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

3D Rendering Performance - 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

3dsmax 7 - SPECapc Benchmark

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

DivX 6.1.1 Pro with Xmpeg 5.0.3

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 - Advanced Profile

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)

H.264 Encoding with Quicktime Pro 7.0.3

The video encoding trend continues with our Quicktime H.264 test, the 5000+ is second only to the FX-62.

MP3 Encoding - iTunes 6.0.1.4

MP3 Encoding with iTunes 6.0.1.3

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

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.

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

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.

A New FX The Odd Multiplier Issue
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  • MacGuffin - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    From Patriot's PDC22G8000+XBLK Rev. 2 review on PCSTATS.
    Rated for DDR2-667 @ 3-3-3-9 (Maintains those timings through DDR2-940!)
    Rated for DDR2-1000 @ 4-4-4-12 (Goes Up to DDR2-1020!)
    Completely stable on the Intel platform they used. It's extremely expensive (saw it for $400+ at NewEgg). But yes, it is possible to run 2GB at these timings already. Its just extremely expensive.
    Reply
  • EdisonStarfire - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    any opinions on AMD offering a Clearspeed solution as stop-gap in the high end desktop arena ? Reply
  • Griswold - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    The bottom line is, we now know what we knew last fall, or rather (rightfully) assumed.

    quote:

    AMD does have one last trick up its sleeve before the end of the year, and you will hear about it in June. It's not K8L and it's not going to affect the majority of people, but it is an interesting stop gap solution for the high end in 2006...


    Now you made me curious. Could that be the "noise in june" which Henri Richards mentioned in a Register interview earlier this month?

    Reply
  • smn198 - Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - link

    It is called quad-core. Reply
  • temp2 - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link


    The extremetech.com article has a similar teaser at the end, but it is slightly more specific:

    "And given recent discussions with AMD, we can safely say that the company hasn't launched its last FX series CPU for the year quite yet."
    Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - link

    This provided, 3.2 or even 3.4 FX's on 65nm are on the way... Reply
  • Scrogneugneu - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    Beware the mighty Sempron FX 32 ! Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    2 options:
    1) Quad-core K8 (on 65nm)
    2) High-speed 65nm DC's(improbable)

    BTW what I understand FX-64 is on the way in a few months(july-august). Seems rev. F cores could handle 3.0, just 125W TDP may be the issue.
    Reply
  • peternelson - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link


    Well, I don't think it's a QUAD CORE K8 (aka "Deerhound") because that is not due until late 2007.

    And dualcore K8L is not until 1H/2007.

    We need to choose something happening THIS year.
    Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - link

    Actually AMD can made Quad-core CPU's even on 90nm if they need to. The core will be huge, yields poor but IMHO 2.2G Quad at 90nm is possible within 125W TDP.

    Also AFAIK AMD has delayed 65nm at least for a quarter intentionally since what they need now is capacity on 90nm. They could not afford any (even short-term) production reduction at this moment. Provided in 3Q/06 FAB 36 is up and running at 10k starts the could afford to dedicate some of them for some high-end opterons and FX's.
    Reply

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