AMD Sempron: A Fresh Take on Budget Computingby Derek Wilson on July 28, 2004 12:01 AM EST
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Two Flavors are Better than One: Socket AFirst in line today is the socket A Sempron based on the K7 architecture.
Socket A Sempron 2800+
If the familiar rectangular shape of the core looks a little too familiar, that's probably for very good reason. The K7 Sempron is actually a 166MHz FSB 256KB Thoroughbred-B core.
Upon first learning this, we were a little worried that we would see overlapping parts where new Semprons would actually be old Athlon XPs. Fortunately, this is not the case.
The slowest Athlon XP 166MHz FSB Thoroughbred-B was the 2600+ with a 12.5 multiplier (2.083GHz core clock). The highest K7 Sempron clock speed is 2GHz with a 12 multiplier.
What this does mean is that higher model numbered Semprons will be slower than "equivalent" Athlon XP processors. This does make a little bit of sense in that Sempron denotes a budget processor, which will be slower than the mainstream line. This is the same type of thing that we see when looking at a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 versus a 2.8GHz Celeron. They have the same "speed", but different performance.
In our opinion, this is a problem with marketing by clock speed, and we are disappointed to see AMD recreating a problem with artificial model numbers. So now, we have 4 different 2800+ CPUs (AXP Barton, AXP Tbred, Sempron Tbred, A64 Newcastle) and really no reason why this situation should have to exist. Hopefully, future model numbering plans will be better able to handle situations such as this.