Select any two CPUs for comparison
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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Athlon II X3 460 Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz
Halo: Reach 57% 2%
Cyberpunk 2077 223% 101%
Red Dead Redemption 2 281% 136%
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot 188% 79%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 182% 75%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 314% 157%
Doom Eternal 213% 94%
Grand Theft Auto VI 417% 221%
FIFA 20 172% 69%
Need For Speed Heat 222% 100%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz is massively better than the AMD Athlon II X3 460 when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.

The Athlon II X3 was released over a year more recently than the Core 2 Quad, and so the Athlon II X3 is likely to have better levels of support, and will be more optimized for running the latest games.

The Core 2 Quad has 1 more core than the Athlon II X3. With 4 cores, the Core 2 Quad is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.

The Athlon II X3 and Core 2 Quad are not from the same family of CPUs, so their clock speeds are by no means directly comparable. Bear in mind, then, that while the Athlon II X3 has a 0.74 GHz faster frequency, this is not always an indicator that it will be superior in performance, despite frequency being crucial when trying to avoid GPU bottlenecking. In this case, however, the difference is probably a good indicator that the Core 2 Quad is superior.

Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.

The Core 2 Quad has a 4608 KB bigger L2 cache than the Athlon II X3, but neither of the CPUs have L3 caches, so the Core 2 Quad wins out in this area with its larger L2 cache.

The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.

Both the Athlon II X3 and the Core 2 Quad have the same TDP of 95 Watts, and were created with the same manufacturing size of 45 nm, which means they will affect your yearly electricity bill about equally.

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameRanaYorkfield
MoBo SocketSocket AM2+LGA 775/ Socket T
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date03 May 201110 Aug 2008
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores3vs4
CPU Threads-vs4
Clock Speed3.4 GHzvs2.66 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs-
Max TDP95 Wvs95 W
Lithography45 nmvs45 nm
Bit Width-vs64 Bit
Max Temperature-vs71°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size384 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size1536 KBvs6144 KB
L3 Cache Size-vs-
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

Graphicsno
Base GPU Frequency-vs-
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs-
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size-vs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Battlefield 3vs
Grand Theft Auto IVvs
Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewThe Athlon II series is based on the AMD K10 architecture and derived from the Phenom II series. However, unlike its Phenom siblings, it does not contain any L3 Cache. There are two Athlon II dies: the dual-core Regor die with 1 MB L2 Cache per core and the four-core Propus with 512 KB per core. Regor is a native dual-core design with lower TDP and additional L2 to offset the removal of L3 cache. The three core Rana is derived from the Propus quad-core design, with one core disabled.Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz is a high-end Processor based on the 45nm Core micro-architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 2.66GHz and 6MB of L2 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated.

The processor DOES NOT integrate any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 95W.

It offers average performance. It will therefore become a bottleneck in today's demanding games.

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