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%
3dsmax 7 2.79 2.78 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 (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+.

Energy Efficient AM2 CPUs Does AM2 Reduce the Impact of L2 Cache Size?


View All Comments

  • Slappi - Thursday, May 25, 2006 - link

    That is the real question.

    Very biased these last few months.

    I sure hope Conroe can cook dinner and clean my house because if it can't someone has some explaining to do.
  • lewisc - Thursday, May 25, 2006 - link

    How was that review at all biased? AM2 showed very very small improvements over socket 939, Anand said so. Is it biased because the result was not what you wanted? How you could possibly suggest buying a a new platform that has hardly any improvement over a predecessor is beyond me. Reply
  • Slappi - Thursday, May 25, 2006 - link

    Just all his talk about Intel the last few months has been really biased. Not necessarily this article.

    Just my opinion and I really like this site it just seems like someone is being taken care of.

    I could be wrong.
  • clnee55 - Friday, May 26, 2006 - link

    I agree in the last few months, AMD has shown that it doesn't have anything ready to compete with Conroe. I certainly can trust Anand's analysis. Your conspiracy theory is full of it.

    By the way, just how much AMD stock do you own?

  • EdisonStarfire - Thursday, May 25, 2006 - link

    I've owned AMD systems since 1998 starting with an Athlon 600 OEM. I've built several other AMD systems since then. Sure, there is a slight chance Intel had some influence on their test systems anand tested but from seeing other pre-release samples around the web I think its just a case of Intel finally waking up and building a good cpu. I hope AMD has a good answer but if they don't and fooled themselves into thinking Intel didn't have the resources or need to build something (like alot of fanboys do) then they were kidding themselves badly. If the Core 2 Duo chips are the best out when its time to dump my X2 4400 then thats what I will be buying. I know AMD is limited in resources but the Dothan should have been a sign of what was coming and made some revisions with the AM2 release. Let's hope the deerhound cores improvements add about 20% IPC so can keep some good competition going between the two companies.

    in short... I don't think Anand is being biased about anything. Just my 2 cents.
  • Thatguy97 - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    well it sure did and amds dying Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - link

    Ayyyyy things looking up Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Sunday, June 28, 2020 - link

    Ayyy AMD is in the lead now Reply
  • peternelson - Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - link

    I am interested in the changes from 939 to AM2/940 and opteron/940 and SocketF/1207

    I would like detailed PINOUTS for these.

    eg how many pins are GND, how many power / core power, how many ddr, how many ddr2, how many hypertransport links.

    Ideally full pinout not just summary by group function.

    Is this information available anywhere or would I have to/my company have to sign an NDA with AMD to obtain it?
  • ultraCODE - Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - link

    Have anyone managed to benchmark new AM2 platform with RightMark RMMA? It shows the real peak speed (I don't trust crappy Sandra) for mem. read/write. Any results highly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    Best wishes,

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