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Review: Phenom II X4 905e - 65watt Quad core

Discussion in 'AMD x86 CPUs and chipsets' started by mAJORD, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Jun 4, 2002
    Griffin , Brisbane
    Review: Phenom II X4 905e - 65watt Quad core.

    Since the transition to 45nm late last yr, there's been a steady flow of new low power CPU's from AMD, and just recently a few 65w Tri and Quad core models were quietly released.

    Phenom II X3 705e 2.5Ghz 65w
    Phenom II X4 905e 2.6Ghz 65w

    Today I'm looking at what is probably AMD's first usefull 'energy efficient' 65watt Quad core, the X4 905e.
    Clocking in at 2.5Ghz it has roughly the performance of the old Phenom 9950, whilst using only a fraction of the power. (Previous 65nm series quads clocked in at an uninspiring 1.9Ghz.) Having a full 6MB of cache it should also sit only slightly below the 95w 810 performance wise, depending on application.

    So on paper, the performance/watt will appeal to those seeking small form factor, or low power systems that can take advantage of multithreaded applications, or maybe even heavy mult-tasking use..

    It's worth mentioning that Intel entered the "65watt quadcore" market not long ago with most of their range offered in an S series:

    Q8200S 2.33Ghz 4MB L2
    Q9400S 2.66Ghz 6MB L2
    Q9550S 2.83Ghz 12MB L2

    The obvious counterpart here is the Q8200s. It would have been nice to get hold of one of these for performance and power comparison. They are incredibly expensive in Australia however. One can only hope when availability picks up here for the 905e it doesn't suffer the same sort of high prices..

    According to official AMD pricing,the 905e should fall between the 810 and the 955 from a given supplier:


    So I've split this review up into two sections.. A Desktop platform comparsion, and a look at interesting little ITX setup using the J&W ITX MINIX board, with an off the shelf compact ITX case, so see if a quadcore system is practical in such a small form factor.

    The Chip:

    clocked in at 2.5GhZ it has a standard VID (VCore) of 1.15v. This is a fair whack lower than higher clocked parts.


    Cool n Quiet:

    Minimum clockspeed with Cool n Quiet is 800Mhz. VID becomes 0.95v

    The Gigabyte EAsy Energy Saver tech is interesting..The accuracy of the inbuilt power meter is questionable though, as an X2 250 apparently draws more power..

    Desktop platform Setup:

    In the interest of keeping previously recorded power consumption and performance measurments relevent, I've used a desktop platform with dedicated HD2400 video card.

    AMD Phenom II X4 905e 65w
    AMD Phenom II X2 550 + unlocked to 4 core (80w -> n/a) - Power consumption
    AMD Athlon II 250 65W:

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P
    RAM: G.Skill pi DDR3 1333 @ 8-8-8-23 2T 1.5v
    Video card: Raedeon 2400 pro
    HDD's: 2x Seagate 7200.7 SATA.
    CPU Cooling: Standard
    Aditional cooling: None.
    Power Supply: Seasonic S12+ 550w

    Operating System: Windows 7 64bit, RC1 7100

    Power consumption:

    Power measurments were a bit tricky. I wanted to include the previous gen 65nm Dual core in the results but it was on a DDR2 platform. As such take note of the two Athlon II readings to 'cross-over' the platforms.

    Measured at the wall socket - Total system power of above components.

    Slightly more hungry and hot than the X2 250, but easily better than the 80watt 550.


    Note: Something I would have liked to do is have a faster standard series X4 in the power consumption tests, and undervolt it to compare. Unfortunatly I don't have one available, and I'm made aware that ACC mode required for the unlocked 550 can cause excess power consumption.

    If I remember, i'll update this chart when I next have a higher-spec AM3 quad to test with.

    Performance - "65w Shootout":
    Performance is going to be pretty predictable, this is after all a 2.5Ghz Deneb. So i'm not going to compare this to a host of processors..

    What I have done is pit it up to the cheaper, jjust previously highest performing 65w CPU from AMD..


    Certainly, a huge advantage exists for multi-threaded app's.. Throwing some legacy single threaded apps in their is important IMO, here it trails slighty thanks to the lower clock speed.

    For the HTPC croud, a Dual core may be more relevent, but if the same machine will see transcoding, ripping etc, there's plenty of software around that will take advantage.. the x264 HD benchmark a good example,

    Overclocking/ Underclocking

    This is OCAU so some form of overclocking has to take place.. the whole purpose of this CPU is low power, so Standard 1.15v, standard heatsink. Also, I've attempted to find the lowest Vcore @ stock frequency.

    Lowest Stable Vcore @ stock voltage.

    1.05v @ 2.5Ghz

    Highest stable overclock @ stock Vcore
    2.9Ghz @ 1.15v

    Power consumption:

    Maximum undervolt: Idle: 81W Load: 121W
    Maximum Overclock: Idle: 88W Load: 133w

    Some headroom there, both ways.. you can safely squeeze a bit more performance out without increasing thermals.

    ITX Quad core:

    Some time ago J&W released the MINIX mini-ITX AM2+ motherboard.. Based on the 780G Chipset, complete with 128MB side-port Video RAM. On paper it had extreme potential, but the lack of truely low power high performance chips, and a hefty 200+ pricetag means it probably hasn't been all that popular.

    With release of a new BIOS supporting 45nm CPU's though that changes somewhat. Especially since this board can be had for as little as $166AU..


    This is a wonderfull little board, that's received litte attention. It's only downside is a 4x pci speed 16x slot, so it's not suitable for high performance GFX cards (but fine for lower models). It also only supports 65-95w CPU's.. with 65w being a stronygly recomended max.. hence where this CPU steps in.

    The Setup:

    Mainboard: J&W MINIX 128SP
    CPU: Phenom II X4 905e 2.5Ghz
    RAM: 2x2GB(4GB) Transend SO-DIMM DRR2 667Mhz
    HArd drive: 160GB Seagate 7200RPM
    Optical: LG DVD-RW
    Case: Aywun A1-8989 cube ITX


    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    Case Airflow.

    One of the biggest flaws of this case is the inbuilt power supply. The 150w unit is located inside, and all of it's heat is dumped INTO the case!. So at 100+ W usage it's dumping probably 20Watts of heat inside.. Not good. It's also noisy.

    secondly the rear fan (being the only form of airflow in the case) is very poor, and restricted. So straight off the batt it isn't looking like a suitable place to be for a 65w CPU, and


    Nonethelss I tried it out in this form.. and whislt it was fine for normal use.. OCCT soon sent temperatures soaring, and eventually, at 78c core it failed OCCT.
    A simple change of fan:

    Swapping the rear fan for a Noctua NF-R8 80mm unit, and swaping the very restrictive grills for chrome-wire type made a massive difference..

    Load CPU temps now topped out at 63c with an abient of 26c. And a 1hour OCCT Test passed without issue..


    MINIX power consumption (550w SEasonic supply)

    the IGP and efficient 2+1 PWM shave a bit off power consumption compared to the above desktop platform:


    A change of power supply, and more to come:

    unfortunatly I had to quikcly transform this ITX system for a Birthday present,

    but as soon as I the components come in I'll be updating results with a 150w PICO-PSU. Including actual DC power draw Stay tuned for that if you're intersted.

    In Conclusion, the CPU performs as expected, and Power consumption (and thus heat disipation) wise, lives up to its TDP rating.. It's definatly at the pointier end of the 65w TDP bracket, but with good airflow ran fine under load in the selected ITX case..

    This might inspire people to consider an ITX setup once more. As mentioned at the begining there is also the Tri-core varient (705e) to consider.

    As I mentioned though i'll be revisiting the MINIX platform and will share findings with the PICO-PSU..

    Thanks for reading
  2. gregpolk

    gregpolk Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Wonder if you can unlock the tricore without causing too much of an increase in the power consumption. I suppose though that the sort of motherboard you'd be using with it wouldn't really support ACC anyway so I suppose it doesn't matter.
  3. phreeky82

    phreeky82 Member

    Dec 10, 2002
    I don't want to go OT too much, but thanks heaps for the quick mention of the ITX stuff. I really badly want to go ITX but the m/b options just don't do it for me (a pair of full size DDR2 slots and a PCIEx16 slot would be perfect).

    As for the 905e I wonder whether AMD will bring out any slightly lower-clocked and lower-power alternative quads. I think something in the 45w TDP range mated with a good ITX m/b would find its way onto my desk in a flash.

    Thanks for the review :thumbup:
  4. OP

    mAJORD Member

    Jun 4, 2002
    Griffin , Brisbane
    Phreeky.. yes, It would be nice for JW to release an updated version with at least 8x pcie 2.0 (8x is fine for any single GPU around at the moment, even high end) the SO-DIMM's don't bother me personally, there's 800 modules out there which is enough.. 1066 modules are going to call for more voltage, which = more heat.

    There are 45w Propus Quads (no L3 cache) on an 'unofficial' roadmap for later this year IIRC..
  5. AMD-G

    AMD-G Member

    Nov 17, 2008
    Yes, there should be Athlon II low power quads coming, most likely 45W.
  6. General_Cartman

    General_Cartman Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    The Confedaracah!
    I'm looking at buying one of these for the HTPC, so I'm wondering where you got this from.
  7. phreeky82

    phreeky82 Member

    Dec 10, 2002
    Yeah I don't have an issue with the SODIMMs in themselves, just that I have a fair bit of spare DDR2 DIMMs lying around.

    I'd be gambling a little on the PCIEx4 for my dual dvi port video card (I'm not a gamer though, so maybe it'd be ok? Assuming it even decides to work at all), and if it wasn't for having to buy RAM to test it too I'd probably just accept the gamble and give it a go.
  8. Phido

    Phido Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Dark City
    Disapointing the power usage.

    I was hoping for atleast lower idle power.

    The 400e and 600e are 2.3Ghz 3 and 4 core 45w cpus.
    Wanna hear about those.

    And how much power is used undervolted..
  9. styluspilot

    styluspilot Member

    May 16, 2002
    Did you have a chance to have a crack with the 150watt PICO-PSU?

    I would love to see the power draw.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2009
  10. yanman

    yanman Member

    Jun 4, 2002
    Thanks for the pics - was interested in this case for my new HTPC
  11. shane41

    shane41 Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    dice que no sabe
    Nice review mAJORD, very interesting read.
    You went to a lot of effort. Hmm a while ago though.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  12. sanousie

    sanousie Member

    Apr 12, 2003
    How do you think these would go under a vapochill?

    My phenomII c2 really stresses the vapochill and these 65 watts look perfect for ocing.

    Do you think 4.4ghz is achievable with these sort of chips, cause with c3 965's people are getting 4.4ghz at 1.55 volts under vapochills.
  13. Archy

    Archy New Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Glenhaven, Sydney
    Guys, this is really old. I'm not sure if there's necro rules here, but it's no doubt outdated, somewhat.

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