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AMD Athlon II X2 240e & Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P

AMD’s new relase of the Athlon II X2 240e Processor brings a new inexpensive dual-core chip to the stores. Its low 45W TDP rating brings lower temperatures and much lower power consumption that is perfect for a any HTPC setup.

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Introduction

AMD has been slamming out new processors in the past years, tweaking and making their older processors even better and faster. With the launch of AMD’s new Athlon II X2 240e processor, this is not an exception. The new AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor has been redesigned for those seeking very cool, and low power PCs. The new 240e are perfect for Home Theatre PCs, and other general applications like surfing the web, listening to music, and keeping up with friends and family. There is no doubt a processor that will run cool even with the quietest and lowest RPM fans on the market.

This is not all however, the AMD Athlon II X2 240e processors have been designed to work optimaly on some of the new motherboards out there, like the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard, which we are also taking a look at in this review. The GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard has been built on the 790FX Chipset and can support up to the AM3 socket processors. It has been designed to work with 1600MHz DDR3 memory, however the 240e is built to work properly with 1066MHz memory.

The AMD Athlon 240e is running for $77 USD as of the release date. The Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P however is running for $180 USD, which is a very reasonable price for a high overclocking and stable board. Without any further ado lets dig into this and see what this little chip and the Gigabyte motherboard can do compared to some high end processors currently on the market.

 

CPU Name Cores Clock L2/L3 Cache HT Bus Socket TDP Price
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE 4 3.4GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 140W $179
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 4 3.2GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 125W $165
AMD Phenom II X4 945 4 3.0GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 125W $159
AMD Phenom II X4 925 4 2.8GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $139
AMD Phenom II X4 910e 4 2.6GHz  2+6MB  4000MHz AM3 65W $169
AMD Phenom II X4 905e 4 2.5GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $175
AMD Phenom II X4 810 4 2.6GHz 2+4MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $139
AMD Phenom II X3 720BE 3 2.8GHz 1.5+6MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $104
AMD Phenom II X3 710 3 2.6GHz 1.5+6MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $99
AMD Phenom II X3 705e 3 2.5GHz 1.5+6MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $119
AMD Phenom II X2 555 2 3.2GHz   1+6MB 4000MHz AM3 80W $99
AMD Phenom II X2 550 2 3.1GHz 1+6MB 4000MHz AM3 80W $91
AMD Athlon II X4 635 4 2.9GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $120
AMD Athlon II X4 630 4 2.8GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $102
AMD Athlon II X4 620 4 2.6GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $99
AMD Athlon II X3 440 3 3.0GHz 1.5MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $84
AMD Athlon II X3 435 3 2.9GHz 1.5MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $75
AMD Athlon II X3 425 3 2.7GHz 1.5MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $72
AMD Athlon II X2 255 2 3.1GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3  65W $75
AMD Athlon II X2 250 2 3.0GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $65
AMD Athlon II X2 245 2 2.9GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $61
AMD Athlon II X2 240 2 2.8GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $53

Features

AMD Athlon II X2 240e Processor

  • New low-power 45W processor
  • Perfect for mini towers, small-form-factor PCs, ultra-small-form-factor PCs, and all-in-ones)
  • 45nm processor at 45W with exceptional low temperatures
  • Support for DDR2 and DDR3 1066Mhz memory
  • Cool ‘n’ Quiet 

Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P

  • Ultra Durable 3 Technology with copper cooled quality for lower working temperature
  • Revolution energy saving design with Easy Energy Saver technology
  • Supports socket AM3 45nm AMD Phenom II series processors
  • Advanced 8+2 power phase design for 45nm CPU highly efficiency support
  • Dual Channel DDR3 1666+ for remarkable system performance
  • 2 PCI-E 2.0 x16 interface with ATI CrossFireX support for ultimate graphics performance
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet LAN with Teaming functionality
  • Power/reset/Clr CMOS onboard button for power users
  • Blu-ray playback supported by high quality 106dB SNR ALC889A HD audio
  • Supports Dolby Home Theater audio to enjoy a rich surround sound experience
  • Patented DualBIOS with dual hardware BIOS protection

Specifications

AMD Athlon II X2 240e Processor

Specifications AMD Athlon II X2 240e
Model Number & Core Frequency

X2 240e / 2.8GHz

OPN

AD240EHDK23GQ

L1 Cache Sizes

64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (256KB total L1 per processor)

L2 Cache Sizes

1MB of L2 data cache per core (2MB total L2 per processor)

Memory Controller Type

Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller

Memory Controller Speed

2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management

Types of Memory Supported

Support for unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-8500 (DDR3-1066MHz)

HyperTransport 3.0 Specification

One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)

Total Processor-to-System Bandwidth

Up to 33.1GB/s bandwidth [Up to 17.1 GB/s total bandwidth (DDR2 or DDR3-1066) + 16.0GB/s (HT3)]

Packaging

Socket AM3 938-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA)

Fab location

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Fab 1 Module 1

Process Technology

45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology

Approximate Die Size

117.5 mm2

Approximate Transistor count

~ 234 million

Max Temp

72 degrees Celsius

Nominal Voltage

.775 – 1.35V

Max TDP

45 Watts

Even though the Max Temperature specified is 72 degrees, at 45 Watts, this will not be a problem at all. With a proper air circulation, and good CPU cooling, the CPU shouldn’t go any higher than 50C under load. During our testing the CPU barely went higher or if even 40C under load. This gives a huge amount of head room for people worried about heat.

Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P 

Specifications Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P
CPU

Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom™ II X4 processor / AMD Phenom™ II X3 processor

Front Side Bus

5200 MT/s

Chipset
  1. North Bridge: AMD 790FX
  2. South Bridge: AMD SB750
Memory
  1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory (Note 1)
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 1666(OC)/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
Audio
  1. Realtek ALC889A codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for S/PDIF In/Out
  5. Support for CD In
LAN
  1. Realtek 8111C/DL chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
  2. Support for Teaming
Expansion Slots
  1. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (The PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots support ATI CrossFireX technology, and conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  2. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
  3. 2 x PCI slots
Storage Interface

South Bridge:
 

  1. 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
  2. 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors supporting up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  3. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 10 and JBOD

GIGABYTE SATA2 chip:
 

  1. 2 x JM322 chips (Smart Backup):
    – 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (GSATA2_0, GSATA2_1, GSATA2_2, GSATA2_3) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices (Note 2)
    – Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD

ITE 8720 chip:
 

  1. 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive
IEEE 1394

T.I. TSB43AB23 chip
 

  1. Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (2 on the back panel, 1 via the IEEE 1394a bracket connected to the internal IEEE 1394a header)
USB

Integrated in the South Bridge
 

  1. Up to 12 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 1 x floppy disk drive connector
  4. 1 x IDE connector
  5. 10 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  6. 1 x CPU fan header
  7. 2 x system fan header
  8. 1 x power fan header
  9. 1 x North Bridge fan header
  10. 1 x front panel header
  11. 1 x front panel audio header
  12. 1 x CD In connector
  13. 1 x S/PDIF In/Out header
  14. 1 x IEEE 1394a header
  15. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  16. 1 x serial port header
  17. 1 x parallel port header
  18. 1 x chassis intrusion header
  19. 1 x power LED header
  20. 1 x power switch
  21. 1 x reset switch
  22. 1 x clearing CMOS switch
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  2. 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  3. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  4. 1 x coaxial S/PDIF out connector
  5. 2 x IEEE 1394a port
  6. 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  7. 2 x RJ-45 port
  8. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller

ITE IT8720 chip

H/W Monitoring

System voltage detection
 

  1. CPU/System temperature detection
  2. CPU/System fan speed detection
  3. CPU overheating warning
  4. CPU/System fan fail warning
  5. CPU/System fan speed control (Note 3)
BIOS
  1. 2 x 8 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features
  1. Support for @BIOS
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Virtual Dual BIOS
  4. Support for Download Center
  5. Support for Xpress Install
  6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
  7. Support for EasyTune (Note 4)
  8. Support for Easy Energy Saver
  9. Support for Time Repair
  10. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software

Norton Internet Security (OEM version)

Operating System

Support for Microsoft Windows Vista/ XP

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

One thing to notice in these specifications is that while the motherboard supports up to 1600MHz memory speed, there is no guarantee that your memory is going to work at the given speed. For example, I have a OCZ 1600MHz DDR3 kit at home, and if I use this memory with the AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor and I keep it at 1600MHz then my system is unstable and will randomly crash. When I go into the AMD specification range, which is 1066MHz for the memory then the system is completely stable.

A Closer Look

AMD Athlon II X2 240e

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This is the new AMD Athlon II X2 240e Dual-Core Processor. The ’e’ in the name 240e, stands for the new low 45W TDP revision of the AMD Athlon II X2 240 Dual-Core Processor. They are both 2.8GHz in core speed, however the old 240 chip was 65W TDP while the new 240e chip is only 45W TDP. This is a big improvement over the previous generation. This will not only make sure that the processor stays cool, but also that it will use less power.
 
We can see on the second picture that the pin number has not changed either. So pretty much the only difference in the new AMD Athlon II X2 240e Dual-Core processor is the TDP rating. 
 

Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P

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The Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard came in a very stylish white box, with plenty of features printed all over the place. Some of the main features printed on the box were the 2oz Copper PCB, which helps maintain low resistance in power, Japanese Solid Capacitors, Lower RDS mosfets, and Ferrite Core Chokes. Further on, we see more information about what the motherboard supports, like the AM3 socket processors, 140W CPUs, and DDR3 1666MHz memory.

 Click Image For a Larger One

This is the boxing laid down. We can see that the side of the box pretty much has the same information as the front. Enough for the person picking a board at a store to see what each motherboard supports.

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On these first two pictures of the motherboard, we can clearly see 6 SATA 2 connectors (blue), and 4 GSATA 2 connectors (white). The first picture allows us to clearly see the Floppy and IDE connector, and the 24-pin power connector. On the second picture we see the back connectors that we will take a look at further down on this pa

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On these next two pictures we have a clear shot of the AM3 socket where the processor will be installed, and the 4x DDR3 memory DIMM slots. These Memory slots are Dual-Channel. Behind the Mosfet heatsink however, we can see the 8-pin CPU power connector which is pretty much kind of hiding from us. This is not a bad place for the 8-pin connector, but it makes it difficult to plug in the connector when the motherboard is already installed in your computer. The second picture clearly shows the expansion slots that were put on this motherboard. We can see 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 which support CrossFireX and work under the PCI Express 2.0 standard. Then there are 3x PCI Express x1 slots, and finally 2 x PCI slots.

Click Image For a Larger One
 
Next up, there are two more pictures of the top and the bottom of the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard. On the first picture, we can see the battery being located right in between the two x16 PCI Express slots. There are many other input/output connectors for external USB ports, IEEE 1394a port, and external audio ports. There are a total of 4 fan connectors built on this motherboard. The back of the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P is plain simple, but clearly shows the back plate of the bracket used for attaching your CPU cooler to. There are two more bars on the back which hold the main built on heatsinks for the NB and SB.

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These pictures were taken to show off the buttons included on the motherboard. The first picture shows the clear CMOS button, which can help tremendously when your system becomes unstable due to overclocking. The Reset and Power button on the second picture can help easily turn on and reset your system if it is not installed into a case. This comes very handy to users working on open workstations, and of course overclockers.

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Here is a close-up of the attractive heatsinks that Gigabyte uses for their NB and SB. Gigabyte printed their name on the NB heatsink. The choice of color in my opinion is perfect, and the black nickel painted copper heatpipes and heatsink looks great. Not only is it good looking, but it also helps to bring down the heat effectively.

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These pictures show of the 8+2 Ferrite Core Choke that Gigabyte uses on the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard. We can also see all the Japanese Solid Capacitors.

 Click Image For a Larger One

 Click Image For a Larger One

And finally, here are the accessories that come with the motherboard. We can see a Motherboard driver disk, User’s Manual, Quick Installation Guide, a sticker, One IDE cable, Four SATA 3Gb/s cables, One SATA bracket, and I/O Shield Plate, Two external SATA cables, and external power cable.

Cpu-z

Stock

Here is a screen shot taken of CPU-Z while it was running. The system was at its stock settings.

Click Image for a Larger One 

Overclocked

On this picture however, we see the overclocked settings for the CPU.

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OVERCLOCKING

Before we continue on how we got the AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor stable at 3.85GHz, let’s take a look at the CPU-Z validation as a proof.

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Here is the stress test that we have done to make sure that the AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor was stable at 3.85GHz.

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We ran Orthos and OCCT to test for stability. Due to limited time we let it run for an hour each. A more thorough stability test done for several hours or days is necessary though to see whether the processor is completely stable. On the following page in the BIOS settings, we will take a look at what voltages and settings we have used to achieve these results.

bios

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Gigabyte still uses the old-school BIOS which most of us are familiar with. ASUS and other companies went and made their BIOS look different, but Gigabyte stayed with the old and easy look that cannot be forgotten. On the main BIOS page we see the MB Intelligent Tweaker, Standard CMOS Features and other options that can be used to set up your system. The second picture shows the MB Intelligent Tweaker(M.I.T.) which allows users to tweak the CPU, Memory, and Motherboard features. If you are using the system just for work and not interested in overclocking, then you should probably leave these settings at AUTO. If you like to tweak your PC to the max then this will be the place to do it.

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Continuing on in the MB Intelligent Tweaker, further down we see Voltage Settings. These settings allow you to get to the sweat spot in the voltages that your hardware will run on when its overclocked. Its very nice that Gigabyte included voltage settings for all the parts of the system like the NB, SB, PCIE, CPU, and Memory. Once you enter the DRAM Configuration panel however, you are presented with tons of memory configurations. From clock speeds, to timings, there is no doubt that you will be able to tweak your memory to its best.

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Here are a few more options in the DRAM Configuration panel. On the next picture we see the Standard CMOS features that allow you to see what you have plugged into your motherboard. This is where you can see all of your hard drives and other drives you have connected. Basically the main part of the BIOS that allows you to set up the main and one of the most important features of your BIOS.

Click Image For a Larger One
 
These pictures take a look at the Advanced BIOS Features, and the Integrated Peripherals sections. The Advanced BIOS Features allows you to set up how your system will boot, while the Integrated Peripherals allow you to set up the rest of the motherboard including your AUDIO connectors, LAN, IEEE 1394e, USB, Serial Port features, etc.

Click Image For a Larger One
 
Finally the last two sections, the Power Management Setup section, and the PC Health Status section. The Power Management Setup section allows the user to configure how the system will react to power failures, waking up to different keystrokes and other features. The PC Health Status section is to show the user all the important facts about temperatures and fan RPM. This section lets the user disable or enable security features in the system when something fails.

testing & methodology

Setting Up The System For Benchmarking

All the tests we do, no matter on what hardware it is, we run each test a total of at least three times minimum, some tests we run more than 3 times. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.

The OS we use is Windows 7 Professional with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers, BIOS and anything else available for the motherboards, video cards, and any devices attached to the computer. We don’t disable a bunch of background tasks or particularly tweak the OS or system for bigger numbers. We do turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing in that one test might occur without defragging going on and the next test defragging might be active, the same thing goes for drive indexing. We can’t control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, so we turn them off.

Prefetch tries to predict what you will load the next time you boot the machine. We disable it because we want to know how the program runs without any of the files being cached, otherwise each test run we’d have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch, Superfetch loads often used programs into memory and is one of the reasons people consider Vista to be such a memory hog. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what you will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files being un-cached would result in skewed numbers. Again since we can’t control it we turn it off. Other than those 4 things which can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and do so out of our control, we leave everything else running.

Measuring Temperature And Overall Power Consumption

Measuring temperatures and the overall power consumption of a computer system can get quite interesting since there are plenty of ways of doing it. First of all lets start with measuring temperature. To measure the CPU and temperatures, we used Everest Ultimate.

To measure the overall wattage used by the computer system we used a Craftsman 400A AC/DC Clamp Meter. We attached the clamp straight to the wall outlet with a special divider to measure the overall Wattage being used accurately. The results were precisely recorded in a word document.

Test Rig

 The following system(s) were used to benchmark the different CPUs.

Test Rig
Case
Cooler Master Stacker 830 SE
Thermaltake Lanbox Lite
CPU
Intel Core I7 920 Extreme 2.66GHz
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz
AMD Athlon II X2 240e 2.8GHz
AMD Phenom X4 9350e 2.0GHz
Motherboard
ASUS P6T SE X58 Motherboard
ASUS P5E3 WS Professional X38 Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P
Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H
Ram
OCZ DDR3-12800 1600Mhz 12GB Kit
OCZ DDR3-12800 @ 1600Mhz 8GB Kit
OCZ DDR3-12800 @ 1066Mhz 8GB Kit
OCZ DDR2-8500 @ 1066Mhz 4GB Kit
CPU Cooler
Custom Water Cooling System from AcousticPC.com (LGA1366)
Cooler Master Aquagate Max Water Cooling System (LGA775)
Noctua NH-U12P Heatsink with 2x Noctua NF-P12 Fans from AcousticPC.com
Hard Drives
2x Western Digital RAID Edition 3 1TB Hard Drives
2x Seagate Barracude 7200.11 500GB Hard Drives
Western Digital Blue 640GB SATAII Hard Drive
Optical
Sony DVD R/W
GPU
XFX GeForce 8800GTS G92 512MB Alpha Dog Edition
Case Fans
2x Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fans - Side
1x Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fan - Front
1x Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fan - Back
1x Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fan - Top        
 
1x 90mm Blue-LED Front Fan
2x 60mm Back Fans
 
 
Additional Fans
2x Noctua NF-R8 80mm Fans – Video Card
1x Cool-It Memory Fan Cooler
PSU
Sapphire Pure 1250 Watt Modular Power Supply
Enermax 550 Watt Power Supply
Mouse
Logitech G5
Keyboard
Logitech G15

The different systems were put together to try to get as close to each other as possible, this is why we tried to use as many of the same hardware as possible. This will allow us to get accurate wattage readings when measuring for power consumption. Some parts might differ like the cooling used on the processors, and this is because the power consumption and the temperature readings were gathered over time instead of retesting all the processors with one CPU cooler. 

Test Suite


Benchmarks

3DMark Vantage

PCMark Vantage

SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP1

Everest Ultimate Edition

SuperPi

Cinebench R10 64-Bit

Crysis Warhead

3DMark Vantage

For complete information on 3DMark Vantage Please follow this Link:

www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmarkvantage/features/

The newest video benchmark from the gang at Futuremark. This utility is still a synthetic benchmark, but one that more closely reflects real world gaming performance. While it is not a perfect replacement for actual game benchmarks, it has its uses. We tested our cards at the ‘Performance’ setting.

Currently, there is a lot of controversy surrounding NVIDIA’s use of a PhysX driver for its 9800 GTX and GTX 200 series cards, thereby putting the ATI brand at a disadvantage. Whereby installing the PyhsX driver, 3DMark Vantage uses the GPU to perform PhysX calculations during a CPU test, and this is where things get a bit gray. If you look at the Driver Approval Policy for 3DMark Vantage it states; “Based on the specification and design of the CPU tests, GPU make, type or driver version may not have a significant effect on the results of either of the CPU tests as indicated in Section 7.3 of the 3DMark Vantage specification and white paper.” Did NVIDIA cheat by having the GPU handle the PhysX calculations or are they perfectly within their right since they own Ageia and all their IP? I think this point will quickly become moot once Futuremark releases an update to the test.

In these tests we do not see too much flactuation in the GPU and 3DMark Scores much, however we can clearly see the difference in CPU speed across the tested processors. PhysX was enabled for all the tests therefore the GPU PhysX calculations are incorporated in the CPU tests, but since we used the same video card for all the processors, this shouldn’t change the results too much. On the other hand, we can see that the 240e came close to beating the Phenom 9350e. With a bit more tweaking and possibly if we could get higher in the clock speed of the 240e, we could beat the 9350e, but I don’t think that we could beat any of the Intel Quad-Core processors.

pcmark vantage

For complete information on 3DMark Vantage Please follow this Link:

http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmarkvantage/features/

PCMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed for Windows Vista offering one-click simplicity for casual users and detailed, professional grade testing for industry, press and enthusiasts.

A PCMark score is a measure of your computer’s performance across a variety of common tasks such as viewing and editing photos, video, music and other media, gaming, communications, productivity and security.

From desktops and laptops to workstations and gaming rigs, by comparing your PCMark Vantage score with other similar systems you can find the hardware and software bottlenecks that stop you getting more from your PC.

In these results, we can pretty much see that the 240e has fallen back from the rest of the processors except the AMD Phenom 9350e, with which it is competing very well. This is expected due to comparing Quad-Core processors with the AMD Athlon X2 240e Dual-Core chip. Overall, it seems that the 240e is running pretty close to the other processors in the Music Suite test, which makes this processor promising for users not interested in gaming and other 3D Rendering applications.

Sisoft Sandra 2009 SP1

“SiSoftware Sandra (the System Analyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.”

This benchmark performs tests on Encryption and Decryption of files. For computer systems that encrypt and decrypt many files a processor with a higher score will perform better in that task. We can see that the stock 240e could not keep up with the other Quad-Core processors, which is totally understandable, but it was very close to beating the Phenom 9350e when it was overclocked.

This tests shows how your processor handles arithmetic and floating point instructions. The higher the score the better. Since this processor is a dual-core instead of all the rest of the processors being Quad-Core, these tests are not quite well comparable since it would be comparing apples to bananas, however it can give a nice understanding about how these processors differ from each other. 

This test involves the generation of Mandelbrot Set fractals that are used to realistically describe and generate natural objects such as mountains or clouds. By using various multi-media extensions better performance is achieved.

This shows how efficient the processor cores and their inter-connects are in comparison to other types to other typical processors. Unfortunately all the AMD processors including the X2 240e have dramatically failed compared to the Intel processors.

And finally in this one we can see that the time it takes to get certain things complete takes a longer time on the AMD processors do to their slower latency.

everest ultimate Edition

EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.

This test is quite interesting. We can clearly notice that the biggest difference in performance across the processors was in the CPU Zlib test. This integer benchmark measures combined CPU and memory subsystem performance through the public ZLib compression library.

Finally from the Everest benchmarks, we can see how the memory transfer speeds look like across the tested processors. We can see that till Dual-Channel memories were used, with any processor, the tests were very close to each other. When Triple-Channel memories were introduced in the Core i7 family, the memory speeds went up dramatically.

superpi

Super PI is a software that calculates the PI digits to thousands and millions of digits. This software is mainly used for testing the speed of your CPU calculation. Because of this we did a 4 Million digit calculation.

We saw a significant improvement on the X2 240e when we ran SuperPi. The X2 240e running at 3.85GHz finished computing 4 million digits barely by 3 seconds less than the Intel Q6600 at stock speeds. The X2 240e at stock had a big advantage over the Phenom 9350e as well. In the SuperPi tests, core speed is more important that the number of cores. Depending on the application, the X2 240e could perform better than the Phenom 9350e or the some of the Intel Quad-Core processors.

cinebench R10 64-bit

CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more. MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based). The resulting values among different operating systems are 100% comparable and therefore very useful with regard to purchasing decision-making. It can also be used as a marketing tool for hardware vendors or simply to compare hardware among colleagues or friends.

As a past user of Cinema 4D, a 3D application that is used to create some of the most stunning animation currently seen in advertisements and movies, I know how important it is to have a powerful processor for rendering. On these test the X2 was obviously the weakest from all the processors, which is why this processor is not made for 3D rendering, but instead for smaller PCs that can be used for HDTVs and other smaller systems.

CRYSIS WARHEAD

Crysis Warhead is the much anticipated sequel of Crysis, featuring an updated CryENGINE™ 2 with better optimization. It was one of the most anticipated titles of 2008.

And finally this is the last benchmark for the CPU. We can see that the clock speed plays a big role in FPS in games, and if we take a look at only the AMD processors it is visible that the higher the clock speed is on the processor the more FPS we are getting. You don’t need a Quad-Core processor to achieve nice FPS, but unfortunately the 240e cannot keep up with the requirements of Crysis since the game becomes unplayable when we reach low FPSs like 10, 13, and 16.

TEMPERATURES

Temperature is one of the parts that some current manufacturers don’t really pay attention too. It is time to come out with new technologies allowing us to further develop our chips and maintain low temperatures. This is why we at Bjorn3D pay close attention to making sure that each product is measured and reported with accurate temperature readings.

 

While the X2 240e did perform fairly well compared to its Quad-Core competition, one of the most exciting parts of the 240e is its temperature. All the other processors, except the Phenom 9350e was water cooled. The Athlon X2 240e was cooled with Noctua’s NH-U12P cooler with 2x Noctua NF-P12 fans. Even seeing that there was water cooling cooling the Intel processors, and air cooling the AMD processors, I am very surprised with the temperatures. The 240e kept the lowest Load temperatures at all times.

POWER CONSUMPTION

Power_Consumption

Temperatures are not the only thing that need to be improved on. Power consumption is another big topic to take a look at. Current technology allows us to create newer and better products, but this makes new hardware more power hungry. Let’s take a look how these hardware compare to each other.

To conclude with all the tests, we have measured the overall power consumption of the processors. We tried to keep all the systems as close as possible and reuse all the hardware possible to maintain a fair reading of the power consumption. The power consumption of the new X2 240e processor is very low, if we take a look at all the other processors. The phenom 9350e had a lower power consumption perhaps because of the lower amount of fans in the system and lower end motherboard.

conclusion

The new AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor is very promising for everyday work. We didn’t have any problems with the processor except a memory issue that was resolved by down clocking our OCZ 1600Mhz DDR3 memory to 1066Mhz. Other than that the X2 240e performed exceptionally in both temperatures as well as power consumption. This processor also works very well with overclocking, which means that overclockers can enjoy messing with this CPU without worrying much about making their processor unstable. When the X2 240e was overclocked to 3.85GHz temperature and power consumption was not an issue either, which is why I would recommend this processor for anybody who is looking for low temperature and low power consumption processor for their workstation or HTPC.

The Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P on the other hand did very exceptionally as well. Its overclocking potential allowed us to overclock the AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor to 3.85GHz. It is nice to see that the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P can also support the new AMD processors on the market. We had to update the BIOS to the latest revision to get everything stable, but this is acceptable since the Athlon II X2 240e is a new processor. The motherboard ran really cool, and we never had any problems with it.

Over time we would like to see more hardware companies making a jump towards lower power consumption and lower temperature standard. The moment has come to make a change and develope a new technology that will allow us to do this. To be honest with you, I am quite dissapointed in the fact that companies keep making powerful chips, while not taking heat and power into consideration. If we can develope a new technology that will allow us to use less power and produce less heat on more powerful chips, then that would be exceptional. Thankfully, AMD has done this with the Athlon II X2 240e processor, and we are hoping other companies will do too.

OUR VERDICT: AMD Athlon II X2 240e Processor
Performance  7
Value  10
Quality  9
Features  9
Innovation  7
We are using an addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the rating system.
Total  7.5
Pro Cons

Low Power Consumption

Low Temperatures

45nm, 45W TDP

Great Price

Not bad Overclocking

Perfect for HTPCs and small systems for surfing the Internet, Word Processing and other older video games that don’t require much CPU power.

Not powerful for users in Video Editing, Photo Editing, and other Rendering applications.

Stability might be an issue with higher memory speeds than 1066Mhz.

 

Summary: Overall the AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor is not for everybody. This processor comes very handy for Home Theater PCs and other small form factor PCs. We recommend the X2 240e to anybody who is looking into only using the computer for casual applications, and nothing too extra like Video/Photo Editing, and Rendering. The AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor on the other hand is very affordable and has good performance to price ratio, which is why we are awarding it two Awards: Bjorn3D’s Seal of Approval Award, and Bjorn3D’s Best Bang for the Buck Award!
OUR VERDICT: Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P Motherboard
Performance  9
Value  8
Quality  9
Features  8
Innovation  8
We are using an addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the rating system.
Total  8.5
Pro Cons

Easy and Enjoyable to work with.

Great Overclocking Potential

100% Japanese Solid Capacitors

2oz Copper PCB design

Awkward positioning of the CPU 8-pin power connecter right behind the MOSFET heatsink.

 

 

Summary: The Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard is very well designed with excellent features and overclocking potential. Its support for the latest and best AMD processors gives this board a big advantage over other manufacturers boards. Overall, the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard was a pure joy to work with, which is why this motherboard scores a total of 8.5 points which earns it a Bjorn3D Seal of Approval Award! 
CPU Name Cores Clock L2/L3 Cache HT Bus Socket TDP Price
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE 4 3.4GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 140W $179
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 4 3.2GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 125W $165
AMD Phenom II X4 945 4 3.0GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 125W $159
AMD Phenom II X4 925 4 2.8GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $139
AMD Phenom II X4 910e 4 2.6GHz  2+6MB  4000MHz AM3 65W $169
AMD Phenom II X4 905e 4 2.5GHz 2+6MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $175
AMD Phenom II X4 810 4 2.6GHz 2+4MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $139
AMD Phenom II X3 720BE 3 2.8GHz 1.5+6MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $104
AMD Phenom II X3 710 3 2.6GHz 1.5+6MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $99
AMD Phenom II X3 705e 3 2.5GHz 1.5+6MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $119
AMD Phenom II X2 555 2 3.2GHz   1+6MB 4000MHz AM3 80W $99
AMD Phenom II X2 550 2 3.1GHz 1+6MB 4000MHz AM3 80W $91
AMD Athlon II X4 635 4 2.9GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $120
AMD Athlon II X4 630 4 2.8GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $102
AMD Athlon II X4 620 4 2.6GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $99
AMD Athlon II X3 440 3 3.0GHz 1.5MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $84
AMD Athlon II X3 435 3 2.9GHz 1.5MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $75
AMD Athlon II X3 425 3 2.7GHz 1.5MB 4000MHz AM3 95W $72
AMD Athlon II X2 255 2 3.1GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3  65W $75
AMD Athlon II X2 250 2 3.0GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $65
AMD Athlon II X2 245 2 2.9GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $61
AMD Athlon II X2 240 2 2.8GHz 2MB 4000MHz AM3 65W $53

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