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Athlon Socket AM2 Review 185

NerdMaster writes "Hardware Secrets has just posted an Athlon 64 X2 5000+ review, one of the first AMD CPUs to support the new socket AM2. It runs at 2.4 GHz, has two 512 KB L2 memory caches (one for each core) and supports DDR2 memories." However, many are still predicting an end to AMD's dominance in the market thanks to Intel's Conroe.
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Athlon Socket AM2 Review

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  • Hardware secrets - you suck.

    10 pages not saying very much is (irritating, but) acceptable, but when you split the print article [] into 10 pages, you've crossed line from greediness to stupidity.

    (fires up IE). Oh nice, and there's advertisments on each of the print pages too. How is that supposed to be printable?
    • by Shadows ( 121287 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:37AM (#15385880) Homepage
      Summary: Blah blah, blah, blah blah blah... and finally something interesting:

      [from page 10]
      We didn't see any performance improvement by the use of DDR2 memories instead of DDR. In fact, Athlon 64 FX-60 was faster in several situations, showing that at least for the software we used having a bigger L2 memory cache is better than having DDR2 memory instead of regular DDR.

      But, on the other hand, we have to consider the future and what is behind AMD's strategy in going to AM2 socket and DDR2 support. In our opinion, what is important isn't the release of Athlon 64 5000+, but the possibility of increasing the memory bus clock rate in the near future. For socket 939 platform this was not possible since the top DDR official standard was DDR400/PC3200. With AM2 AMD can finally go beyond that, as DDR2 official standards include at least three speed grades above that: DDR2-533, DDR2-667 and DDR2-800. That is promising.
      • Even Shorter Summary:

        AMD are in deep shit once Conroe appears in volume, as comparisons have already shown that even an overclocked FX-60 loses badly to Conroe. Oh well, it was a nice couple of years for them.
        • Are they really? Conroe has been shown to be quicker in limited tests overseen by Intel. Note that, as far as I am aware, none of the 'independent' testers so far have been responsible for setting up any of the test machines. And while I am sure Intel did not do anything untoward, can you honestly guarantee that absolutely everything is fair and equal in that test?

          Take a look at this article: []

          It's showing the new woodcrest chips to be somewhere between 5 -
      • They found no system speed difference between:

        1 GB of DDR2
        2 GB of DDR1

        If you skip over to their auto department, you'll also find that, despite expectations to the contrary, a Ferrari performs no better than a VW Beetle. Granted, they didn't have any tires on their Ferrari at the time of testing but that's not going to stop them announcing their findings now with a quiet footnote about retesting later.
    • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:17AM (#15385991) Homepage Journal t=MTA2NQ== []

      Much better than the posted story which is nothing more than an advertisement for Hardware secrets.

      When will /. editors review entries to prevent this abuse? If anything, when new hardware is released we all know multiple sites will cover the release. That means, put links to the more popular review sites into the story instead of helping one person get his ad hits.
  • Uneven Benchmark (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:29AM (#15385867)
    According to the last page of the review, they gave the Socket 939 platform 2GB of ram, and the AM2 platform 1GB.
    • even more, is it just me or did they really take a dual core processor and made singlethreaded benchmarks on it and claimed the results with a proud smile in the face ?

      if they'd run 2 quake4's at the same time on the machine, the results would be interesting, but all these benchmarks are just quite worthless from the real life point of view. it is nearly identical cpu with just 2 cores of the logic, why do you expect it to differ in any way (most of the single threaded benchmarks are head-to-head, showing o
    • by kjs3 ( 601225 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @09:28AM (#15386529)
      Apparently, saving the allowance his Mom gives him hasn't added up to the $75 or so needed for another 1GB of DDR2.
  • Upgrade? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:30AM (#15385869) Homepage Journal
    The 939 NForce 4 Ultra/SLI line is showing age so on one hand, I'm glad to see the new tech (and DDR2 support) finally.

    However, I don't know that I can convince my wife to let me spend the money on such a large overhaul again. I'm fairly happy with my AMD 64 system at the moment.

    Honestly, I just hope AMD maintains their lead long enough for people to start taking notice (like Dell using AMD in the server line).
    • Re:Upgrade? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:47AM (#15385907)
      The 939 NForce 4 Ultra/SLI line is showing age

      Does that mean it has finally reached some degree of maturity ?

      And sorry to disappoint you - since the chipset-cpu interface remains the same, the "old" chipsets can be used for AM2 processors, as long as the mainboard has an AM2- and DDR2-sockets.

    • The 939 NForce 4 Ultra/SLI line is showing age

      How so? My current setup (ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe, 3800+, 7800GTX, 1 GB DDR) has no problems running any of the most intensive games and/or apps. About the time that Vista comes out I'll probably just upgrade the processor to a 4800+ (which will be about $300 by that time), get a second 7800GTX, and slap in another 1 GB of DDR. All for about $600. And then I should be good to go for another year or two.
      • Re:Upgrade? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Enderandrew ( 866215 )
        The chipset itself is showing age, not necessarily your PC.

        Early SLI offerings leave much to be desired in efficency and design. Furthermore, the NForce 4 series was innovative in features, but since so many of these features were new, they were buggy or weren't implemented horribly well.

        We're due for a more stable NForce 5 series.
        • True. Good points. I'll especially agree with you on the buggy part. I had a LanParty board before the ASUS. It was the most unstable piece of crap I've ever owned. Tons of features and a really sexy piece of hardware, but it was just worthless.

          Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that I don't need a new system because I know that if I were to purchase one my wife would remove a very important body part.

          Oh well... at least I convinced her that we should get a Nintendo Wii. Although all I had to tell her
          • Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that I don't need a new system because I know that if I were to purchase one my wife would remove a very important body part.

            Your left mouse-clicking finger?

        • Tell me about it, using the internal NIC gives me file corruption on ftp transfers, and no I haven't found out why yet. Most of the time I connect to the net using PPPoE with no corruption, and I assume using less features of the chipset. But if I connect more normally or use a local ftp server, some download will fail almost every time.


  • 2.6 Ghz, not 2.4Ghz (Score:2, Informative)

    by adam1101 ( 805240 )
    One of the first sentences of TFA states that the 5000+ is clocked at 2.6Ghz.
  • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:36AM (#15385877) Homepage Journal
    They actually tested the 939 rigs with 2 gigs of memory, and the new rig with 1 gig of memory. They said they didn't have 2 sticks of DDR2 for the AM2 rig, but then they should have only used 1 stick in the 939 rig.

    When benchmarking, you should try to keep all test systems as comparable as possible. I really am disappointed by what I consider a glaring oversight.

    Seriously, for shame.
  • Welcome, Intel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eebra82 ( 907996 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:44AM (#15385901) Homepage
    I for one welcome Intel to the top performance game. I used to be all happy about AMD gradually taking over the market ever since their first Athlon slot CPU:s. This has also caused the pricing war significantly since AMD already knew they kicked Intel in most parts of all reviews.

    Now that Intel is back, we can finally see some heavy competition between the two. The Core Duo is a superb processor and I am eagerly awaiting my MacBook to arrive and I can't wait to see the second release of the Core Duo.

    Remember what it was like a few years ago? I used to follow the price charts of CPU:s for drops and they were a lot more frequent than they are today. So now it's easy to say that we should get the same competition all over again and I am quite sure that Hector Ruiz at AMD has a backup plan ready to be enrolled this year.

    So once again, welcome, Intel!
    • So once again, welcome, Intel!

      Intel might be the king in the performance-per-watt race, but AMD is still the king in the far more important performance-per-dollar race.

      It's a pity Apple didn't go AMD as well as Intel for their supplier of x86 chips - 'cause I always feel like I'm overpaying for an intel product :-/
      • Re:Welcome, Intel (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chrismcdirty ( 677039 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:03AM (#15385951) Homepage
        You feel like you're overpaying for Intel, but you didn't ever feel like you were overpaying for PowerPC in the past? I have a feeling that if Apple had used AMD chips, you'd still be paying the same price, but more of it would go directly into Apple's pockets.
        • You feel like you're overpaying for Intel, but you didn't ever feel like you were overpaying for PowerPC in the past? I have a feeling that if Apple had used AMD chips, you'd still be paying the same price, but more of it would go directly into Apple's pockets.

          I did feel like I was overpaying for ppc - but I guess you're right. Apple products are just overpriced.

          I guess I'll just stay happy with my very cheap AMD laptop :-)
        • You feel like you're overpaying for Intel, but you didn't ever feel like you were overpaying for PowerPC in the past?

          Speculation was that Apple paid under $50 for a G4 CPU.

          For a large OEM like Dell, I doubt there's any huge difference between Intel and AMD pricing. Apple however is pretty much only using the luxury Core Duo parts, so they are probably spending a lot more money on CPUs and saving it elsewhere by using Intel chipsets and integrated video. If component costs were really a huge concern for App
    • I somewhat agree, but Intel with no competition is no better at lowering prices. AMD needs to stay close and we'll be set for some price drops.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:50AM (#15385912)
    The folks over at also have a very detailed performance evaluation []of AM2 Athlon 64, right here []
  • by Delph1 ( 936230 ) <andreas,galistel&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:51AM (#15385914) Homepage
    What many seem to have neglected is that there is an evident problem with odd CPU multipliers. AMD has no support for "half" memory multipliers (4.5/5.5/6.5/etc), which means that you will actually not be able to run memories at their full potential when using processors with odd multipliers (7/9/11/etc): velse=481 []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:07AM (#15385963)
    My 1.66GHz Athlon XP 2000+ does the job well and is still very often limited by memory (1GB) and harddisk bottlenecks. That's a 3 year old system, and CPU+Board cost only $140 back then. Am I really expected to pay that price several times over to replace a reliably working system and get less than a 2x performance increase?
    • i love my k7 xp2000+ :D very speedy.
      it also crunches dnetc faster than a single 2.8 GHz XEON IBM server i have at work.
    • My 1.66GHz Athlon XP 2000+ does the job well and is still very often limited by memory (1GB) and harddisk bottlenecks. That's a 3 year old system, and CPU+Board cost only $140 back then. Am I really expected to pay that price several times over to replace a reliably working system and get less than a 2x performance increase?

      Where do you get 2x performance? Are you just looking at the clock speed? I ask because my A643000+ is a good clip faster than my AXP3200, both at the same clock speed.
    • As much as car anologies fall flat on their buttux, I think this one is reasonable:

      If you want to go 100MPH you can buy a Civic for $15K.
      If you want to go 200MPH you can buy a Zonda for $300K.
      If you want to go 250MPH you can buy a Bugatti for $1 Million.

      Sometimes I think computers are spoiling people. Small improvments can be very expensive.

      For what it's worth though, you don't have to upgrade and you aren't expected to upgrade every time AMD makes a 20% bump in speed. New motherboards are for pe
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:22AM (#15386010)
    Small selection:
    - HardOCP []
    - X-Bit Labs []
    - HotHardware []

    up to date list here []
  • by mAriuZ ( 264339 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:25AM (#15386017) Homepage
    Here is another review of the new socket/ddr2 amd part
    It's great to look at fx-62 results - it looks like only that processor (or if you overclock it) can
    use the available bandwidth
            "Frankly speaking, it's the main competitor who must be bustling now. AMD is doing great anyway. At least in terms of CPU performance. Durability of the K8 core and its capacity to adapt to new market realia is admirable: having lived without major modifications through two process technologies, dual cores, and now a new memory controller, this core meticulously responds to each improvement with performance gains. We were very skeptic about future chances of the new AMD platform against the new processor core from Intel (Intel designed the new core nearly from scratch, while AMD K8 is rather old), but our tests warmed up our interest. The situation may turn out not that simple"

    AMD Catches Up in Technology and Shoots Out in Performance -64-fx-62.html/ []
  • My review (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @07:28AM (#15386025)
    This architecture is a pretty big disappointment.

    Sure, Socket 939 was amazing when it came out. Nine hundred and thirty-nine pins -- quite an amazing figure.

    But I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was less than thrilled at the release of Socket 940. I mean, just one more lousy pin? That's only a tenth of a percent improvement on Socket 939! One wonders what AMD was thinking.

    And now here we are, with this farce of an architecture. Yes, Socket AM2 has only 940 pins as well! All that AMD has done in all this time is to shift the pins around on the CPU, much as the occupants of the Titanic spent their time rearranging their deck chairs -- even while that one guy kept on yelling "Iceberg ahead!"

    Of course, AMD has tried to hide their laziness with the snazzy marketing name AM2. And yeah, I have got to admit that the name sounds pretty damn good. But in the end, isn't the socket itself more important than a mere name?
  • Introducing a new socket (AM2) and not supporting the existing ones (939) after such a short period doesn't show much competence. I used to upgrade the CPU of any of my computer at least once during the life cycle of 4-6 years but that won't be possible with my 939 mainboard. That means at least one less CPU sell for AMD.

    O. Wyss
    • Seeing as how both Intel and AMD have changed sockets at least once every 4-6 years, I'd say that your statement is a lie.
      • Before the 939 board I had 2 socket A boards, both had a 900MHz CPU now one has a 2GHz the other a 2.4GHz CPU. Then I had a socket 7 board which I upgraded a K7-II to a K7-III+ (450MHz). I don't remember the early Pentium CPUI's I had upgraded before.

        O. Wyss

    • Yeah, I can see where spending an extra 60$ to double or triple your PC speed is just unreasonable.

      Where's the sarcasm tag button?
      • by GiMP ( 10923 )
        Don't forget the new memory. Usually they tend to change the memory when they change to socket as well, and the dual-memory boards are usually from PC Chips or other quality manufacturers, like ECS. Right now, my basement is full of EDO, SDRAM, DDR, DDR2, etc. Some ECC, some not, some motherboards don't work with ECC, some don't (officially) work without ECC. I have some older and more exotic memory as well.

        Am I complaining? Not much, I understand it is necessary to improve the architecture. Nn the o
    • by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @09:55AM (#15386676) Homepage
      The existing socket 939 dual core cpu designs will probably
      be available for a while yet. So you will be able to
      upgrade. Consider that you can't use DDR2 memory in DDR sockets,
      so you would STILL need a new MB even if AMD kept the same
      socket for the new cpu.
    • I've always upgraded those three things together. If not at best your getting a 30% improvement in processing speed.

      Even if amd used socket a for a long time they migrated from pc100-133 ram to pc 2100-2700 (drr 266 & 333) and bus speeds changed. That required new motherboards. It's quite pointless to upgrade your machine to a new cpu if your bus speed and memory speed remains unchanged in almost all cases. The speed difference is so minor.
  • Better Reviews (Score:3, Informative)

    by Google85 ( 797021 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @09:06AM (#15386377)
    There is better and more balanced reviews here [] and here []
  • Is Pacifica included with this? Can we finally run unmodified Windows under Xen?
  • Ah... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Christopher Rogers ( 873720 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @09:29AM (#15386541)
    ...Memories of DDR2...
  • Our results, however, aren't final, since we had 1 GB DDR2 memory installed but 2 GB DDR on socket 939 platform. We will redo all the benchmarks as soon as we get two 1 GB DDR2 memory modules and publish here the results.

    Why didn't they just test with 1GB of ram accross the board? That would have make it seem fairer than 2GB and 1GB systems.

    My two cents is that wait for the AM2 socket to progress further and don't jump on the band wagon just because its there. I am a computer enthusiast and love to have

  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:16AM (#15387200) Homepage
    AMD has beaten Intel's offerings for, what, three years now, and STILL they can't get a break. Apple won't use them. Dell just this month tentatively offers AMD chips for their server line.

    The chips are cheaper and are faster than Intel's. You couldn't tell from the press!

    No matter what AMD does, the next line in this type of story is "But Intel's next CPU, expected in the year 2121, is expected to outperform AMD's best. Is AMD doomed? "
    • AMD is taken very seriously by small and home builders. It will take longer for AMD to regain the trust from OEMs and even longer from corporations.

      Back in the 90s AMD was the company you went to for budget machines when reliability wasn't an issue. It takes a long time to recover your image from that.
    • Well, let's see if Intel really delivers. Intel has a long history of great promise and failure to deliver. Remember how they were going to dominate graphics? Or how about how wonderful Itanium was going to be? Remember the 1.12GHz P3? I am going to wait and see - if the Conroe really is the next champ, it will be. Intel has to prove itself - the days of Intel simply decreeing each CPU change is over. AMD has delivered what it has promised for the past 5 years. If this makes me a fanboy, well, it's because

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.