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Review index:
A survey of 40 Intel and AMD processors
by Marc Prieur
Published on January 23, 2006

Based on the fact that our regular processor tests focus on innovations or high end products, we decided to write this article to give you an overall view of AMD and Intel processor performances. We compared 22 processors from the Santa Clara giant and 18 from the father of the Athlon.

AMD´s current products
Currently, AMD has 4 processor lines for desktops: the Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon 64 FX. Let´s start with the leading product, the Athlon 64. Initially launched for Socket 754 platforms in September 2003, the A64 has progressively discarded this format to almost soley focus on the Socket 939 platform. We remind you that this platform also introduced dual channel management for the A64. In addition to the socket, the differences within the same line are now only in terms of frequency and cache size, which can be 512 KB or 1024 KB.

Exclusively in the Socket 754 format for the "K8" version (Socket A derived from the previous K7 generation do still exist), the Sempron is identical to the standard Athlon 64 in terms of processing units. The main difference is actually L2 cache, which is 128 or 256 KB depending on the model. The impact of bus speed diminution is inexistent in practice. L2 cache and frequency differenciates Sempron Socket 754 processors between one another within this line, whose names are based on a performance index (like all AMD CPUs except for the FX). Be careful though, this index isn´t intended for comparison between two different product lines. A Sempron 3400+ provides lower performances than an Athlon 64 3400+. It´s important to point out that the Sempron only supports the AMD64 since last summer (AMD´s x86 64 bit extension) and that versions "restricted" to 32 bits are still found in shops.

For now there are five Athlon 64 X2 high end dual core models (see this article). Here again, the distinction between models within this line is made according to the frequency and cache. Finally, for very big budgets, AMD sells the Athlon 64 FX. These processors are clocked higher than the normal line and in addition are completely unlocked in terms of the multiplying coefficient in increases or decreases.

If we look at AMD´s overall range of products, we see a certain discontinuity in price increases with an overlapping between the lines (Athlon 64 4000+ and Athlon 64 X2 3800+).

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