AMD Phenom II X3 710 review
Processor manufacturing is a tricky business.
Not every processor made is free from defects, and this is particularly true of complex quad-core designs. Fortunately, a single faulty core needn't be fatal. AMD simply disables it and sells the resulting triple-core chips at a reduced price. Two such processors are the Phenom II X3 710 and 720 Black Edition.
Apart from the disabled core, these chips are identical to the X4 955. They're AM3 designs and can be used in compatible AM2/AM2+ or AM3 motherboards.
The 710 runs at 2.6GHz compared with the 720's 2.8GHz, while the 720's Black Edition name indicates an unlocked multiplier, which will interest overclockers. The higher clock speed helped in our benchmarks, giving the 720 a slight advantage over the 710.
As the two processors are similar in price, we'd buy the 720. It's a worthy alternative to the X4 920 if money is a tight. If you're looking for a truly budget upgrade for an AM2/AM2+ PC, though, AMD's Athlon X2 7750 is around half the price.
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