, looking at the overall chart positions..I think AMD does do a decent job competing with Intel, even if one has to run at higher core clock speeds.
  • mapesdhs
    AMD only competes on price. It's absolutely nowhere when it comes
    to performance. I wish it were otherwise, but the numbers are
    clear. AMD appears to have a real problem getting past 3GHz.
    The faster HT speed doesn't seem to help much either.

    Just look at the video encoding results (my own field of interest);
    Intel wins hands down, without any oc'ing, and most of the time
    the 6400+ is faster than the 7K Black (when the 7K Black is
    faster, the margin is not significant). Now take into account
    how easy it is to oc the E8200, E8400, etc. and it's pretty
    obvious the 7Ks offer nothing compelling at all.

    The situation for the 7Ks is even worse with the gaming results,
    often losing out to much older AMD dual-cores, while Intel's
    result go through the roof. Indeed, most of the time the 7K Black
    can't even beat a mere 5600+! The Supreme Commander scores are
    particularly grim, with the 7Ks slower than a 4600+.

    Believe me, I really want AMD to be in this game (my own system
    is a 6000+), but right now they're nowhere except on price. As
    Intel's performance levels increase, even the pricing argument
    for AMD starts to fade since Intel wins on price/performance by
    a large margin, making it worth any extra cost to get a Core2
    or i7.

    Right now, AMD has absolutely nothing that can match such an
    effective combination as an E8200/E8400 with a Xigmatek
    HDT-S1283 Heatpipe, oc the sucker to 4GHz, leave the 7K Black
    in the dust.

    Come on AMD, produce something that's worth buying! Phenom was
    bad enough, often offering no gain over the previous 6000+ (in
    some cases slower), but this is crazy. The market needs proper
    competition, otherwise Intel will slow down its release schedule
    purely because it doesn't have to release products as fast in
    order to stay ahead, which is bad news for customers.

  • pete3867
    as I understood an article in custom pc these chips are aimed at oem suppliers , whilst I agree that it would have made sense to see one of em clocked at 3gigs or over ,I think this is a smart move
    custom pc says "AMD is marketing the new chips as a part of its ‘Cartwheel’ platform, which enables system builders to create budget systems from AMD components. A Cartwheel system will feature an AMD Athlon X2 7000-series CPU, along with an AMD 780G motherboard chipset with integrated Radeon HD 3200 graphics.
  • mapesdhs
    So is that all AMD cares about now? Budget systems? Dash of
    sarcasm there obviously (I'm sure AMD doesn't want to be
    uncompetitive in the performance market), but atm AMD just seems
    to be so far behind. It's sad, and not healthy for competition.

  • baldinie
    ok, firstly I rarely comment on these articles, and I'm neither pro intel or amd. However, firstly you have to remember that Intel spend more on RnD then AMD makes in revenue. Secondly I agree with what other people have said that the AMD 6000/6400 and the new 7750 have done better on other sites, am still wondering if tomshardware has become in the pay of intel/nvidia. (I hope not since I've come to toms for years for reviews and the useful forums) the new 7750 is the first in the line of 7 series 65nm AMD's. The first core 2 duos weren't great, it wasn't till the e6 and e8 serious (with E0 stepping and the q6600 that people REALLY wanted the core2s. AMD are behind yes, but they are a lot cheaper. Lets not forget the other stuff, M3A79-T mobo £123, DDR2 memory, and 7750 £58 And will take the phenom II cpu's). I7 sytem £150 mobo (cheapest) DDR3 mem and £220 for the i7 920. Also, a 65nm cpu means less heat when o/c and less power. The new 7750 competes with the E8200 which is nearly twice the price (go to which isn't bad. and before u say build an e8400 system, next year intel will stop supporting the 775 socket, so it has no longevity. AMD's aren't amazing, but they aren't cheap and more than competent. and why have toms not used the 790FX with a SB750 mobo? and done some overclocking tests? give the new kuma core some time, and i bet AMD will launch some 3GHz+ cpus in the coming months to take on the E84/5/600. (also dont be so pro intel, least ye forget AMD killed intel's P4 when intel desperately just kept increasing frequency and got no gains. Also that they learned from AMD to use a single silicon base, hence you have a more effiecient, smaller phenom we call the i7).
  • mapesdhs
    Say I'm pro-Intel is ridiculous. As I say, when I bought my own
    upgrads, I went for a 6000+ because it easily won on price.

    And what site reviews are you referring to? Specifics please.
    I checked a bunch of reviews and found no evidence that other
    sites were getting significantly better results. I still see
    nothing offered in these 7K CPUs which isn't already available
    with the 6000+ or similar CPUs. Other sites also showed in some
    cases the 7K chips being slower than really old CPUs. It's not
    being pro-Intel to point out the truth. If the 2 companies had
    two totally identical products re performance and price, I'd
    choose AMD.

  • pete3867
    I think they are doin what they have to and targeting segments of the market , and tbh I have an old 939 skt with a x2 3600 and I can play all the current games no prob , my point is , most people dont need a souped up system , and budget systems = volume oem = AMD at least keeping afloat , lets face it it's better than just throwin away all those duff phenoms innit , amd have to play to THEIR strong points
  • mapesdhs
    That's true enough I guess; if the 7Ks are cheaper and use less
    power than the older series, then those with older systems who
    do want to upgrade have a better option for the time being.

    I just want to see AMD get back into the game. I've been very
    happy with my 6000+ system, but my next build, though limited to
    some extent by budget constraints, is very much focused on
    performance, which right now steers me towards an i7 920 setup,
    assuming prices are a tad more sensible by summer/09.

  • baldinie
    another point to remember is that the 77550 is only 2.7Ghz, the 6000 is 3.1ghz, and most of the games are boosted purely by clock frequency. I think its too early to tell if the new 7series will be a flop or a success. And I agree with pete3867, AMD cant compete with the i7's but then again, why force a way to try when that market segment will be tiny with all the overheads of goin to a i7 board, mem, cpu set up. the main stream system market is a much better option for AMD, they have the price performance ratio, and a larger segment. Yes it would be nice to have AMD on top or competing like the first athlons did, but its not the end of the world, and they still have the HD4800's giving nvidia a bloody nose. So i think in the long run, AMD staying a float and making new products is better than nothing, at least it may force intel to lower its rediculous price tags on the new i7's. and thats better for everyone all round.
  • mapesdhs
    When it comes to performance, the 7Ks can't even compete with
    a simple Intel dual-core, never mind the i7. Heck, much of the
    time the 7Ks are slower than AMD's own older dual cores at lower

    And there comes a point where the extra cost is worthwhile. I'm
    not saying that's now, but I'm sure there will be cheaper i7
    mbds available within a few months. Until then, a Core2 is still
    a better choice than a 7K IMO.

    As for the 7Ks as an upgrade, I still don't see the point. You've
    just said 'most' games are boosted purely by clock frequency;
    thus, why bother with a 7750 for 63 UKP when a 3.1GHz 6000+ is
    60 UKP and faster in almost every case? Once again, I don't see
    the point of these new 7K CPUs. They're not remotely the best
    choice for a new system build, and they're slower than a cheaper

    Pricing from (NB: they have the 3.2GHz 6000+ for

    People keep saying here that a 7K looks like a good idea, but
    have still not provided any evidence of this, on either price
    or performance.

    My previous post included a caveat of the 7K being cheaper. It's
    not. Are you really saying you would recommend a 2.7GHz 7750 for
    63 UKP as an upgrade instead of a 3.1GHz 6000+ for 60 UKP?

    If AMD don't produce something better, it certainly will not
    force Intel to lower its prices, not when AMD doesn't have a
    competing product.

  • baldinie
    i admit the 6000 or 6400 is a better buy, now. then again the 7750 is a BE, much easier to overclock. and for AMD upgrade, what i mean is that u can buy a mobo with 790fx/sb750 and u can keep it for a few years and get phenom 2...etc, but the core2duo will be obsolete next year and u'll have to scrap it all (mem, mobo, cpu) to get the i7 skt 1336. and yes there are core i5's coming out soon, but given that the i7 920 is on a par with most decent core2duos in real world there's not point in them for the expense. Look at the market as it stands now, the mainstream will become a much more lucrative market, as people wont spend £1000+ on a new build which u need for a decent i7 rig. No the K7750 is not going to force a reaction from intel, but as i said, its the first kuma cpu, give the series a few months and I suspect there will be more attractive AMD's that beat their older cpus and take on the core 2's and at a lower price, and with more longevity.
    as for the benchmarks,
    e8200 is performing at the same level and that cpu is twice the price as the 7750. (ebuyer, e8200 £122+vat)
  • mapesdhs
    If we're talking overclocking, AMD loses again by a huge margin.

    I don't know what you mean by obsolete; a system with such a CPU
    will still take future gfx card products for a long time and
    that's surely what matters in this context.

    And I was thinking of the E7200, not the E8200. It's more
    expensive than a 6000+ or 7750, but faster, and once the oc
    potential is factored in, much faster.

    For me it's a simple equation. If someone is thinking of
    upgrading an older AMD system, the 6000+ makes more sense.
    If they're thinking of a new build, then the extra cost of
    an Intel is more than worth it.

    Guru3D is annoyingly using plugins for its results (I don't
    have the relevant plugin installed so I can't see the data),
    but tom's own article shows how a cheaper E7200 can be oc'd
    to an enormous degree.

    I'm not an Intel fan by any means (I have dozens of computers,
    only 2 of them are Intel), but it seems to me many people are
    desparately trying to convince themselves that these 7K chips
    are better than they really are.