What's AMD's up to? You'd assume it would use a high-end chip to launch its new AM3 socket. But here we are with this 2.6GHz quad-core model.

AM3 is actually physically identical to the AM2 socket, which means this CPU will also slot into many existing AMD motherboards.

Significantly, however, it does add support for DDR3 memory. At least it would be significant if it made a real difference to the performance. We compared the 810 running courtesy of both DDR2 and DDR3 and found the gap was slim-to-none in reality.

As for overclocking, the 3.25GHz our sample hits with a conventional air cooler may not be spectacular, but it is more than enough to lift this affordable chip into genuine high-performance territory. Not bad for about £130.