Question of Cost
    For this test I use the Gigabyte GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H, which is a very robust micro-ATX board with 4+1 phase power, not to mention all the Ultra Durable 3 features (solid caps, 2 oz. copper, low RDS mosfets).  The board uses the above mentioned 785G chipset, which features the Radeon HD 4200 graphics portion.  It is a $95 part, but it throws essentially the kitchen sink at the user in terms of available features.

AMD Athlon II X4 620 and X4 630 Quad-core Processors Review - Redefining Budget Machines - Processors 28

Power counts.  Again, other motherboard guys kit out their G41 boards a bit more than what Intel does here.

    The Intel side uses the DG41TY desktop board, which features the G41 chipset.  This is a budget minded board at $67, and it is very basic in what it offers.  No E-SATA, no Firewire, no 7.1 channel audio, and is rather mundane in the quality of power components used around the board.

    Each solution uses either 4 GB of DDR-3 1333 or 4 GB DDR-2 1066 memory.  The AMD part uses the DDR-3, while Intel sticks with the less expensive DDR-2.
    When all products are totaled up (motherboard, memory, and processor), the Athlon II X4 620 setup comes in at $294, the Athlon II X4 630 at $317, and the Core 2 E8500 at $327.

Test Components

Athlon II X4 620 and 630
Intel Core 2 E8500
Gigabyte GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H
Intel DG41TY Desktop Motherboard
OCZ Platinum DDR-3 1600 2 x 2 GB @ timings running at DDR-3 1333 speeds
G-Skill Pi DDR-2 1066 2 x 2 GB @ timings running at DDR-2 800 speeds
Corsair TX750 Power Supply
Seagate 7200.11 1 TB Hard Drive
Lite-On DVD-R/RW Drive
Windows 7
Catalyst 9.9 Drivers
Intel Integrated Drivers Rev. 15154

AMD Athlon II X4 620 and X4 630 Quad-core Processors Review - Redefining Budget Machines - Processors 29

The Athlon II X4, sweating for all it is worth on the test bench.

    The desktop resolution is set at 1920 x 1200, which is the maximum resolution of the G41 motherboard.  The 785G officially supports up to 2560×1600, but this particular board caused graphics corruption at that resolution.  CnQ and Speedstep are enabled throughout testing to reflect what is likely to be the most common usage.
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