The Test

We will be comparing four new processor speeds against the numbers we have already collected over the past few months. Two speed grades will be Athlon 64 (512kB L2 cache parts), and the other two will be FX parts (1MB L2 cache parts). One of the FX parts isn't actually being launched yet, but will be the future FX-55 part. Very fortunately, the FX processors are completely multiplier unlocked, so all I had to do to test FX-55 speeds was to crank up the voltage and multiplier on our FX-53 to 1.55V and 26. Worked like a charm, aside from the issues I experienced across the board.

 Performance Test Configuration
Processor(s):

AMD Athlon XP 3000+
AMD Athlon 64 3000+
AMD Athlon 64 3200+
AMD Athlon 64 3400+
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (S939)
AMD Athlon 64 3800+ (S939)
AMD Athlon 64 FX53 (S939)
AMD Athlon 64 FX55 (S939)*
AMD Athlon 64 FX51
AMD Athlon 64 FX53
Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz EE
Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz EE
Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz
Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz
Intel Pentium 4 3.2EGHz

RAM: 2 x 512Mb OCZ 3500 Platinum Ltd
2 x 512Mb OCZ 3200 EL ECC Registered 2:3:3
2 x 512Mb Mushkin ECC Registered High Performance 2:3:2
Hard Drives Seagate 120GB 7200 RPM (8MB Buffer)
Video AGP & IDE Bus Master Drivers VIA Hyperion 4.51 (12/02/03)
Intel Chipset Drivers
Video Card(s): Sapphire ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 128MB (AGP 8X)
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 4.1
Operating System(s): Windows XP Professional SP1
Motherboards: Intel D875PBZ (Intel 875P Chipset)
FIC K8-800T (VIA K8T800 Chipset)
ASUS SK8V (VIA K8T800 Chipset)
MSI MS-6702E (VIA K8T800 Pro Chipset)

* the FX-55 part has not yet been released, but is on AMD's roadmaps.

In setting up the memory on our 939 pin MSI board, we made sure to disable 2T timing in favor of 1T, as memory bandwidth is greatly increased by doing so (and thus performance is impacted to a significant degree). Memory timings on the two unbuffered memory platforms were 2:2:2:6 using the OCZ RAM.

Testing these processors was a very difficult task, as I had a large number of stability issues. Winstone was run so many times just to get through the benchmark. We covered all the bases we knew how to cover, using a PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 510, a ThermalTake Venus 12 and 2 120mm case fans (on an open system) to make sure we had stable voltage supplies and adequate cooling. Nothing really seemed to make a difference until we noticed that the 3500+ and FX-55 benchmarks were "easier" to run. This seemed to indicate that the motherboard wasn't supplying enough voltage to the CPU, as the increased voltage added stability to the FX-55 and the 3500+ was just an underclock. This theory wasn't explored completely, as Computex beckons. To be fair, our own Wesley Fink tested a system that was completely and utterly stable from underclocks to overclocks and everything in between using the exact same versions of components across the board. The conclusion we have come to is that we had a "motherboard issue", though we wish we could be more specific. The important thing is that we got all the benchmarks done, and based on Wesley's experience and the time between now and availability, we don't expect there to be any of these kinds of issues. Of course, we'll definitely keep abreast of the situation.

The Chips SYSmark 2004
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  • gherald - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Search for 939 on newegg.com folks, you will be pleasantly surprised! Now if we could just find a motherboard...

    I had been hopping this launch would bring the 754 prices down a bit to, say, $220 for a 3200 and $350 for a 3400, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen quite yet what with 939 starting out at $500 for the 3500 and $700 for the 3800... *sigh* ... more waiting... perhaps prices will come down by the time true PCIe motherboards are availeable.
    Reply
  • amdfanboy - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Go AMD !! Reply
  • nserra - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    "Everything here is graphics card limited even at 1024x768, but perhaps in the near future when we upgrade the video card we use in CPU and motherboard tests..." i have said this at xbit site and I say it here again!
    What about lowering games resolution and details it may help! There is a detail level in almost every game, it may help. You are testing a processor not the video card! I don't want benches in a processor review that limit the differences between processors.
    fx53 35 fps vs xp3000+ 34fps, what a difference!
    Reply
  • JGF - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    #22 while I certainly agree these new prices are too high I dont agree with the wholesale gutting of prices that you're recommending. AMD deserves some decent margins, they shouldnt have to give their product away all the time. Thats unhealthy business and has really hurt amd in the past. I want a healthy amd and for that they are going to need some fatter margins on some sku's. Reply
  • RyanVM - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Found a typo on page 13: "Winstones hare usually very static..." should be "Winstones are usually very static..." Reply
  • XRaider - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    What the heat issues with these newer AMD cpu's? I believe I read on that French site that the new AMD's are putting out alot of thermal wattage! 100+ Can anyone confirm this? I believe the P4 3.4 puts out around 102 - 104 watts! That's alot. Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    I found a couple of typos if anyone would care to correct them:

    p.13

    Workstation performance is more sensitive to memory bandwidth, and we do see a wider range in variation among the --3.2GHz-- (THAT WOULD BE 2,2GHz) processors in SPECviewperf.

    The pattern was the generally the same fastest to slowest of 939-949-754 (THAT WOULD BE 939-940-754)

    p.14

    Since we have found the performance of the Dual-Channel Socket 940 and the Single-Channel 754 to be close when hey (THEY)ran...

    Anyway these new S939s suck a$$. Well actually their prices do. Here's what I suggest: retire Athlon XP socket A, introduce it as Socket 754 but only higher models, price 20% up, bring S754 down 33% and S939 down 50%, retire FXs. These prices now are insane.

    AMD are you listening? Of course not.
    Reply
  • Viditor - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    "i'll be getting a Dual Channel for sure when the arrive. Pair that with a nice new X800 XT from ATI and i'll be sitting pretty with the flexibility of upgrading for awhile"

    Horses for courses I guess...I'll be getting one too, but I think I'm going nvidia because they appear to have a better handle on 64bit drivers...
    JMHO
    Reply
  • vedin - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Sure would be nice if they released something more along the lines of a 3000-3300+ for 939 this year. Maybe then my brother can finally be nice and justified with an upgrade without having to spend a lot. Reply
  • Icewind - Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - link

    Hmmm, well i'll be getting a Dual Channel for sure when the arrive. Pair that with a nice new X800 XT from ATI and i'll be sitting pretty with the flexibility of upgrading for awhile.

    Thanks again AMD, im anxious to get out of this P4 setup I have now.
    Reply

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