If it's maximum multi-threaded throughput for minimum cash, take it from us, the Athlon II X4 620 is definitely your bag. For starters, in highly threaded software such as video encoding and professional 3D rendering, it's nearly twice as quick as AMD's dual-core Athlon II X2 250. And remember, the X2 250 is only £15 cheaper.

Even more impressive is how close the Athlon II X4 620 gets to some of Intel's much more expensive quads. Both the Intel Core i5 750 and Core i5 760 are well over twice as pricey but only deliver around 25% more performance. Put it this way. Are you really willing to pay close to £100 extra to encode video at 19 frames per second rather than 14 frames per second?

Less stellar is the 620's performance in applications that thrive on cache memory or demand serious muscle from individual cores. It's no surprise, therefore, to find it struggling in our game and file decompression benchmarks. The former means this chip isn't suitable at standard clockspeeds for hard core gamers looking for an affordable processor. The latter is more of an issue for content creators dealing with large file sizes.

As for overclocking, in terms of maximum frequency compared to most other chips the Athlon II X4 620 isn't spectacular. However, relative to its standard 2.6GHz clockspeed, 3.65GHz is far from shabby. Also, like any other chip designed for AMD's AM3 socket, the 620 benefits from a very flexible platform and AMD's proven track record for maximising socket compatibility.

We liked:

It's remarkable how much multi-threaded zing you can buy for £60-odd. As a tool for encoding video on the cheap, for example, the Athlon II X4 620 is a winner. Crank up the clocks at it will even do a passable job as a gaming chip.

We disliked:

At this price point, frankly, not a lot. But strictly speaking, the limited cache memory and modest stock clockspeed do hammer the 620's performance in games. In fact, any software that demands a lot of pulling power from a single core is going to chug a little on this cut-price quad.

Verdict:

One of if not the best budget chip you can buy. Fantastic multi-threading performance.

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