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AMD Phenom X3 8750
When dual-core processors hit the market a few years ago they were an absolute revelation. No longer would running one intensive application, like a video editor or virus scan, render your PC otherwise unusable, now you could merrily perform multiple tasks at once seemingly without the slightest interruption. For the vast majority of computer users, this was the single biggest advancement in usability in computers since the invention of the GUI.
Since then dual-core CPUs have become the defacto standard (you'll be hard pushed to buy a new computer that uses a single-core processor anymore) and now quad-core is the latest must-have. However, quad-core processors are still relatively expensive - the cheapest you can get is the AMD Phenom X4 9550, which costs a fairly substantial £126.89 - and some consumers, while they would quite happily have the extra cores, don't feel the cost is justified when a decent dual-core like the Intel E2200, costs as little as £52.86. So, logically, there's a gap in the market for a triple-core processor that will give the user even more headroom for multi-tasking than a dual-core yet not cost quite as much as a quad-core.
Of course, the market isn't quite as simple as that because many users still require a dual-core CPU that will perform one or two tasks as fast as possible, so you can still get very fast dual-core processors costing upwards of £200. However, this usage case is becoming rarer and rarer as more and more software is optimised to use all these slower cores together to run single applications faster and people get more used to multi-tasking on their PCs. Essentially, for the majority of users, the more cores you can afford, the better.
Thus goes the path of logic that AMD has followed and today brings us the Phenom X3 8000-series of processors and specifically the 8750 that we're reviewing today. These processors are, as the name suggests, triple-core versions of the Phenom X4s. However, all is not as it seems with these new chips.
The X3 line of processors are in fact your bog standard Phenom X4s but one of the cores has been disabled. Now it's fair to assume that AMD is only creating X3s from X4s that have come off the production line with a fault in one of the cores - rather than butchering perfectly good X4s. In which case, one also has to assume that AMD may still be having problems with its production methods. However, neither AMD nor Intel is ever willing to reveal specific figures about the yield of its production processes, so it's just as likely that Intel has as many faults in its chips but the faulty ones are just binned instead. Also, because Intel's chips are not native quad-core but rather two dual-core chips stuck together, Intel can potentially afford to ditch the whole dual-core chip if there is a fault in one of the cores. Whatever the answer, this is all rather academic and it shouldn't fundamentally affect you buying decision.
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