Temperature, Overclocking and Final Words

Lower power consumption and cooler operation are both positive side effects of AMD's new 65nm process, the latter of which is exemplified by the graph below:

Core Temperature under Load

What we're looking at here is the core temperature of the 2nd core in all of the CPUs, under full load, as reported by Core Temp. While it's not necessarily useful (or accurate) to compare readings across two different motherboards, as is the case when looking at AMD vs. Intel, the comparisons between AMD chips alone are enough to showcase the reduction in temperature.

With both cores under load for 15 minutes (calculating Fast Fourier Transforms) the 65nm 5000+ manages to produce just about as much heat as the X2 3800+ EE SFF. While this won't always be the case, it gives you an idea of the reduction in temperatures you can expect from AMD's new 65nm chips.

What about overclockability? We were unfortunately not able to get that much more out of the new 65nm core as we could from mature 90nm chips. Our X2 5000+ was able to run at 2.925GHz, at 1.475V with stock air cooling. If equipped with better air cooling or something more exotic, reaching over 3GHz shouldn't be a problem, but we wouldn't expect to see anything too far over 3GHz.

Overall we're left with mixed feelings after playing with AMD's first 65nm chips. Power consumption is definitely reduced compared to its 90nm offerings; in our tests we saw an average reduction in total system power consumption of 14.6W thanks to the new Brisbane core. Along with the lower power draw comes lower temperatures, which is also good. For no additional cost, and given that it should help alleviate AMD's capacity constraints thanks to a smaller die, there's nothing to complain about on that front.

However we would like to see more, and we have a feeling that it may end up being the 2nd rev of 65nm CPUs from AMD that truly interest us. Just as we saw with AMD's 90nm cores, it wouldn't be too surprising to see lower TDP parts emerge as AMD's process matures. We do hope to see an Energy Efficient line of X2s built on AMD's 65nm process, although it may take some time for AMD's manufacturing to reach the point where it can offer significantly reduced TDP 65nm parts.

The tweaks and advancements that AMD can do to make its 65nm parts more attractive can only go so far; while they will boast lower power consumption and improve production numbers for AMD, what we really need is a long overdue update to the K8 architecture. AMD has already promised it and we're expecting big things by the middle of next year, but in the mean time at least things will be a little cooler on the green side.

Gaming Performance & Power Usage - Continued


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  • dev0lution - Friday, December 15, 2006 - link

    Now that both companies claim to offer "platforms" it'd be interesting to see an Intel 965 board vs. an ATI board being used in these benches. Not sure that the NVIDIA models were the best choice here, especially since their not apples to apples on generation and power consumption. Reply
  • poohbear - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    im quite shocked to see the gaming performance advantage @ 1600x1200!!!! is'nt the cpu removed as a performance bottle neck @ such a high resolution? its all about the gpu horsepower @ that resolution no? can't believe a cpu can show a 25fps diff @ 1600x1200?!?!? Reply
  • JumpingJack - Friday, December 15, 2006 - link


    im quite shocked to see the gaming performance advantage @ 1600x1200!!!! is'nt the cpu removed as a performance bottle neck @ such a high resolution? its all about the gpu horsepower @ that resolution no? can't believe a cpu can show a 25fps diff @ 1600x1200?!?!?

    Some more research here is in order. The G80 GPU, commonly known as the 8800 GTX or GTS on the market, has taken graphics performance to a new level. All of the reviews that used an AMD FX-60 or 62 CPU clearly showed throttling back to the CPU in many if not most cases, only at the highest possible resolutions/AA + FSAA did the scaling turn back on with an FX-60. The X6800 released the full potential of this card.

    The difference in framerate you see bettweent he 5000+ and the E6600 is that the E6600 is has pushed the bottleneck further ahead -- simply because the E6600 is a better gaming CPU.

    Tom's did a good article titled: The 8800 Needs the Fasted CPU.
    In essense, even for a single card solution, an AMD CPU is not a good match for this card.
  • Makaveli - Friday, December 15, 2006 - link

    The reason for the 25fps difference must mean the Geforce is more cpu bottlenecked on the AMD platform than the intel one.

    U gotta remember the 8800GTX is an insanely fast card, and is still bottlenecked on Conroe systems.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 15, 2006 - link

    This is why back at the Core 2 Duo launch we talked about CPU performance using games running at 1280x1024 0xAA. When a faster GPU comes out and shifts the bottleneck to the CPU (as has happened with the 8800 GTX), saying "Athlon X2 and Core 2 Duo are equal when it comes to gaming" is a complete fabrication. It's not unreasonable to think that there will be other games where that ~25% performance difference means you can enable high quality mode. Company of Heroes is another good example of a game that can chug on X2 chips at times, even with high-end GPUs. Reply
  • XMan - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    Do you think you might have gotten a higher overclock if you weren't running HTT at 1125MHz?!? Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    The chart on page one claims to have pricing info. There is none as far as I can see. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 15, 2006 - link

    Fixed. :) Reply
  • RichUK - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    Same old sh!t. It's nice to see AMD finally kicking off their 65nm retail chips, but lets see this new core for God sakes.

    They're lacking big time, this really is sad. **Thumbs-Down**
  • Stereodude - Thursday, December 14, 2006 - link

    How's a chip that uses less power run hotter? On the last page the 65nm X2 5000+ hit 51C under load, lower than any other chip, but it uses more power than any chip except the 90nm X2 5000+. How's that work? Reply

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