AMD Socket-AM2: Same Performance, Faster Memory, Lower Powerby Anand Lal Shimpi on May 23, 2006 12:14 PM EST
- Posted in
The Question on Everyone's Mind: Is AM2 Faster?
We've structured this CPU review a little different than in our past, organizing the content into answers to a series of questions that we had about Socket-AM2 and the performance of the platform. The first question on everyone's mind is, of course, is Socket-AM2 any faster than Socket-939. When we previewed AM2 we concluded that no, it wasn't, however we were using pre-release hardware and it was possible that the performance had changed since then. But the following statement from AMD pretty much confirmed exactly what we expected:
"A fair expectation for performance gain from 939-pin to AM2 is about 1% or more across various application-based benchmarks. That assumes equal model numbers for processors and an equal configuration. This also assumes premium memory is used for each configuration."
With AMD telling us that we should expect about a 1% increase in performance, it doesn't look like Socket-AM2 will have much to offer in the way of performance. Of course we needed to confirm for ourselves, and the table below shows just that:
|Benchmark - Athlon 64 X2 4800+||Socket-939 (DDR-400)||Socket-AM2 (DDR2-800)||% Advantage (Socket-AM2)|
|Cinebench 9.5 Multi-Core Rendering Test||660||658||0%|
|Adobe Photoshop CS2||183.2 s||180.2 s||+1.6%|
|DivX 6.1||54 fps||54 fps||0%|
|WME9||42.2 fps||42.7 fps||+1.2%|
|Quicktime 7.0.4 (H.264)||3.12 min||3.10 min||+0.1%|
|iTunes 220.127.116.11 (MP3)||35 s||35 s||0%|
|Quake 4 - 10x7 (SMP)||133.1 fps||138.6 fps||+4.0%|
|Oblivion - 10x7||56.1 fps||58.0 fps||+3.3%|
|F.E.A.R. - 10x7||114 fps||116 fps||+1.8%|
|ScienceMark 2.0 (Bandwidth)||5397 MB/s||6844 MB/s||+27%|
|ScienceMark 2.0 (Latency 512-byte stride)||47.3 ns||42.72 ns||+9.7%|
The numbers we're seeing here today for Socket-939 vs. Socket-AM2 are virtually identical to what we saw last month in our preview. Socket-AM2 doesn't appear to offer any tangible improvement in performance except for within certain games and of course in the memory bandwidth and latency tests. Thankfully, on final hardware, we're at least not seeing any drop in performance.
The good news is that if you've just invested in a new Socket-939 platform, you're not leaving any performance behind by not having an AM2 system. The bad news is that, for AMD, the only performance increases this launch will bring are because of the speed bumps of the Athlon 64 FX-62 and the X2 5000+.