As AMD rolls out its newest Sempron processor line, many readers are asking us if the reduced cache Socket 754 Sempron 3100+ really compares with already shipping Athlon 64 single channel solutions. Today we take two single channel, 1.8GHz processors with differing L2 cache and compare them in the same Linux benchmarks we have used in the past. The Athlon 64 2800+ and the Sempron 3100+ are nearly identical processors, except for the 256KB cache difference. There is also a $20 delta between the two retail products, so today we decide if the $20 difference between the two processors is worth the sacrafice of level two cache and 64-bit addressing. We have provided benchmarks of another 1.8GHz 32-bit processor from AMD, as well as the Athlon 64 3000+ for reference only.

Update: This article got pushed live prematurely. If you read it before 12PM EST on the 18th, you read an incomplete, unfinished article.

Performance Test Configuration

AMD Athlon 64 2800+ (130nm, 1.8GHz, 512KB L2 Cache)
AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (130nm, 2.0GHz, 512KB L2 Cache)
AMD Sempron 3100+ (130nm, 1.8GHz, 256KB L2 Cache)
AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (130nm, 1.8GHz, 256KB L2 Cache, 266FSB)

RAM: 2 x 512MB PC-3200 CL2 (400MHz)
Memory Timings: Default
Motherboard: Chaintech ZNF-250 (nForce3, Socket 754)
DFI NFII Infinity (nForce2, Socket 462)
Operating System(s): SuSE 9.1 Professional (32 bit)
Linux 2.6.4-52-default
Compiler: linux:~ # gcc -v Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i586-suse-linux/3.3.3/specs Configured with: ../configure --enable-threads=posix --prefix=/usr --with-local-prefix=/usr/local --infodir=/usr/share/info --mandir=/usr/share/man --enable-languages=c,c++,f77,objc,java,ada --disable-checking --libdir=/usr/lib --enable-libgcj --with-gxx-include-dir=/usr/include/g++ --with-slibdir=/lib --with-system-zlib --enable-shared --enable-__cxa_atexit i586-suse-linux Thread model: posix gcc version 3.3.3 (SuSE Linux)
Libraries: linux:~ # /lib/ GNU C Library stable release version 2.3.3 (20040405), by Roland McGrath et al. Copyright (C) 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Configured for i686-suse-linux. Compiled by GNU CC version 3.3.3 (SuSE Linux). Compiled on a Linux 2.6.4 system on 2004-04-05. Available extensions: GNU libio by Per Bothner crypt add-on version 2.1 by Michael Glad and others linuxthreads-0.10 by Xavier Leroy GNU Libidn by Simon Josefsson NoVersion patch for broken glibc 2.0 binaries BIND-8.2.3-T5B libthread_db work sponsored by Alpha Processor Inc NIS(YP)/NIS+ NSS modules 0.19 by Thorsten Kukuk Thread-local storage support included. Report bugs using the `glibcbug' script to .

Even though we are using 1GB of memory in a dual channel configuration, the Socket 754 platform will only perform in single channel mode. Fortunately for AMD, since the memory controller is directly on the processor we do not see large latencies going from dual channel to single channel mode. Only the Athlon 64 2800+ can run 64-bit binaries, so for the sake of experiment we will only look at 32-bit binaries today. We have looked at 32-bit versus 64-bit performance in the past, and we will revisit it again in a few weeks, so today we will just focus on 32-bit performance.

Also keep in mind the GCC 3.3.3 included with SuSE 9.1 Pro has many back ported options from the official 3.4.1 tree. Our results with GCC 3.3.3 are much more optimized than the standard GCC 3.3.3.

Database Benchmarks


View All Comments

  • AnonymouseUser - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    Yes, more everyday apps for benches, please. I wanna know which of the CPUs will be fastest to compromise Windows XP on a fresh install, how fast XP can install IE toolbars and Comet Cursor, how many IE and Messenger popups can be done in one minute, how long it takes to run a full system virus and spyware scan, etc. Also, I need to know which one boots fastest for all the reboots necessary. :)

    FWIW, I think the XP 2200+ is a good choice for comparison. Same clock speed and cache of the Sempron 3100+ shows how much better the new core is.
  • phaxmohdem - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    I would love to see an old school 1.8 GHz P4 400 FSB pitted against these processors. Not quite fair I know, but I like seeing how incredibly crappy those old p4s were. Clock for clock comparisons interest me though, good article, however as sems to be the general concensus, mre everyday apps would be helpfull for benchmarks. Reply
  • Illissius - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    It's not a bad review, but I don't entirely get the point (or rather, entirely don't). Using Linux makes good sense when you're benching either 64-bit and/or server processors, but this was neither. Most people who're actually deciding between an A64 2800+ and a Sempron 3100+ would've been much more interested in your standard benchmark suite of desktop applications and games. Reply
  • TauCeti - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    First: kudos for the new comparison. I would imagine myself still cursing (and worse) the unfair readers after the recent onslaught ;)

    Second: TSCP/SSE2

    Ok, i admit that i ditched compiler lectures at university BUT: Did GCC really generate SSE2-code for the TSCP sources?

    You wrote that you ommitted the XP scores because of SSE2. Did you check if SSE2 code was generated on the AMD64s?

    I checked TSCP source but i have no idea where the compiler would opt to use SSE2 at all.

    PLease give me a hint (this is not ironic, i really want to know how the compiler managed to use SSE2 for TSCP)

  • johnsonx - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    In general, I found all the graphs to be oddly arranged. Since the point of the article was to compare the Sempron 3100+ to the A64 2800+, it would have been a little clearly if those two had always been graphed together. As it stands now, the 3100+ was always at the top of the multi-bar graphs, followed by the 3000+, then the 2800+ and finally the AXP. I kept having to jump over the 3000+ scores to see the benefit (or lack thereof) of the 512k cache. In general, I think the order of the graphs should be the same throughout the article, and any chip(s) that are the particular highlight of the article should be group together somehow.

    Secondly, I'd like to second the suggestion that an AthlonXP 2500+ would have made an interesting point of comparison as well, though I do realize the 1.8Ghz Socket-754 were in fact the point of the article.


  • DerwenArtos12 - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    I really wish you had included the Athlon XP 2500+ barton as a reference cpu as it runs at 1.83ghz on the socket A platform and has a 333fsb wich is easir to bomapre to the 400fsb A64 and 400fsb Sempron 3100+. plus that woudl give an idea of how the cache per platform makes a difference as it has the 512k l2 cache to compare to the 256 L2 on the 2200+ plus the core revisions of going to barton give a better idea of current competitors. teh 2200+ is in a completely different price range than the other three processors here where the 2500+ would also closer there. Just my opinion. but I think it would have added a much better current market perfomance comparison. Reply
  • skiboysteve - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    on your Gzip bench the graph is ordered odd Reply
  • skiboysteve - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    wierd Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - link

    Something happened to the document engine and the article posted while I was still working on it. That has been fixed.


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