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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  • Viditor - Saturday, June 05, 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...
    Reply
  • tmhartsr - Friday, June 04, 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 03, 2004 - link

    will the S754/940 heat sink and fans work with 939 ?? Reply
  • XRaider - Wednesday, June 02, 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 01, 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:
    http://forums.firingsquad.com/firingsquad/board/me...
    Reply
  • Viditor - Tuesday, June 01, 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...
    Reply
  • mikeymasta - Tuesday, June 01, 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
    /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.
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Tuesday, June 01, 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:

    http://www.x86-secret.com/articles/cpu/s939/s939-7...

    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:
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/athlo...

    All in all it looks like the heat issues arent confined to Intel biut Cool and Quiet might help out.
    Reply
  • Pollock - Tuesday, June 01, 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!
    Reply
  • SHO235V8 - Tuesday, June 01, 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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