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 AMD Sempron for Socket AM2 

[CPU] AMD Sempron for Socket AM2 (English Version)

As every new platform is released, the focus is always put on its most efficient part - the top-end processors and chipsets, normally in combination with "extreme" memory modules and powerful 3D accelerators. But will the average user have enough means to buy such a "monster" PC? Most likely not. Also, such a high performance with its increased power consumption is not always needed. When assembling a "workhorse" PC or a multimedia center, which are most frequently assembled and high-end components are not a must, they normally choose something inexpensive, reliable and offering sufficient performance. So today we are talking just about a platform like that.

AMD Sempron AM2

Migrating its CPUs to the new AM2 sockets with its new memory controller able running with DDR2 memory, AMD has not ignored the budget processors. Sempron CPUs have officially acquired a dual-channel memory controller which is able running with the faster DDR2-400/533/667 memory. It's just these processors which soon should come as a replacement for "budget" platforms: the official Socket 754 and unofficial Socket 939.

Let's represent what inherits what as tables:

Sempron Socket AM2

 
CPU clock speed, GHz
HT speed, MHz
L2, K
Process technology
Dual-channel memory controller
64bit
NX-bit
Cool'n'Quiet
Sempron 3600+
2,0
800
256
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3500+
2,0
800
128
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3400+
1,8
800
256
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3200+
1,8
800
128
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3000+
1,6
800
256
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
None
Sempron 2800+
1,6
800
128
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
None

Sempron Socket 939

 
CPU clock speed, GHz
HT speed, MHz
L2, K
Process technology
Dual-channel memory controller
64bit
NX-bit
Cool'n'Quiet
Sempron 3400+
2,0
1000
128
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3200+
1,8
1000
256
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3000+
1,8
1000
128
90 nm, SOI
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Sempron Socket 754

 
CPU clock speed, GHz
HT speed, MHz
L2, K
Process technology
Dual-channel memory controller
64bit
NX-bit
Cool'n'Quiet
Sempron 3400+
2,0
800
256
90 nm, SOI
None
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3300+
2,0
800
128
90 nm, SOI
None
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3100+
1,8
800
256
90 nm/130 nm, SOI
None
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 3000+
1,8
800
128
90 nm, SOI
None
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sempron 2800+
1,6
800
256
90 nm, SOI
None
Yes
Yes
None
Sempron 2600+
1,6
800
128
90 nm, SOI
None
Yes
Yes
None
Sempron 2500+
1,4
800
256
90 nm, SOI
None
Yes
Yes
None

It is easy to note that Socket AM2 CPUs have acquired higher PR ratings with the same clock speed limit. Perhaps these ratings were calculated on the assumption that the faster DDR2 memory will affect the performance positively. But prior to finding out if that is the way in practice, let's look at the exterior of the new CPUs, starting with the package.

Sempron in package

The CPU is shipped in a cardboard package of customary green color. On the side, there is a window through which the buyer can view the CPU and its marking.

Package bundle

Inside the package, we found the following: the CPU, the renewed cooler (with a fastener for AM2), a user's manual, and a logo sticker.

Socket 939 and Socket AM2 - top view
AMD Sempron Socket 939 and Socket AM2: top view

Externally, the renewed processor makes little difference from CPUs of the previous generation. The difference can be seen from only the marking which now looks as SDA3000IAA3CN. The marking can be read as follows: SDA Sempron for workstations, 3000 the CPU rating, I type of the packaging: 940-pin OPGA (Socket AM2), A varying supply voltage of the core (probably 1.25-1.35 V), A the variable maximum admissible temperature, 3 the L2 cache size 256 K, CN the Manila core. A more precise data can be displayed with utilities.

Socket 939 and Socket AM2: bottom view
AMD Sempron Socket 939 and Socket AM2: bottom view

The Socket AM2 processor viewed from the bottom is easy to distinguish if we closely examine the positioning of pins. Have you found a redundant pin? On the photo, it is in the bottom-left corner of the right-hand processor.

Here is the complete info summary of the processor being tested produced with the CPU-Z utility.

CPU-Z Sempron AM2

For comparison, we also bring in the info on AMD Sempron for Socket 939.

CPU-Z Sempron 939

Before we run the tests, a few words on the overclocking. Overclocking on the test bench was not in success, because the motherboard did not allow changing the multiplier of the HyperTransport bus. The result proved rather modest merely 1745 MHz.

Overclocking to 1745 MHz

But on the motherboard ASUS M2N-E the result proved better the stability limit 2080 MHz with a nominal cooler. It is interesting to note that raising voltage on the core has not resulted in anything we failed to improve the overclocking, and the CPU was heating up to 63 instead of 56 under standard supply voltage.

Overclocking to 2080 MHz

First, we thought it was the motherboard to blame for, but now it is the test sample because the CPU should offer higher overclocking capability and heat up less.

Tests

We ran the tests in several stages. Since the processor is aimed at value systems, the motherboards that we used were chosen those offering onboard video - let's see what acceleration of the memory subsystem and video memory will give. Now move on to the external video.

Test configuration:

Motherboards
ASUS A8N-VM CSM on nForce 430 + GeForce 6150
ASUS M2NPV-VX on nForce 430 + GeForce 6150
Memory
2 DDR-400 512 MB Hynix PC3200
2x DDR2-667 512 MB Hynix PC5300
HDD
Samsung HD080HJ (80 GB, 7200 rpm, 8 MB, SATA-300)
Power supply unit
SuperPower 480X, 480 W
Operating system
Microsoft Windows XP SP2
Drivers
NVIDIA ForceWare 91.31 WHQL

intvideo Sandra 2007

intvideo CrystalMark

intvideo PCMark05

As can be seen from the first synthetic tests, the faster RAM and increased size of the L2 cache don't make up for the reduced clock speed. Now move on to the practical application of computing capabilities - the faster, the better.

intvideo Archiving

intvideo audio encoding

intvideo - video encoding

Again we can see a lack of the CPU clock speed - it is evident that overclocking starts improving the situation. Moving on to gaming synthetics and games.

intvideo 3DMark 2001 and 2003

intvideo 3DMark05

intvideo Far Cry

intvideo Half-Life 2: Lost Coast

intvideo Doom 3

intvideo Serious Sam 2

There aren't any serious changes - the loss is in some ways greater, somewhere it is less, but it is anyway a loss. AMD's rating system glitches reduction of the clock speed can hardly be made up for without architectural changes. Anyway, since the new processors were compared first by ratings versus the single-channel Sempron for Socket 754 which are a bit slower than for Socket 939, we can somehow justify the rating system.

Let's see how the result will change if we disable the integrated video and enable external video we install Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128 MB GDDR3.

GF6600GT Sandra 2007

GF6600GT CrystalMark

GF6600GT PCMark05

At first glance, replacement of the video has not brought any changes, but the system on the base of Sempron AM2 ran more confidently in video tests.

GF6600GT - video encoding

GF6600GT SPECViewperf 9

Accelerated operating of graphic applications due to the use of faster RAM is seen already in SPECViewperf 9.0 suite, but we need a powerful video card.

GF6600GT 3DMark05

GF6600GT 3DMark06

Futuremark's 3DMark suites also demonstrate accelerated handling of graphics, but they try to create a minimum load on the CPU, unlike that in popular games.

GF6600GT Far Cry

GF6600GT Serious Sam 2

Once the load on the CPU starts going up, the results quickly tend to those previously produced.

But before we make final conclusions, let's investigate one more aspect the need of Sempron AM2 processors for the RAM bandwidth. To this end, using the BIOS settings we turned DDR2-667 into DDR2-533 and DDR2-400, with the latency timings set as per SPD.

CPU-Z Sempron AM2 DDR2-400
DDR2-400

CPU-Z Sempron AM2 DDR2-533
DDR2-533

CPU-Z Sempron AM2 DDR2-667
DDR2-667

PCMark05

Archiving

audio encoding

3DMark05

Far Cry

Serious Sam 2

The most noticeable performance leap occurred due to transition from DDR2-400 to DDR2-533. The former is already rarely available in the retail, and the latter is not much cheaper than DDR2-667. It turns out that if you are into saving without much loss, the most optimum will be use of DDR2-533 modules.

Final Words

Having summed up all the test results, we note that we expected more from Sempron CPUs for Socket AM2 but the miracle hasn't worked and we got a bit less than that. AMD has overdone with ratings honestly, to produce a true comparable result, 100 units of the rating for each model should have been deducted. Anyway, there is no reason to worry especially if you are short for funds - there is no drop in performance, the CPUs will allow for a comfortable work and even play if a good video card is installed. At the same time, prices for Sempron AM2 are traditionally affordable, faster and cheaper RAM is used, and a system assembled on the base of Socket AM2 is open for future upgrades.

http://www.digital-daily.com/
22/08/2006


: 12.09.2006
: 1119