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AMD Phenom II X4 905E review

AMD promises performance and efficiency from this low-power quad-core chip

For a chip that trades on efficiency, the AMD Phenom II X4 905E's results in our platform power consumption tests are ugly. Using optimised motherboard settings, it actually consumes more power than the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition.

Something is clearly not right. Very likely, it's a problem related to voltage settings and our test board's BIOS. Anyway, two obvious lessons come out of this. Firstly, full motherboard support is required to get the best out of these low-power processors. Secondly, you may have to jump into the BIOS and do some hand tuning of the voltage settings.

As it is, we can't comment on the 905E's low power credentials. However, what we can say is that it runs an awful lot cooler than a normal quad-core Phenom II processor, even with the wrong voltage settings.

In most other areas, the 905E's performance is predictable, which is to say solid if hardly spectacular. Compared to a budget quad-core chip but one that is nevertheless clocked slightly higher, such as the Ahtlon II X4 620, the 905E trades punches across our benchmark suite. It's a little slower for video encoding but quicker at professional 3D rendering, gaming and file decompression.

As for the inevitable comparison with its low-power stable mate, the Athlon II X4 610E, it knocks out around 25 per cent more frames per second in the World of Conflict game benchmark. That could be the difference between smooth gameplay and irritating stutters. The 905E also clocks up better than the 610E, hitting 3.9GHz.

We liked:

Thanks to problems with motherboard support, the Phenom II X4 905E had a hard time impressing us. However, we still like the idea of a quad-core processor optimised for power efficiency. In raw performance terms, this chip would certainly make for great small form factor system.

We disliked:

Judging the Phenom II X4 905E's power consumption is tricky without proper motherboard support. However, we're confident that it's less efficient than the Athlon II X4 610E and that makes it tricky to recommend given the price premium. We'd go with the cheaper chip.

Verdict:

An interesting take on low-power performance, but less convincing than the Athlon II X4 610E.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Thermal Design Power65 W
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Product FamilyPhenom II X4
L3 Cache6 MB
Clock Speed2.50 GHz
Processor SocketSocket AM3 PGA-941
Brand NameAMD
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, ENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification70°C
L2 Cache2 MB
ManufacturerAdvanced Micro Devices, Inc
Product Model905e
Product NamePhenom II X4 Quad-core 905e 2.5GHz Processor
Product LinePhenom II X4
Input Voltage1.3 V DC
Manufacturer Part NumberHD905EOCGIBOX
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.amd.com
Marketing Information

Live your life in HD. Phenom II is for high definition entertainment, gaming, creativity, and beyond. With Phenom II processors as the foundation, you'll enjoy a new level of responsiveness and visual intensity. AMD puts high definition computing within everyone's reach.

Packaged Quantity1
Process Technology45 nm
Package Contents
  • Phenom II X4 Quad-core 905e 2.5GHz Processor
  • Installation Manual
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • AMD Processor Case Sticker
  • Heatsink/fan with Thermal Interface
Limited Warranty3 Year