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AMD Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition

by on11 May 2009


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Review: Good performance for €62

It's been quite a while since we reviewed the AMD Athlon X2 7750. Last week AMD released a 100MHz speed bump, the Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition, and apart of the speed jump, the rest of the specification is the same as Athlon X2 7750.

So, it's still a Phenom with two cores disabled, but not disconnected. Both of them are still based on 65nm K10 core, codenamed Kuma, while in Q3 there should be a new dual core based on 45nm process that might fix AMD's dual core odds. The CPU features 2x 64kB instruction and data 1st level cache, 2x 512kB 2nd level cache and additional 2MB shared 3rd level cache. The disappointing news is the TDP of 95W. AMD is positioning this CPU against the E5300, with a TDP of 65W and as you can see, TDP difference is quite substantial.


MSI DKA790GX (provided by MSI)
AMD 790GX/SB750

AMD Athlon X2 3800+ EE
AMD Athlon X2 4850e (provided by AMD)
AMD Athlon X2 7750 (provided by AMD)
AMD Athlon X2 7750 (provided by AMD)
Intel E7200 (provided by K&M Elektronik)

Scythe Kabuto (provided by Scythe-Europe)

Kingston 2GB Kit PC2-9600U KHX1200D2K2/2G (provided by Kingston)
CL5-5-5-15 CR2T at 1.90V

Graphics Card:
MSI R4850-2D1G-OC (provided by MSI)

Power supply:
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500W (provided by PC Power & Cooling)

Hard disk:
Western Digital WD4000KD (provided by Ditech)

Case fans:
SilenX iXtrema Pro 14dB(A) (provided by
Scythe DFS122512LS

Cooler Master Stacker 831 Lite (provided by Cooler Master)

Since we are still not fans of Vista, all tests are performed with XP SP3. As 64-bit software is still not very common, we stick with the 32-bit version.

The new Phenom's clock is set 2.80GHz which is the highest of any K10, 65nm based CPU so far. We noticed the VCore is 1.3250V, which is quite high compared to other CPUs. You can always lower the VCores, that will shave off some bucks on your power bill and we'll save a square inch of Brazilian rainforest while we're at it.


Overclocking in the BIOS is a piece of cake, because this is a multiplier-free Black Edition CPU. Just increase the multiplier and you are good to go. While the 7750 run with 1.3500V at 3.30GHz, this CPU needed 1.4250V for the same speed. It also did not go higher compared to the Athlon X2 7750.


Our benchmarks are quite self-explanatory. Beside the usual benchmarks we included the Far Cry 2 Bench, which should show only the benefit of a faster CPU. Sorry, we could not organize any E5 CPU but an E7200 should be adequate enough. Any E5 is significantly slower because of the crippled cache.



3DMark 2003 run at 1600x1200, 3DMark 2006 used defaults. As you can see, more CPU muscle doesn't really help. AMD has positioned the triple-cores against Intel's dual-core offerings, and as you can see in FarCry2 the third core does help to keep Intel in check, even when this game is clearly not optimized for AMD.



The most disappointing is the 95W TDP rating, which is the same TDP as most of the Phenom / Phenom II X4. Because the quad-core has only disabled cores but the cores are still running, the power-consumption goes quite high and can't match Intel's CPUs. You see this best at the CineBench R10 power-consumption efficiency.



CPU prices went down dramatically over the past few months. While some months ago, the 7750 could be purchased for €75,- now it sells under €55,-. AMD's new dual core 65nm Black edition offering is priced at under €62,- which is really cheap for such a CPU. Positioned against Intel's E5 series, this CPU is clearly superior due to it's much larger cache. When optimized for AMD the CPU can also beat the E7 series. This might be the last Athlon X2 65nm to come, as the CPU reaches its limits and we eagerly await the Phenom 200 45nm dual core series.

Everyone considering building a nice gaming machine has now the optimal duo to do so. Couple this CPU with an HD 4770 and you can easily build a rig with decent performance for under €400. 

So for the low budget customer we can recommend the AMD 7x50 series despite its high power-consumption We simply like the price / performance ratio.


Last modified on 11 May 2009
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