AMD Socket-AM2: Same Performance, Faster Memory, Lower Powerby Anand Lal Shimpi on May 23, 2006 12:14 PM EST
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Athlon 64 X2 5000+: A Cheap FX or Overpriced 4800+?
Although the FX-62 conclusion was pretty straight forward, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ gives us another ambiguous candidate to evaluate. Clocked at 2.6GHz, the 5000+ gives you a nice clock speed advantage over previous X2s. However, with only a 512KB L2 cache there may be situations where the clock speed advantage over the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ is diminished.
3D Rendering - Cinebench 9.5
We've already seen that many of our 3D rendering and media encoding tests are cache-size independent when running on Athlon 64 X2/FX processors, thus it's no surprise that the X2 5000+ is able to offer identical performance to the FX-60 despite having half the L2 cache per core. The clock speed advantage over the X2 4800+ is also significant enough to offer a pretty decent performance advantage; in fact, in this light, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ looks pretty impressive.
3D Rendering - 3dsmax 7
The story under 3dsmax 7 is pretty similar to what we saw under Cinebench; there is a slight performance penalty compared to the FX-60 thanks to a smaller L2 cache, but overall the performance of the X2 5000+ is quite respectable. As we saw in our FX-62 investigation from the previous page, the Extreme Edition 965 is very tough to beat in this test thanks to its high clock speed, very fast FSB and dual core + Hyper Threading combination.
Video Encoding - DivX 6.1.1 Pro
Once again, there's no performance difference between the X2 5000+ and the FX-60, bringing the 5000+ very close in performance to the FX-62 at a significantly lower cost. Thanks to the clock speed advantage, the 5000+ is also clearly faster than the X2 4800+.
Video Encoding - Windows Media Encoder 9
Windows Media Encoder 9 also has the X2 5000+ and FX-60 performing identically, and obviously outperforming the X2 4800+.
Video Encoding - Quicktime 7.0.4 (H.264)
The video encoding trend continues with our Quicktime H.264 test, the 5000+ is second only to the FX-62.
MP3 Encoding - iTunes 188.8.131.52
Our iTunes MP3 encoding test produces identical results to what we've already seen in previous benchmarks, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ isn't really hampered by its 512KB L2 cache thus far.
Gaming - Quake 4
The tables do turn as we look at gaming performance however; not only does the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ lose to the FX-60, but it also loses to the lower clocked Athlon 64 X2 4800+. While the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ is wonderful in our application tests, it looks like there may be a very different verdict for gamers.
Gaming - F.E.A.R.
Under F.E.A.R. the FX-60 is faster than the X2 5000+ once again, but this time the best the X2 4800+ can manage is to tie the performance of the 5000+. Given the $51 price premium for the 5000+, we'd want something that was at least faster than the 4800+.
Gaming - Oblivion
Finally in Oblivion we see that the X2 4800+ is ever so slightly faster than the 5000+, once again thanks to its larger L2 cache (despite a lower core clock speed).
The Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Conclusion
Once again we see the problem with AMD's model number system, where in some cases the 5000+ is no different than a FX-60 and in others it is only as fast if not slower than the cheaper X2 4800+. Our recommendation here would be to only opt for the 5000+ if you aren't a gamer, as it seems that 3D games are far more likely to appreciate a larger L2 cache than a higher clock speed with these chips.