Head to Head: Athlon 64 X2 3800+ vs. Pentium D 830


Is the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ worthy of its Pentium D opponent?  Not to spoil the surprise, but yes, emphatically yes.

Not only are there significant advantages in single threaded games, but everything from encoding to the multitasking tests put the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ ahead of its Pentium D counterpart. 


Note: The iTunes scores are Encoding Times in Minutes, lower numbers are better.

Although they aren't pictured here (for space reasons), you'll see in the coming pages that there is only one benchmark where Intel ends up ahead.  The Roxio VideoWave test in PCWorld's WorldBench 5 suite completes 6 seconds quicker on the Pentium D 830 than on the Athlon 64 X2 3800+.  That is one loss out of 31 total benchmarks for the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (once again, not all pictured here, but you'll see them on the coming pages). 

The victory is clear and without debate, at the $300 - $400 price point, the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ is the dual core processor to get. 
AMD’s Efficiency Advantage? Business/General Use Performance
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  • masher - Wednesday, August 03, 2005 - link

    > " believe he meant to post this review showing the X2 3800 matching or besting the XE840 in all but a handful of tests:"

    Let's see...the 840 wins 3DMark, half the Cinebench, Lame Encoding, DivX encoding, MPA encoding, SiSoft FP, Sisoft Multimedia, and Sphinx.

    The 3800 wins the 3D shooters, PoVRay, ScienceMark, picColor, and half the Cinebench.

    The Intel results are "all but a handful"?
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    I was surprised that no attempt was made (or posted in the review) to overclock the X2 3800+, given that most people reading it here would want to know what headroom it had.

    Fortunately most other good sites did overclock it and post their results, and the general consensus is 2.4-2.5GHz was as much as they could do with air-cooling at reasonable voltages. Looks like the X2 3800+ really is all the speed-binned rejects, at least from the samples AMD sent out to review sites.
    Reply
  • Houdani - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    quote:

    As for overclocking, we had no problems reaching 2.46GHz with our Athlon 64 3800+ sample using standard air cooling. The overclocking wasn't as impressive as what we saw with the Toledo based Athlon 64 4200+, but we will save a final conclusion on overclocking until we get more Manchester based processors in house.

    Well, Anand did to a tiny bit of overclocking, he just didn't do any benches with the overclock. The above snip was taken from the final page of the article.

    [L]http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...[/L]
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    Apologies to Anand, I was skimming through the article rather than reading it in full, and missed that. Seems like 2.4-2.5GHz is all the current batch of X2 3800+ can do, which is less than impressive. Ordered a X2 4400+ today as a result. Reply
  • Hacp - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    They had a DDR2 533 1gb kit for 80 bucks at monarch I think. But I think the DDR2 667FSB chips are more expensive... Reply
  • Joepublic2 - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    "Except that by the time you get a new motherboard that supports that cheaper Intel chip and the pricier DDR2 memory, any price advantage Intel had is already gone. And the AMD system still outperforms the Intel one 15% in for the 830D and 20% in the 820D. So choose wisely..."

    "From what I can see, Intel 955 chipset motherboards are around $180 - $220, which is a lot more expensive than a decent Socket 939 motherboard. SO overall thge system cost is much cheaper than the Intel 830, and very close to the 820."

    You guys obviously haven't checked prices lately. At newegg, you can get a nice ASUS 945 board for $130, which while being more expensive than an EPOX 939 at $85, is much lower than "$180-220". Also, 2GB of DDR is $177.98, and 2GB of DDR2 is $186.00. But I agree, it's worth the extra $50 over the Pentium D 820 platform.
    Reply
  • krisia - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    Hmmm, zipzoomfly has a 945 mobo for $110 and 1GB DDR2 ram for $92.
    Looks reasonable to me...

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Pr...">http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Pr...

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Pr...">http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Pr...
    Reply
  • Hacp - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    IMO Anand's article was the fairest. He compared the Intel 830 to the AMD 3800. Some sites compared the 820 to the 3800+ and it obviously was not fair to Intel to do that.

    Also, if you want an entry level processor and want multitasking, you should go with an HT enabled Intel. At 240 dollars, you should be able to buy a 3.2 GHZ Intel processor with HT enabled, which will perform WAY better at single threaded tasks and perform well in some multithreaded applications. Thats what ENTRY is. You sacrafice future performance for performance right now.

    Finally, Anand, I would have liked to see the 3800+ compared to the 3.2 GHZ Intel Dual core processors. Why? Because AMD's PR numbers for single threaded applications indicate that the 3800+(2.0 GHZ with 512 Cache AKA the 3200+) should be comparable with the 3.2 GHZ processor. You shouldn't soely compare the processors on price, but also the PR system :). A 3.0 and 3.2 Intel Dual core comparision with the 3800+ X2 would have been a nice......
    Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    that chip looks awesome! how come they don't have that benchmark called um,

    Comparison over number of Threads


    or something, where they run some sort of bench over 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, threads. I always thought that was an interesting one to see how effective each processor handled multiple threads.
    Reply
  • Samus - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    There is no reason at this point to go with an Intel based system for general productivity (business, graphics, compression, a/v editing, 3D modeling, CAD) AND gaming (where AMD had always excelled)

    I couldn't agree with Anand more. Where you loose single threaded/task performance (from clockspeed) you more than make up for it in multi threaded/task performance. The overclocking potential is also fairly good, 2.46GHz is nothing to sneeze at when your talking about a 2.0GHz budget chip for 350 bucks.

    Also, comparing 512KB dual cores to 1MB dual core's at the same clock speed, there is little performance difference because since the cores communicate directly via L2, not via HT (or bus like Intel) your theoretical performance-based L2 is 1MB and 2MB respectively. AMD's memory controller is so efficient to begin with that the difference between 1MB and 2MB L2 cache is very little.

    The cache's are also independent (like they always have been, ie L1 and L2 being non-consecutive) so they don't hold the same information.

    Boy, they've come a long way.
    Reply

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