Athlon 64 X2 5000+: A Cheap FX or Overpriced 4800+?

Although the FX-62 conclusion was pretty straight forward, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ gives us another ambiguous candidate to evaluate. Clocked at 2.6GHz, the 5000+ gives you a nice clock speed advantage over previous X2s. However, with only a 512KB L2 cache there may be situations where the clock speed advantage over the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ is diminished.

3D Rendering - Cinebench 9.5

3D Rendering Performance - Cinebench 9.5

We've already seen that many of our 3D rendering and media encoding tests are cache-size independent when running on Athlon 64 X2/FX processors, thus it's no surprise that the X2 5000+ is able to offer identical performance to the FX-60 despite having half the L2 cache per core. The clock speed advantage over the X2 4800+ is also significant enough to offer a pretty decent performance advantage; in fact, in this light, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ looks pretty impressive.

3D Rendering - 3dsmax 7

3dsmax 7 - SPECapc Benchmark

The story under 3dsmax 7 is pretty similar to what we saw under Cinebench; there is a slight performance penalty compared to the FX-60 thanks to a smaller L2 cache, but overall the performance of the X2 5000+ is quite respectable. As we saw in our FX-62 investigation from the previous page, the Extreme Edition 965 is very tough to beat in this test thanks to its high clock speed, very fast FSB and dual core + Hyper Threading combination.

Video Encoding - DivX 6.1.1 Pro

DivX 6.1.1 Pro with Xmpeg 5.0.3

Once again, there's no performance difference between the X2 5000+ and the FX-60, bringing the 5000+ very close in performance to the FX-62 at a significantly lower cost. Thanks to the clock speed advantage, the 5000+ is also clearly faster than the X2 4800+.

Video Encoding - Windows Media Encoder 9

Windows Media Encoder 9 - Advanced Profile

Windows Media Encoder 9 also has the X2 5000+ and FX-60 performing identically, and obviously outperforming the X2 4800+.

Video Encoding - Quicktime 7.0.4 (H.264)

H.264 Encoding with Quicktime Pro 7.0.3

The video encoding trend continues with our Quicktime H.264 test, the 5000+ is second only to the FX-62.

MP3 Encoding - iTunes

MP3 Encoding with iTunes

Our iTunes MP3 encoding test produces identical results to what we've already seen in previous benchmarks, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ isn't really hampered by its 512KB L2 cache thus far.

Gaming - Quake 4

Quake 4

The tables do turn as we look at gaming performance however; not only does the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ lose to the FX-60, but it also loses to the lower clocked Athlon 64 X2 4800+. While the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ is wonderful in our application tests, it looks like there may be a very different verdict for gamers.

Gaming - F.E.A.R.


Under F.E.A.R. the FX-60 is faster than the X2 5000+ once again, but this time the best the X2 4800+ can manage is to tie the performance of the 5000+. Given the $51 price premium for the 5000+, we'd want something that was at least faster than the 4800+.

Gaming - Oblivion


Finally in Oblivion we see that the X2 4800+ is ever so slightly faster than the 5000+, once again thanks to its larger L2 cache (despite a lower core clock speed).

The Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Conclusion

Once again we see the problem with AMD's model number system, where in some cases the 5000+ is no different than a FX-60 and in others it is only as fast if not slower than the cheaper X2 4800+. Our recommendation here would be to only opt for the 5000+ if you aren't a gamer, as it seems that 3D games are far more likely to appreciate a larger L2 cache than a higher clock speed with these chips.

A New FX The Odd Multiplier Issue


View All Comments

  • peternelson - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    Well, I don't think it's a QUAD CORE K8 (aka "Deerhound") because that is not due until late 2007.

    And dualcore K8L is not until 1H/2007.

    We need to choose something happening THIS year.
  • mino - Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - link

    Actually AMD can made Quad-core CPU's even on 90nm if they need to. The core will be huge, yields poor but IMHO 2.2G Quad at 90nm is possible within 125W TDP.

    Also AFAIK AMD has delayed 65nm at least for a quarter intentionally since what they need now is capacity on 90nm. They could not afford any (even short-term) production reduction at this moment. Provided in 3Q/06 FAB 36 is up and running at 10k starts the could afford to dedicate some of them for some high-end opterons and FX's.
  • Furen - Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - link">

    Look at that and tell me how you can possibly fit twice that (90nm dual-core) in one package. Dual-core CPUs are huge to begin with, doubling the number of cores would probably require a pretty big drop in L2 sizes (think 256KB per core...). AMD still is production limited and designing a quad-core chip without going to 65nm would pretty much doom it to being a VERY low-volume part. Heck, Intel's Conroe is huge as well, it's just on a smaller process (the 160sq. mm die size would correspond to something like 300+sq. mm on the 90nm process).
  • jones377 - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    It's called Socket F Reply
  • Griswold - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    I dont think so. Socket F isnt really a "secret" nor a stopgap solution. Reply
  • peternelson - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    I think we hear more about socket F in June and it launches July.

    But that's not what this is alluding to.

    There was an announcement of a roadmap change from Q1/2007 to DECEMBER 2006.

    If I remember right it was two AM2 processors on 65 nanometre process.
  • jones377 - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    Perhaps not, but it's coming out at around that timeframe. Anything else and we would have gotten wind of it long ago. Reply
  • mlittl3 - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    A couple of things before I give my guess about the stopgap solution...

    1) K8L as state above WILL HAVE microarchitectural improvements. This has been all over the internet.

    2) AMD's processor pricing page states that the X2 5000+ and FX-62 will be available for both 939 and AM2. I don't know if they messed up but if not, it looks like 939 users can upgrade yet again.

    Okay, here's my guess for the stopgap solution...drum roll...L3 cache. I think AMD will release a 2.8 revised FX-62 with L3 cache or an ahead of schedule 3.0 GHz FX-64 with L3 cache. Just my guess.
  • AllYourBaseAreBelong2Us - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link

    The stopgap solution is the 65nm process that will allow AMD to ramp up the speed a bit more and get better TDP ratings.
  • Griswold - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - link


    Okay, here's my guess for the stopgap solution...drum roll...L3 cache. I think AMD will release a 2.8 revised FX-62 with L3 cache or an ahead of schedule 3.0 GHz FX-64 with L3 cache. Just my guess.

    Sounds conceiveable indeed. Though, the latter option would probably blow TDP out of proportion on 90nm.

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