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Sempron 64 3200+ vs Athlon 64 3400+

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March 25, 2007 3:52:05 AM

I'm new to the whole "building my own PC" thing an I decided to make a very cheap media PC. I will mainly be using it as a DVR. I won't be doing any video editing, just capturing. I need to decide between the 2 proc's that I mentioned in my title. Here are the stats for both:
http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/ProductInformation/...
(Socket AM2)
http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/ProductInformation/...
(Socket 939)
The main problem I see is that the Athalon 64 socket 939 doesn't support DDR2 memory...

On a side note, I'm was also thinking about a Celeron D (330, 335, and 355) but from the benchmarks I've read, the Sempron has them beat.

Any help on which proc to go with would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!
March 25, 2007 7:27:09 AM

It's been a while since I looked, but the sempron was about the same price as the A4 3200, even though it had 1/2 the cache, and ran 200mhz slower.
Go with an AM2 A64 3200.
March 25, 2007 7:34:19 AM

Wait, why would you be going with an A64 3400+? April 9th price cuts should bring the X2 3600+ to about $70. Dual core 65nm, my friend. Should make a very nice addition to your system.
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March 25, 2007 10:04:19 AM

Don't know why but higher end Semprons are more expensive than some Athlons so I'd advice you to get an Athlon, even because, the price drops have already started on ewiz and you can get a 939 3700+ for $53 or an AM2 X2 3800+ for $82:
http://www.ewiz.com/query.php?dp=2&categry=248&dt=&ob=a...
March 25, 2007 11:47:00 AM

I recommend going with the Athlon64.Stay away from the semperons as well as the celerons.And by saying Athlon,I mean go for the AM2 as this will give you some future proofing,allowing you to upgrade later on.Although the S-939 cpu's are great workers,they are getting difficult to find and will no longer be manufactured before long.And going with a dual core is the best option.Goodluck.

Dahak

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March 25, 2007 12:24:46 PM

AMD have stopped making S939 CPUs. Check out how CPU hungry the PVR card is. I have an AMD 3400+ S939 semperon machine with a Hauppauge wintv150 card. That seems OK, but the wintv150 card does the MPG2 compresion. Some tv cards require the CPU to do that, and for that the semperon will probably strugle. The extra cache on the Athlon will help, but get an AM2 athlon not an S939 one.

If you go the celeron route make sure it is one with 512K cache, some come with 256K cache and they are best avoided. Try to get a motherboard that will allow you to use a Core 2 duo later on. This may cost a little more but will leave you with an easy upgrade later.
March 25, 2007 4:39:33 PM

Let me rephrase my question: What is the best proc I can get that is under $50? I am willing to wait till April 9th but newegg currently has a $10 off coupon so the savings from me waiting should exceed $10. They also have a combo deal for a Athlon 64 3400+ 939 and mobo for $90 so keep that in mind too.
March 25, 2007 4:49:02 PM

there is no s939 Athlon64 3400+, but there are 3200+ or 3500+ models. Any Athlon64 s939 with any DDR is faster than the Sempron64 3200+ with any DDR2.
Like others recommend, if you can buy a X2 3800+ for $80, that is the best choice and the "best bang for the buck" of all x86 CPUs, right now.
If you must choose between the two that you have listed, than the Athlon64 is they way to go.
March 25, 2007 4:53:47 PM

Quote:
If you are wanting to do your own media pc on the cheap look no further than here. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is one of the boards used in the x2 3600+ combos and if you look at the bottom of the page it shows the combo special. It even comes with onboard video and with the hardware for TV out so you would not even need a video card unless you absolutely wanted one. Since overclocking is not going to be done on such a system any athlon 64 approved cooler that uses the onboard heatsink brackets will work. The ones I would really recommend for such a system you can find on ebay are the ones that people are selling that came boxed with dual core opterons and some of the x2's. These had a copper base and heatpipes and are really good for a stock fan and can cool as well as some aftermarkets. This makes it easier for picking a case since you get good cooling without having to worry if your cooler will fit in a small case.


A GeForce 6150 seems a little bit low, son't you think? I was planning a 7300LE.
March 25, 2007 4:58:12 PM

Quote:
there is no s939 Athlon64 3400+, but there are 3200+ or 3500+ models. Any Athlon64 s939 with any DDR is faster than the Sempron64 3200+ with any DDR2.
Like others recommend, if you can buy a X2 3800+ for $80, that is the best choice and the "best bang for the buck" of all x86 CPUs, right now.
If you must choose between the two that you have listed, than the Athlon64 is they way to go.


This is the proc I'm reffering to:
http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
March 25, 2007 5:03:28 PM

Quote:
I understand costs are a factor, but I do have a suggestion....

AM2 will be the way to go since it gives you some flexibility for future 'upgrading' in my opinion.

Next, skip over the single core (though they are very cheap right now) and look into getting a dual core. AMD is dropping prices almost daily, and soon they will have a significant number of their dual core prices under 100 bucks. It would be worth the extra 30-50 bucks over a single core to go dual core..... my reason, over time cheaper HD DVD or Blu-Ray drives will appear, and it will be pretty straight forward so just add in a drive and get an HD DVD-Blu-Ray player out of your HTPC.... and in most cases, higher quality and cheaper than a set top box.

Finally, when putting together your system, look for video output that supports HDCP at the minimum, most all cards now support DVI which will make them DVI or HDMI compatible.... however, without the HDCP certification will not play on most HD TVs if this is in your future.

Jack

Will this work, if not what's the cheapest card I can get that to work with my 40" 1080p LCD?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The PC will be mainly used for watching online videos and acting as a DVR for recording TV. I need the cheapest system I can get to do this. (hopefully around $300)
March 25, 2007 5:05:34 PM

Quote:
there is no s939 Athlon64 3400+, but there are 3200+ or 3500+ models. Any Athlon64 s939 with any DDR is faster than the Sempron64 3200+ with any DDR2.
Like others recommend, if you can buy a X2 3800+ for $80, that is the best choice and the "best bang for the buck" of all x86 CPUs, right now.
If you must choose between the two that you have listed, than the Athlon64 is they way to go.


This is the proc I'm reffering to:
http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

This is one I would recommend -- per my reasons above.... but depends on what you want to do exactly.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$100 is way out of budget and I really am not planning to upgrade this PC. As long as it does what I need it to do, the only upgrade I see in it's future is a Blu-ray drive maybe. Upgradability really is not an issue here, price is.
March 25, 2007 5:13:02 PM

Ouch, $115 for a vid card? Can somebody explain what HDCP is?
March 25, 2007 5:27:08 PM

Well, I will also be buying a TV tuner seperate from the video card and it will be low res for now. I'll wait till there are more HD channels available at which point I'll upgrade to a HD tuner card. Here is my revised list of questions, keep in mind that price is the MOST important aspect:

1. What is the best proc I can buy either now or after april 9 for prefferably under $50. As mentioned before I need it to work well as a low res DVR and in the future as a high res DVR.
2. What's the best vid card I can buy for the lowest price that will do what I mentioned in 1. I am willing to buy a seperate TV tuner but if there is a card that includes one right off that bat and will save me money then that would be best.
3. Do I absolutely need an SATA HD to work as a DVR fluently?

I'll probably have more questions later.
March 25, 2007 5:47:18 PM

Yes, high def will be in the future of this PC. If it's possible to make it high def right now for a low price then that's great. If not then I can always make it low res now and upgrade it when I need high def. At that point I'd assume the parts needed to make it high def will be cheaper, right?
March 25, 2007 5:58:47 PM

Quote:
there is no s939 Athlon64 3400+, but there are 3200+ or 3500+ models. Any Athlon64 s939 with any DDR is faster than the Sempron64 3200+ with any DDR2.
Like others recommend, if you can buy a X2 3800+ for $80, that is the best choice and the "best bang for the buck" of all x86 CPUs, right now.
If you must choose between the two that you have listed, than the Athlon64 is they way to go.


This is the proc I'm reffering to:
http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
NewEgg has screwed something in their specifications, as always.
According to the image of the CPU it is a s754. ADA3400xxxxxx is a s754 2.2GHz 1MB L2. The 3700+ is the s939 2.2GHz 1MB L2 model.
So, it looks like they are selling a s754 Athlon64, and I'll not recommend you to buy it. Their Athlon64(singlecore) s939 & sAM2 prices are too high. If you want to buy form newegg, you better wait few days, while they reduce their prices according to new AMD pricecuts.

Than if you can afford $20 more and wait 2-3 weeks, you'll be able to get a 3600+ for around $70(right now the X2 3600+ retail is $89). It is a much better deal than any singlecore and will last you longer.
March 25, 2007 6:09:47 PM

In that case:
1. Whats the cheapest CPU I can get either now or in a couple of weeks that will work well with low res recording and will be upgradeable to high def? Either Intel or AMD, whichever is cheapest and will get the job done.
2. What's the cheapest video card that will work with HD? (I still don't quite understand this concept.)
3. Which TV Tuner should I buy?
4. What type and how much RAM do I need?
March 25, 2007 9:44:17 PM

At $73 after rebate, this is the best bang for the buck card I could find, the rest are at about $100.:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Can anybody find anything better with HTPC? If I buy before 3/31/07 then I'll be saving at least $20 on the video card. With that said, will I save more if I buy now or April 9. Actually, I can buy that now and the proc later.... :D 
March 25, 2007 11:03:49 PM

You can get a 7300Le for around $55, but I'll recommend you to get the 7600GS for $70.
March 25, 2007 11:05:54 PM

But that won't be HD...

How will I benefit from buying a HTPC now instead of waiting till they get less expensive and going with a normal card for now?
March 26, 2007 11:26:32 AM

You need to look at the PVR card more carefully. HDTV taxes a dual core processor for playback, encoding i.e. recording will probably need something in the high end Core 2 Duo range. If you are going for normal resolution TV then get a card that does the MPG2 compression in hardware, the Hauppauge wintv150 is an example of such ar card, though I would not recomend it as it does not work well with MS media centre.

You need to decide on your OS and the PVR software you are going to use, the software may only work with certain PVR cards. Most of the PVR software requires you to pay them every month (at least here in the UK). MS media center does not require this. Have a look at the following link

http://www.hauppauge.com/pages/compare/compare_pvr.html

This shows the different cards, but as I said the wintv150 media center edition would not work with MS media center. Hauppauge could offer no fix other than using their wintv application.

If you are going to just replay these recordings and watch live TV then any graphics will do. If you want to playback HDTV, and blue ray you will need a much higer spec system. The graphics card will have to be HDCP compliant, and may vendors still do not show this information. If HDCP is not there then windows, at least in theory, will only allow the playback in low resolution.

If all you want is PVR functionality the semperon or above will cope provided that the PVR card has hardware compression. The semperon CPU would probably cope with the MPG compression, but there may be skips, dropouts ect. The hardware encoded MPG is much more reliable.

Rob Murphy
March 26, 2007 12:11:47 PM

I had to put one of that Happauge cards on a 1.8 P4 and it skipped like crazy. Make sure you get a card that does the compression itself. Though all of the listed processors are superior to the P4 I put it on, I still wouldnt want my computer 75% usage due to recording some video.
March 26, 2007 8:00:29 PM

I've decided to build a computer for low res DVR for now then later, when the upgrades get cheap, get a higher CPU and vid card to support HD. Will 512mb RAM be enough for both high and low res recording? Do I need a sound card for either of the two or will the mobo's built in sound be fine?

Oh, and I'll be using regular old XP for now and possibly upgrade to Vista when they work the bugs out. If XP does what I need it to do well, then I'll probably just stick with it for a while.

So you guys are saying this is the cheapest card I can get for good low res recording?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
March 26, 2007 10:51:03 PM

Actually my TV does have a VGA in so I can use it as a monitor with any computer. Does this make any difference for your recommendations?

My video card choices are (from cheapest to most expensive):
1. Radeon X1050
2. GeForce 7100GS
3. GeForce 7300LE
4. Radeon X1550

Should I just go with the cheapest one because I will be upgrading later either way?

This is the mobo I chose:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
Will it's onboard video be enough or do I need a vid card anyway. How about sound?
March 27, 2007 10:16:17 AM

The MSI 7184 MB in my HP machine uses the ATI RS482 chipset. The onboard video is more than adequate for the display of the TV live or captured. Its running with XP Home on 512Meg of memory, so if funds are tight then you can just use 512 Meg of memory. Hard disk space does get used quite quickly, so I would get at least 160 - 200 Gig storage. 1 hours recording on good quality uses about 1.4 Gig of disk space, so you can judge how much space you need for yourself. The disk in the HP is PATA not SATA so if you have a spare PATA drive you could use that as extra storage for the captured video.

If youre are getting a MB then check it will take at least 4 Gig of ram. Many of the cheaper motherboards only take 2 Gig. Often the ones that onlt take 2 gig only have 2 memory slots instead of 4.

As with the video the sound on my machine uses the onboard sound, and that gives stereo in good quality.

Not paying for the video card, and a sound card should save some money so I would use that to get a good motherboard, PSU, and case. You can add PCIE graphics, more memory, and a faster processor later.

Rob Murphy
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2007 10:21:05 AM

with amd's dual cores (and single cores for that matter) so cheap why bother with single core! buy the cheapest dual core you can get ;) 
March 27, 2007 10:23:54 AM

Quote:
I understand costs are a factor, but I do have a suggestion....

AM2 will be the way to go since it gives you some flexibility for future 'upgrading' in my opinion.

Next, skip over the single core (though they are very cheap right now) and look into getting a dual core. AMD is dropping prices almost daily, and soon they will have a significant number of their dual core prices under 100 bucks. It would be worth the extra 30-50 bucks over a single core to go dual core..... my reason, over time cheaper HD DVD or Blu-Ray drives will appear, and it will be pretty straight forward so just add in a drive and get an HD DVD-Blu-Ray player out of your HTPC.... and in most cases, higher quality and cheaper than a set top box.

Finally, when putting together your system, look for video output that supports HDCP at the minimum, most all cards now support DVI which will make them DVI or HDMI compatible.... however, without the HDCP certification will not play on most HD TVs if this is in your future.

Jack

Will this work, if not what's the cheapest card I can get that to work with my 40" 1080p LCD?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The PC will be mainly used for watching online videos and acting as a DVR for recording TV. I need the cheapest system I can get to do this. (hopefully around $300)

well my winfast 200xp uses about 30-50% of my 4200 x2 when recording tv @ 768 x 576 in divx @ 2mb/s or about 10% @ 352 x288 so if you want decent resolution a dual core is defently worth it in the log run. I know my old 3000+ xp used to pause every so often when recording video @ 768x576 I'm not sure how semprons compare
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2007 10:43:51 AM

Quote:
I understand costs are a factor, but I do have a suggestion....

AM2 will be the way to go since it gives you some flexibility for future 'upgrading' in my opinion.

Next, skip over the single core (though they are very cheap right now) and look into getting a dual core. AMD is dropping prices almost daily, and soon they will have a significant number of their dual core prices under 100 bucks. It would be worth the extra 30-50 bucks over a single core to go dual core..... my reason, over time cheaper HD DVD or Blu-Ray drives will appear, and it will be pretty straight forward so just add in a drive and get an HD DVD-Blu-Ray player out of your HTPC.... and in most cases, higher quality and cheaper than a set top box.

Finally, when putting together your system, look for video output that supports HDCP at the minimum, most all cards now support DVI which will make them DVI or HDMI compatible.... however, without the HDCP certification will not play on most HD TVs if this is in your future.

Jack

Will this work, if not what's the cheapest card I can get that to work with my 40" 1080p LCD?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The PC will be mainly used for watching online videos and acting as a DVR for recording TV. I need the cheapest system I can get to do this. (hopefully around $300)

well my winfast 200xp uses about 30-50% of my 4200 x2 when recording tv @ 768 x 576 in divx @ 2mb/s or about 10% @ 352 x288 so if you want decent resolution a dual core is defently worth it in the log run. I know my old 3000+ xp used to pause every so often when recording video @ 768x576 I'm not sure how semprons compare

semperon's from the athlon 64 range are actually really decent, a 3000+ semperon will take out a 3ghz northwood b, and a P4 2600c and most of (if not all) the athlon xp's
March 28, 2007 11:00:33 AM

My HP machine with the Hauppauge wintv150 card works fine with no dropouts. The cpu is a semperon 3400+ (S939) and the CPU occupancy is usulay about 10% when recording. This is recording broadcast TV, not video capture though. Compression to DivX may need more CPU bandwith than recording in MPG2.

Rob.
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