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AM2: AMD Reinvents Itself

Athlon 64 X2: Now Somewhat Slower

For buyers of the Athlon 64 X2 model, the new platform is a bitter disappointment on three scores:

  • In order to attain the same performance as the old Socket 939 platform, you first have to somehow obtain DDR2-800 memory with low latency (CL4.0). This memory is still very rare - with a price tag to match.
  • Processors in the midrange price segment, up to $500, suffer in performance with the DDR2 memory interface.
  • Because the memory divider on the Athlon 64 X2 5000+, 4400+ and 4200+ CPUs doesn't result in an even value without remainder, the maximum memory clock speed will be DDR2-733 or DDR2-740, meaning that these processors lose performance.

One of the most popular CPUs is the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ with a design profile of 89 W, for $303. If you'd prefer the 35 W version with more overclocking potential, be prepared to shell out $364. The intermediate model at 65 W still costs a fairly steep $323.

Sempron 64: More Speed

Sempron users can at least be happy that they have more performance as these processors now use a dual-channel memory interface.

More money is still required for overclocking, or a quieter PC. The Sempron 64 3400+ in the 65 W version costs just $97. For the 35 watt version AMD asks you to part with quite a bit more money: $145.