Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Review Print E-mail

Athlon II 250PCWizKid has been testing for a long time now each generation of AMD CPU's and their climbs to greater performance and clock speeds.  Today we are fortunate to review what AMD claims is the fastest default clocked Dual Core CPU with the Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition.  Last year we saw a tremendous surge in mainstream Phenom II CPU's from AMD with also the release of lower power consumption Athlon II CPU's.  The Phenom II X2 555 BE is actually a newer faster revision of the Phenom II X2 550.  It is also a 45nm, 80Watt CPU but comes clocked at a default 3.2 Ghz which is truly fast!  As usual this CPU uses the AM3 socket and is backwards compatible with AM2+ motherboards (check your motherboard manufacturer for a BIOS upgrade and compatibility) and is thus flexible to be used with either DDR2 or DDR3 memory depending on the motherboard you end up using.  Similar to the previous review of the AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE which we did last year we will attempt going beyond the traditional benchmarks that only use default clock settings, but we will unlock all 4 cores and overclock the CPU with minimal increase in the CPU voltage. The Phenom II X2 555 BE is using a revision C3 silicon, which has hardware C1E and promises to give greater overclocking results.

Along with the launch of the Phenom II X2 555 BE, AMD has additional updates on its dual, triple and quad-core processors while dropping prices of others. This is what AMD has released:

Processor Clock Speed L2 Cache L3 Cache TDP
AMD Phenom II X4 910e 2.6GHz 2MB 6MB 65W
AMD Phenom II X2 555 BE 3.2GHz 1MB 6MB 80W
AMD Athlon II X4 635 2.9GHz 2MB 0MB 95W
AMD Athlon II X3 440 3.0GHz 1.5MB 0MB 95W
AMD Athlon II X2 255 3.1GHz 2MB 0MB 65W

Video Review

In the video review I demonstrate how I also unlocked ALL 4 cores!!!

Video Notes:


PCWizKid's test system is what AMD calls a "Dragon Platform" with the following components:

- Jetway HA08 AM3 socket ATX motherboard
- Tuniq TX-3 Thermal Grease (Recommended over the default stock included material)
- 4GB Patriot G-Series DDR3 1333 (at 8-8-8-24 and 1.7volts)
- Sapphire ATI Radeon HD4870 1GB Toxic Edition (810Mhz Core / 1055Mhz Memory) with Catalyst drivers v9.12
- Seagate 7200.12 SATA HDD 500GB
- In Win Commander 1200 Watt Power Supply
- Lian Li PC-7FW Mid Tower Case
- GlacialTech Igloo CPU Cooler
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
- Ambient room temperature 20C or 68F

- All tests are performed at 1280x1024 resolution for consistency in results and comparisons with other system tests.

  • Game settings for benchmarks are always maxed out at either Very High or Enthusiast levels when available.
  • 3dmark06, 3dVantage, SiSandra 2009, Everest,CPU-Z and many other of the latest PC Game titles, tools and utilities were

Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Specifications

Model Number & Core Frequency
X2 555 Black Edition = 3.2GHz  (Revision C3)
L1 Cache Sizes

64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (256KB total L1 per processor)

L2 Cache Sizes
512KB of L2 data cache per core (1MB total L2 per processor)
L3 Cache Size
6MB (shared)
Total Cache (L2+L3)
Memory Controller Type
Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller
Memory Controller Speed
Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Types of Memory Supported

Unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333MHz)

HyperTransport 3.0 Specification
One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
Total Processor-to-System Bandwidth

Up to 37.3GB/s total bandwidth [Up to 21.3 GB/s memory bandwidth (DDR3-1333) + 16.0GB/s (HT3)]

Up to 33.1GB/s total bandwidth [Up to 17.1 GB/s memory bandwidth (DDR2-1066) + 16.0GB/s (HT3)]

Socket AM3 938-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA)
Fab location
Process Technology
45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
Approximate Die Size
258 mm2
Approximate Transistor count
~ 758 million
Max Temp
70o Celsius
Nominal Voltage
80 Watts

ConclusionsPCWizKid Recommends AMD

Using the 3.2GHz Phenom II X2 555 BE at default clock speeds felt like its previous 550 model, with one small difference, the overclocking potential is indeed greater. The Phenom II X2 555 at launch is priced at $99 US whereas an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 costs about $165 US which makes the AMD as always an attractive alternative.  PCWizKid was pleased to have been able to unlock all 4 cores of the Phenom II X2 555 which transformed the CPU to a Phenom II X4 (Deneb) CPU and overclocked it also to 3.6Ghz which beat a Phenom II X4 955 in all benchmarks for $65 less!  The default clock speed temperatures as seen in the video review are well below the limits.  When overclocked and with a good CPU Cooler for a quad core CPU there is potential to reach the 3.8 easily.  Again the overall benefits of owning a black edition CPU from AMD prove that its a wise buy for a gaming system which can be turned into a enthusiast system if your lucky to get all the 2 additional cores unlocked.   Wheather you unlock or not the CPU Cores the Phenom II X2 555 BE today is a low cost choice for performance on a dual core CPU.  PCWizKid gives the Phenom II X2 555 BE recommended award, specially for enthusiats looking to unleash its full potential for the price point of $99 with no doubt an attractive alternative.
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