AMD Athlon II X3 440 / 3 GHz
After spending the last several years assembling new build PC's I would like to share my experience with
AMD Athlon processors, there are several processors available on the market today and like all technology there will always be something bigger and better than the previous model released.
In the case we are referring to the Athlon II X3 which is designed for the AM3 suited mainboard, there are obviously quite a few variables to take in to consideration when designing and building a new build PC and simply these statements are answered according to the requirements of the end user. I would really recommend using the X3-3Ghz chip firstly for the cost been fairly low in comparison to some CPU's of similar spec this would cost as little as £65.00 - £70.00 when purchased online.
The X3 is a triple core processor with a core speed of 3000 mhz (3.0ghz) it also has a 1.5 mb data cache and operates at 95Watts, I have always preferred using AMD processors in comparison to the likes of Intel, the only reason for this is that out of all the systems I've built, I've only ever had one AMD system properly crash whilst multi-tasking with several demanding programs, and the ratio must be at least 10 times higher with the likes of an Intel chip!
The X3 is by no means a slow processor however should be recognised as a high performance budget chip, it is perfect for common use i.e office's, personal computing, web & graphics etc providing you have a decent graphics card to go with it. I have used this chip on several builds using the Gigabyte SKT-AM3+ 990XA-UD3 Motherboard which is available from Amazon for just short of £87.00, and the two operate together perfectly, with a minimum of 1-2GB ram, the X3 chip and the Gigabyte mainboard you would have a rather impressive yet cheaply built pc which is just about capable for anything other than the top spec games which then again you may wish to focus on spending more in the graphics section rather than the CPU.
This processor is in the middle of AMDs budget Athlon II range for the AM3 socket (although it is compatible with AM2+ motherboards as well). As it's in the middle of the budget range, you'd be forgiven for thinking this is a very basic processor, mainly because it is. It does however pack quite a lot of punch into a very competivly priced package. The main performance difference between the Athlon and Phenom II families is the L3 cache and generally a lower clock speed. That difference is not as huge an amount as their pricing structures would suggest though.
The L3 cache that this lacks is simply a set of onboard memory which improves teh data time as the processor can run quickly on memory close-by rather than the RAM. It isn't a factor in all applications and the performance penalty is not terrible. They also run at a lower clock speed than most Phenom IIs which are now running up to 3.6GHz. That said the newest Athlons are up to 3.4GHz so the point is mostly moot for the families in general. With this particular model, the 3GHz is more than capable of seeing you through most applications and even many games provided the rest of your system is up to scratch, but don't expect a championship winner, but a dependable workhorse who will see you through most things.
This isn't the model for an enthusiast or gamer, for that I'd recommend a 4-core athlon or a phenom, but this would suit the other 80-90% of the market who need their computer for all their basic needs, even multi-tasking to some extent. It's also worthwhile to point out that while this is a 3-core (or triple-core as often marketed) it does contain a 4th core on the die. It is however locked either because the core is unstable or faulty, or because AMD required more X3 variants for supply needs. With many motherboards, it is possible to unlock this 4th core, but it is in no-way a sure fire way of getting a quad-core on the cheap. It could however be a welcome boost to some. In my case the unlock was unstable and led to instant shut down, but there is always a chance to get lucky.
The final point I would make for anyone considering this or any processor is the cooling. The heatsink and fan sold as part of this package is not brilliant in general but is okay to use with this processor, but if you are conscious about noise you'll want to invest in a cheap £10-20 aftermarket cooling solution to keep the temperature down and the fan speed lower for a quieter system as at full tilt this fan can generate a substantial amount of noise.