My AMD X3 720 upgrade and X4 940 comparision


Oct 31, 2008
Sup guys.
I read the artical on this website on the AMD AM3 Phenom II 720 to unlock the fourth core, so I bought one.
I was unable to unlock the fourth core on a Asus M3N-HT Deluxe, but easily overclocked it to give almost equal results!

I've been wanting to retire my old AMD 3700+ for over a year now. I was planning on buying a AMD 9600 Agena, but the reviews scared me. I never really like the AMD X3 tri-cores, because who wants a retarded chip? Why would you be proud to own a CPU with with one major flaw.... A MISSING FAWKING CORE??!! Isn't that like taking ugly MUTANT Chic to prom?! The AMD X4 945 BE is really what I was waiting for, but hasn't come out yet.

The 3700+ is great at overclocking. For over two years it ran stable 2.6ghz, then at 2.8ghz (not higher) on a DFI LanParty NF4 deluxe with 1 gig of Mushkin DDR400 ram. The problem was It didn't like adding another gig at all. I finally found SPD tool and it allowed me to cut and paste the SPD timings of my Mushkin DDR400 to my other 2x512's of Kingston. This slowed down the timings, and it was slightly slower in 3dMark2005 & 2006. Framerates in game 1, and game2, though the CPU score was behind the dual cores and quads. My Enermax Liberty 620w PSU finally fryed, and took out the mother board. But it finally gave me the opportunity feed my craving to upgrade.

So thursday the March 5th, I got my tax return and went to Fry's after reading NewEgg everynight for weeks dreaming up my next build. I bought at Fry's because I live within a mile, and easy to return stuff, and BRING IT HOME THE SAME DAY! Fry's had an ad for Phenom II 940 with Asus M3N-HT Deluxe for $349. I went to pick it up and they said, nope, typo. The tryed to switch me for a 920 (locked). They were sold out of Intel i7 920's. I bought a unlocked 720 X3 instead after reading you can overclock it, and enable the fourth core. I wanted to try it, and see if I could make a $144 3.8ghz quad core.

I would recommend the ASUS M2N-HT Motherboard. Tho it doesn't have a ACC option needed for turning into a quad. It is simple for beginners to overclock, has a few different ways to adjust. Nowhere near as complex as the Crosshair, Rampage or Lanparty's BIOS's. Plus, it comes with lots of nice extras, and is well thought out.

So it said "unknown processor" when you boot it for the first time. You have to flash the BIOS. They come with an old 1201 BIOS, and now its up to 1901. I downloaded the newest BIOS onto a USB stick from my laptop before I got started.

After a few hours making the cables bundled, and putting the fans back in my Lian-Li V1200 mid tower, I gave it a try. Its took 5 black screen dry heaves before it fired up unto the BIOS. I read the ASUS website, and this is normal until it gets flashed. Within the BIOS is ezFlash tool. Flashing was easy, until it stopped and re-booted mid flash. I had to return it to Fry's after it refused to post. Once I exchanged it for the new MB, I spent a few more hours getting it nested, RAID 0 set up for the Raptors, and windows XP installed and updated.


After reading everything on the AMD Phenom II 940, I decided to get the X3 720. It has faster bus and hyperthreading by 200mhz, same cache, and produced the same framerate in-game as the quad core. At only 95w, it heats up less, staying under 44'c during 3dMark06. Oh, that was overclocked too. I found a stable overclock was 19x Multi, and volts to 1.525, and memory set to SLI "OCmax" auto settings. Not much tuning to do to get that, easy for a beginner. At 3.6ghz is slightly more solid.

How an AMD Phenom II feels at 3.8ghz :
It feels like how you expect a new PC to feel like after you dump a few hundred quid into it. Windows loaded up in what felt like 1/2 hour. That seems fast compared to last install. Going from a 2.8ghz AMD SanDiego single core to this didn't feel as much of a boost around Windows as I was hoping. Not as noticable as the jump from 386 to pentium fast. You CAN feel it's 400% faster in Cinebench with scores jumping to 8500. During the CPU test on 3dMark06 scores improving from 1100 to 4640, even without the fourth core.

My score went from: [u/]

Crysis Warhead, Farcry2 and all lesser games on Very High settings, 1600x1200, playable around 30fps.

I am able to run more detail, more physics, and higher settings with this in-game, and still a playable 40fps. All other lesser games or anything over 1 year old gets dominated: over 100fps in BF2142, Combat Arms, BF2, any Rainbow6 game..ect... Thsoe old games don't even require a CPU upgrade.

Here is a fair face to face deathmatch between the AMD X3 720 and AMD X4 940 in Futuremark 3dMark06

Both OC'd to 3.8ghz, both with 9800GTX's
- (NOTE, the 940 has a 9800GTX OC'ed to 825mhz, vs the 720's video card stock at 725mhz)

-I was unable to unlock the fourth core in the Asus BIOS.
-I would like the 25% oomph the AMD 940 offers.
+But, this plays my games 20+fps faster than the 3700+ single core, smoother, and while installing 4 other games, all my messengers on, Limewire, and with FireFox AND IE open!
+ It runs games the same FPS (frames per second) as the AMD 940, but $80 less.

For any serious gamer, I would recommend the Intel i7. I am a lifelong AMD enthusiast, but the i7 is the way to go now if you have the cash. $300 i7 + $300 MB +$150 DDR3. But for $144usd, this gets you the powerhouse High-rez fast framerate your want, 45nm stays cool, and leaves you with enough money to buy more games and a better video card. Oh, and it probably uses the same RAM and powersupply you already own. It will probably work in your old AM2 motherboard! Or if you REALLY want to buy DDR3, it will run it also. AMD X3 720, gets a thumbs up. At $144us/ 100euros how can you resist upgrading now if you still have an old single core?

What do you guys think of the Phenom II X3 720?

Seattle WA USA


Oct 23, 2008

Asus M3N-HT is a 780i NB chip. The 790X/GX/FX from certain mobo makers will unlock, e.g.- Biostar TA790GX 128M. I heard Asus would not, because they customize their BIOS too much.

I unlocked mine and it's running OCed at 3.399GHz. It didn't OC well, but that's the beats the snot out of the 9950 @ 2.9GHz.

I like mine. Gonna keep it around and keep using it until fall, and decide whether I do a new build or just transplant parts to make new machines.

Nice post btw.


Feb 4, 2009
I hope I'm not hijacking your thread, but I find myself wondering about the "real" gains with the 940 over the 720. I was lucky enough to get the 720 with an unlockable 4th core (running stable at 3.4GHZ - ALL 4 cores). I recently bought the X4 940 at a steal ($145 US). After about 3 days of using the 940, completely stock (cooler, heatsink, & clock), my 940 is running warmer than my 720 OCed to 3.4GHZ.

The 940 is idle-ing at around 35-38 degrees :eek: . I know that isn't "hot," but it's definately warmer than where I'd like it to be, especially before OCing.

I have not benchmarked either processor because benchmarks really don't affect or reflect my typical computer usage. I lightly game, browse the net, watch movies, listen to music, & a little graphic design - nothing too intense.

After using both I honestly can not find a difference in performance ... any thoughts?