Introduction

The competition in the processor market has been fierce ever since the first Athlon processors were released in the fall of 1999. In the time since then, AMD and Intel have each led and followed at different times. We have seen each company develop its strong points and grow. This release marks the next evolution for AMD in an area in which they have been very solid since even before the Athlon's release: budget computing.

Today, AMD is introducing a processor to span the market between their long running Socket A platform and the first Athlon 64 platform, the Socket 754. AMD has quite a lot of experience with these two product lines, and it has been very cost-effective for them to reuse pre-existing technology in a new form at a much lower price point than current generation technology. And based heartily in that philosophy, we present the AMD Sempron line of budget processors.



AMD's Sempron logo


The Sempron processors, as we mentioned in this AnandTech Insider article last month, is AMD's "ron" placement to the Duron processor. The name is derived from the Latin word, Semper (meaning "always"), and the tech suffix -ron (which apparently means "budget processor"). Sempron should fall at a lower performance point than equivalent rated parts from other AMD processor lines. As this processor spans two platforms, it makes sense to compare the new Sempron to both the Athlon XP line of processors and current Athlon 64 processors. And as Sempron is a budget processor, it makes sense to compare it to Intel's budget line of processors.

While we've seen multiple architectures with similar names, to some extent, in the past, consumers will have to know this time around that their Semprons from 2800+ and down work with socket A platforms, and 3100+ and up work with socket 754 or even 939 in the future. Obviously, the pertinent information will be somewhere on the box or product description, but it would be nice if AMD could make this more clear through the name of the product.

We do understand the usefulness in having a single name under which to sell, but we're not quite convinced that the benefits outweigh possible consumer confusion in an already complex marketplace.

In the following pages, we will take a look at our standard budget CPU performance tests. As these processors are designed for budget markets, special attention will be paid to price/performance throughout the article. But first, let's take a look at the silicon behind the name.

UPDATE: The pricing info we recieved was altered at launch. AMD decided to raise their prices by over 17% on the low end (the 2400+ is up to $61 from $52), and between 5% and 6% on the high end (both the 2800+ and 3200+ prices are up $6). These small dollar ammount pricing changes make a large difference on budget processors and impact price/performance analysis quite a bit. Had we recieved pricing information on par with AMD's current numbers, we wouldn't have been quite so enthusiastic about Sempron's price/performance advanatge over Celeron D. At this point, the only price advantage Sempron has over Celeron is the higher availability of cheaper motherboards.

On a positive note, AMD has confirmed our suspicion that the NX bit and Cool'n'Quiet features of Athlon 64 will be available in K8 versions of the Sempron (3100+ and higher). The only A64 feature disabled in Sempron is x86-64.
Two Flavors are Better than One: Socket A
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  • abrogard - Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - link


    I think there's something should sweep through the internet: Clearly labelling the country of origin of your site! It's not clear which country we are in, often, and therefore what money we're talking.
    Followed by clearly dating the page.
    abrogard@yahoo.com
    :)
    Reply
  • cleanjew - Friday, January 14, 2005 - link

    Hi, can someone tell me if it would be a good idea to buy a computer running an amd sepron 3000+, i would be using it to run mid range games, and i would like to use internet and productivity software at a fast speed. Do you also think it would be faster than a celeron and comparable to a p4?

    Thanks

    If you want you could email me at jewish-mexican@charter.net
    Reply
  • trexpesto - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    I just got a Shuttle AN35N and retail TBred 2700+ for ~119 incl. shipping and tax, on sale at outpost. Reply
  • Sparrow - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    But in the test he say's that the extra 83 MHz make the difference !!!
    Jens
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    I am guessing Anandtech was using the Barton based 2600+, you know the one with 1.92GHZ/333FSB. Reply
  • Sparrow - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    ???? If a Sempron 2800+ is a Thoroughbred (166*12) and the xp 2600+ is a Thoroughbred (166*12.5) why can the Sempron be faster in some test's ? an error or are there some changes in memory speed ????? !!!!!!
    Jens
    Reply
  • MAME - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    awesome AMD, just awesome

    this chip is very nice
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    Hey Trogdor, notice I can post here now too:)

    Anyway, just to sum up I would like to see these processor as well.

    Athlon XP-M Barton @ 2.3,2.4,2.5 using 200x11.5, 200x12, 200x12.5

    Celeron Northwood-128
    2.4,2.5,2.6,2.7,2.8

    Celeron Prescott-256
    2.4,2.53,2.66,2.8

    Duron Applebred
    1.4,1.8

    Pentium 4 Northwood, Prescott
    2.8 with FSB800
    Reply
  • Zebo - Thursday, July 29, 2004 - link

    oh LOL:) Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Thursday, July 29, 2004 - link

    Woah, KF... that was a whole lot of stuff to post, quite a bit of it rather unrelated. You must have even more free time than me! ;)

    Zebo, you apparently missed the point completely: "The overlapping Athlon FX, Athlon 64, and now Sempron names is going to really cause confusion among the *less-informed* public." The less-informed public doesn't include anyone reading hardware sites or OC forums. Yeah, Sempron is the value system meant to compete with Celeron, but both AMD and Intel are happy to sell lots of slower, "crippled" chips to the uninformed buyers. The 2.8 GHz Celeron chips were absolutely terrible performers - about as fast as a P4 1.8 or 2.0 - but Intel was more than happy to dupe people into purchasing those with their high clockspeed. The Celeron D is better, but the tactic remains the same. AMD is now joining them, calling lesser processors "3100+" and "2800+" and leaving it to the salespeople.

    You don't think there are going to be plenty of salespeople pushing these systems with claims like "the Sempron 2800+ is basically just as fast as a 2.8 GHz chip, and the only difference between it and the Athlon 64 2800+ is the lack of 64-bit support, which really isn't needed anyway"? In sales, it's a lot more important to get a sale than to get a big sale. They'll shoot for the big sales if possible, but when someone wants a cheap system, they'll talk up the Sempron (and/or Celeron) as though it's just as good as a more expensive Athlon64/Pentium4.

    That's what I meant when I said it's creating confusion, and that the confusion is likely to be an intended consequence. Car manufacturers do the same thing: you don't want an informed purchaser coming in to buy a car! You want the salesman to have the advantage, so that they can get the buyer into *any* Ford, Chevy, Honda, etc. and keep them from going to a different store.

    Most PC shos (and car dealerships) make a set amount of money off of a sale, because the hard drives, case, monitor, RAM, etc. all have markups. So if someone buys a computer, the shop makes at least $100. $100 on a $500 computer is a good return. If they buy a $1000 computer, they might make $150 to $200. Granted, on the "luxury" computer systems that cost over $2000, they'll make a killing, but those are hardly ever sold.
    Reply

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