Product Type: AMD in Processor Upgrades
Newest Review: ... 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.... more
A Dependable Workhorse for the Budget Conscious
AMD Athlon II X3 440 / 3 GHz
Member Name: kievthegreat
AMD Athlon II X3 440 / 3 GHz
Advantages: Very competitive price for a decent processor
Disadvantages: Slower than some newer Athlons and only 3-cores
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.
Summary: Good low budget upgrade, but keep an eye on the price of other Athlons with better performance