.09 Athlon 64: Value, Speed and Overclockingby Wesley Fink on October 14, 2004 12:05 AM EST
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In the last several weeks, AMD has quietly introduced several Athlon 64 processors in the new 90nm die-shrink. The new Socket 939 3000+, 3200+, and 3500+ are based on the new Winchester core. They are also the first Athlon 64 processors to become available at speeds below 3500+ in Socket 939. This is very important, since the biggest news is the fact that the price of entry for a Socket 939 processor is now less than $200. Of course, a successful die-shrink and lower costs are interrelated, and in this case, the model seems to be working as we would expect.
Nothing has really changed on the outside, but if you can find a 3000+ or 3200+ in Socket 939, you can be confident that it is the new 90nm version. Since 3500+ is produced in both 90nm and 130nm versions, you will need to ask if it is a 90nm part. Most resellers that have the new 90nm Athlon 64 have been prominently advertising them.
The latest version 1.24 of CPU-Z can be downloaded at www.cpuid.com. Version 1.24 correctly identifies the die-shrink (.09), the core (Winchester), and the Revision (DH8-D0). Earlier versions of CPU-Z don't recognize the new processors, so make certain that you are using Version 1.24 or later.
A late 3800+ is identified, for comparison, as a NewCastle core, .13 process, and Revision DH7-CG.
There has been a lot of speculation about how important this die-shrink is to AMD. Most of this has revolved around the higher yield and lower cost of production for the smaller chip. Since Intel has already moved to .09, analysts believed AMD needed the yields and lower cost of the .09 shrink to effectively compete with Intel on a cost basis.
There are also potential advantages to the end-user from the die-shrink. These include lower power consumption, cooler processor operation, and greater headroom for higher overclocking. It is these advantages that will interest most of you. We will take a closer look in this review at whether these advantages are realized.