AMD Athlon 64

Little to anyone’s surprise, the 90nm, Socket 939 Athlon 64s remains our processor of choice on the desktop. Choosing the Socket 939 Athlon 64s over the Socket 754 processors is an easy choice for any buyer; the “sweet spot” Socket 939 Athlon 64s cost anywhere from $10 to $20 less than their Socket 754 counterparts. Now that MSI, ASUS and Gigabyte all have relatively inexpensive nForce3, nForce4 and K8T800 Socket 939 options, there should be no excuse to stick with the socket 754 socket.

In our opinion, the greatest advantage of going Socket 939 over 754 is the PCI Express capability. If you already have a nice AGP video card, then perhaps an nForce3 939 motherboard might still be in your future. However, notice that the ATI AGP video cards already lag three months behind their PCIe SKUs. If this trend continues, we will be very lucky to see any current generation AGP cards by the end of the year!

We established Socket 939 as a viable option over Socket 754 without even delving into the ever controversial dual channel versus single channel argument. The Socket 939 chips that we like the best (the Socket 939 Athlon 64 3000+ and Athlon 64 3200+ [RTPE: ADA3000DIK4B, ADA3200DIK4B]) are 90nm processors only. AMD will start to release new 90nm SKUs before the summer, but we are fairly limited to only a few processors at this point. Don’t forget to check out our initial impressions of 90nm AMD processors back in October of last year.

You’ll notice from the chart above that our price engine didn’t pick up any Turion 64 processors anywhere. We were supposed to see Turion laptops by now, but considering the carefree release schedules of everyone from AMD to ATI to Intel to NVIDIA, we probably won’t see laptops or retail processors for several weeks (or months?). The DTR and mobility Athlon 64s don’t appear to be showing any signs of age yet; all of the Athlon 64 DTR processors continue to drop a steady 6% each month – you can almost set your calendar to it.

Last but not least, there are always the little Semprons. The silently launched Socket 754 Sempron 2600+, 2800+ and 3000+ [RTPE: SDA2600AIO2BA, SDA2800AIO3BA, and SDA3000AIO2BA] pack some of the bang-for-buck punches that we have seen in a long time; particularly for sub $100 processors. Only a few merchants carry the newest Semprons, but if you have an older nForce3 motherboard lying around, an $80 Sempron 2600+ becomes an awesome platform to give that pet Linux or PVR project a try.

For those still interested in prolonging the inevitable death of Socket 462, the Sempron lineup offers several modified Athlon XP choices. However, as many die-hard Athlon overclockers know, the wonder chips always were, and still continue to be the Athlon XP Mobile chips.

They aren’t the speed demons that they once were, but for the dollar, you can still crunch some incredible performance out of the Athlon XP Mobility line on chips that will clock higher than their desktop counterparts. If you aren’t ready to take the penalties of the Sempron cache size without willing to give up on Socket A just yet, the XP-M chips are your last hope.

Pentium M Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron
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  • Possessed Freak - Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - link

    What is with the DOS based looking graphs?
  • jlanter1 - Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - link

    Does anyone know how much longer the Socket 462 Athlon XP mobile chips will be available? I know it won't be available forever. The amd cpu roadmap isn't clear about when this chip will be retired.

  • Avalon - Monday, March 28, 2005 - link

    Kris, your pricing engine lists the s754 Sempron 2600+ and 3000+ with a 256KB L2 cache option. There is no such chip. The 2600+ and 3000+ models only come in 128KB L2 cache. Look at the model number and see for yourself. Also, under your AXP Mobile pricing list, you don't show the 35w mobiles, which are just as plentiful and often a good alternative to the 45w ones. Just to let you know.
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, March 27, 2005 - link

    PrinceGaz: I wouldn't put a lot of money on the chips only taking a week to get to retail :)

  • PrinceGaz - Sunday, March 27, 2005 - link

    It's worth noting that the long awaited Venice (E4 revision) A64 S939 3000+, 3200+, 3500+, and 3800+ parts will replace the current Winchester and Newcastle (3800+) processors on April 4. It will take them a week or two to get into retail, but they should be seriously overclockable, better than the current Winchesters.

    On April 15, the 4000+ is transitioned from ClawHammer to San Diego (E3 revision), which is likely to be the cheapest 1MB cache version.

    I've no idea what is happening with the A64 FX-55 or much rumored FX-57, but I suspect AMD could release a San Diego at 2.8 GHz if they wished, and rename the FX-55 as a 4200+ or 4300+.

    The chip to get will have to be one of those mid-range Venice cores, as coupled with a good overclockable mobo you should be able to take it up to at least 2.7-2.8GHz if AMD/IBM have got the SoI plus strained-silicon fabrication working well. A Pentium 4 (or Pentium 5xx/6xx if they abandon the P4 name) just isn't worth considering when the A64 is so competitive.
  • stephenbrooks - Sunday, March 27, 2005 - link

    On the last page I see:

    Intel Xeon 3.2GHz 533FSB 512KB ZipZoomFly 690.00 0.00 690.00
    Intel Xeon 3.2GHz 800FSB 1MB AllStarShop 348.95 7.95 356.90 I guess nobody's going to be buying the 512KB model then.
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, March 27, 2005 - link

    bupkus: We only plan on moving the front end so that the entire AnandTech site is uniform. The backend and bot will remain Perl/PHP/MySQL.

  • semo - Sunday, March 27, 2005 - link

    why does the price of the athlon 64 3000 939 (winchester) not fall here in the uk. there have been virtually no price drops since it was launched
  • justly - Sunday, March 27, 2005 - link

    It might be nice if the Anandtech search engine could differentiate between OEM and retail.

    I thought I had seen the Sempron 2600+ on Newegg cheaper than the one listed for Monarch so I checked. Newegg had the retail version for $77.99 (free shipping) while Monarch had the OEM for $78.00 (not sure but I think it also had free shipping).

    This just shows that prices can change quickly, and you should allways compare the item and price for yourself.
  • mongoosesRawesome - Sunday, March 27, 2005 - link

    "This week, the talk of the town seems to be ASUS’s clever little Socket 479 to Socket 478 adaptor, which enables any mild budget 865PE and 875P motherboard to compete with the high end 885GME motherboard solutions from DFI [RTPE: DFI 855GME 855GME-MGF] and AOpen [RTPE: AOpen 855GME i855GMEm-LFS]."

    As yet, only a few Asus motherboards are supported - not "any mild budget 865PE and 875P motherboard."

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