What's In A New Socket

With the introduction of the 939 platform, we will see a convergence of platforms on the mainstream and high end desktop market for Athlon 64. Until now, the decision between the mainstream Athlon 64 and the FX version of the processor brought with it the problems of choosing between registered memory for a dual channel platform originally targeted at the workstation market and unbuffered memory for a single channel platform. The 939 pin platform brings us the ability to use unbuffered memory (which is slightly faster, cheaper, and more available than registered memory) in a dual channel configuration with either an Athlon 64 or an Athlon 64 FX processor.

Not that any platform is (or ever will be?) future proof, but 939 will provide its adopters with a broader range of options for processors. We have already hit the upper limits of the 940 desktop platform in the FX-53 processor, and the 754 pin Athlon 64 will only reach one speed grade past the current high end 3400+ to the 3700+ (at least as far as current AMD plans indicate).

Of course, midrange and high end platform convergence doesn't mean that the 940 pin and 754 pin platforms will go away. We will continue to see 940 pin processors and platforms in their original market (workstation/server) sporting AMD's Opteron processors. The 754 platform will become the new home of the Athlon XP and AMD's value line of processors. The new Athlon XP will be a trimmed down, 32bit only version of the Athlon 64.

Aside from bringing together AMD's two current Athlon 64 lines of processors, the 939 also has a couple other benefits that are attractive to users. As we mentioned earlier, the new platform will offer support for unbuffered memory with a dual channel setup. Athlon 64 processors built for the 754 pin socket are limited to single channel memory support, and the 940 pin processors require registered RAM. As such, we should see a performance increase when moving to 939 from both directions: The FX processors will shed the added latency of buffered RAM, while dual channel support will add increased bandwidth to the mainstream Athlon 64 line.

There will be less improvement on the FX line of processors, but will either design increase significantly in performance from the enhancements made possible on the 939 platform? Based on the naming of the new chips being released, AMD seems to think so. Of course, that is ultimately what we are here to find out.

Let's take a look at what AMD is bringing out to plug into this socket.

Index The Chips


View All Comments

  • Viditor - Saturday, June 5, 2004 - link

    #37 - "Doesn't seem to me to make any sense spending 5 Grand on a 64 bit system until the OS is available?"

    5 GRAND?!?!?!
    What are you PUTTING in there?
    Even the most expensive (FX53) chip is ~$840, and the ASUS mobo is ~$190...
  • tmhartsr - Friday, June 4, 2004 - link

    Hey guys - where is the 64 bit OS? Doesn't seem to me to make any sense spending 5 Grand on a 64 bit system until the OS is available? Also really need PCI Express MOBO. But especially - how about an update on the OS. Perfect opportunity for an Apple OS-64 written especially for the AMD 64?!#* Reply
  • Falco. - Thursday, June 3, 2004 - link

    will the S754/940 heat sink and fans work with 939 ?? Reply
  • XRaider - Wednesday, June 2, 2004 - link

    Thanks Viditor, I appreciate it! :) I will have to keep my eyes open on this heat stuff and see what other people will state about this. Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Pretty interesting, but I'm not super surprised by the results. I would imagine that the 3700+ CPU would be about the same distance from the 3800+ as the 3400+ is from the 3500+. Given the prices, I really don't see much reason for celebrating the release (finally!) of socket 939.

    I did some speculation on some other forums about some related issues AMD and Intel seem to be encountering, for any who want to read a longer post:
  • Viditor - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    XRaider - To be clear, AMD and Intel actually report 2 different numbers when they talk about heat dissapation.
    AMD reports the MAXIMUM TDP FOR THE WHOLE CPU LINE (both now and in the future...) This means that 104watts is the max thermal design power (the absolute worst it could get) for all 939 cpus at 13nm.

    Intel reports ONLY THE "TYPICAL" TDP FOR THE SPECIFIED CHIP. This means that Intel runs a series of software (they won't release WHICH software they use) and measure the power at that time. They don't report the actual maximum theoretical thermal levels. Intel have a different TDP listed for each processor, and often a different TDP for different stepping of processors.

    So, to answer your question (sorry about the length), while the 939 line of parts have an absolute theoretical max of 104 watts, you will probably see it somewhere in the 80's...
  • mikeymasta - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    These benchmarks look great, but I REALLY would appreciate it if we could see some OpenSSL benchmarks?
    Because I would love to get my boss to get an AMD based server but hes one of those know all "Intel' is always better type people
    In the server enviroment just an openssl benchmark could turn things around.
    Just install linux or FreeBSD, you could even use a live linux CD so you dont have to install and then just type "openssl speed"
    most linux dists would have openssl in
    /usr/bin/openssl speed > speed_log 2>&1
    to log it to a file
    We are thinking about getting the Sun based AMD
    http://www.sun.com/servers/entry/v20z/ but it costs a lot!

    If you could do that for all new CPU benchmarks I would be very happy.
  • Pumpkinierre - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    #23 The french site said the spec is 104W and found the heatsink temp (applied above) to be 50C under load and 60C@1.8V overclocking (216MHz) on a 3800+ using a MSI K8Nneo2 (nf3-250) and Asus A8V (K8T800pro). Overall they stated that the cpu ran hot compared to S754 a64s:


    Both mobos BIOSs defaulted to DDR333 with 4 double sided DIMMS.

    Xbit say that 104W is the overall spec for S939 but present 130nm cpus stay at 89W TDP (Prescott anyone?). However the temps (cpu diode-Asus A8V)are mildly frightening: 41-64 (idle-load) for the 3800+ but the 3500+ is the coolest 38-58. They even get 40-60C with the 3400+ (but dont quote ambient) which still makes me wonder about the coolness of these cpus. They got the 3500+ to 232MHz FSB and the 3800+ to 215 but didnt quote the voltage. They quoted the same AMD info for the DIMMS:

    All in all it looks like the heat issues arent confined to Intel biut Cool and Quiet might help out.
  • Pollock - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    "In the final analysis, we aren't talking about the be all end all of platforms and performance, but, certainly, anyone who wants an Athlon 64 system should look no further than socket 939 for its flexibility, overclockability, and performance."
    I don't remember reading much about overclockability anywhere? Yeah, maybe a statement about the higher HT speed possibly helping, but I want to know more than that!
  • SHO235V8 - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Derek, what about the compatability issues and heat issues? Any news on these fronts and when will these parts be available? I have been waiting for the 939 for some time and my desktop gets slower everyday! Thanks ;) Reply

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