Fast Computer On The Cheap? The Sempron 3100+ On Overdrive


Those who don't need a computer system with above-average power can do quite well with a Socket 754 PC running a Sempron 3100+. Performance is unquestionably more than adequate for office applications. With audio and video encoding the Sempron falls only slightly behind the dual-channel memory-equipped Athlon 64 3000+ running at the same clock speed.

Overclocked up to 2.16 GHz (HT960), the Sempron 3100+ holds its own well with current 3D games against a system with a Pentium 4 processor 540 (3.2 GHz). Experience has shown that our test system also outdoes the Athlon 64 3000+. When the clock speed goes up significantly with Socket 939 computers though, the Sempron can't keep up any more.

With CPU-intensive applications such as rendering and video and audio encoding, the overclocked Sempron 3100+ fares pretty well. It must be said, however, that AMD's low-cost processor, with a maximum overclocking rate of about 25%, can't squeeze out nearly as much juice as Intel Celeron processors often can. If you get hold of the right model and a tolerant platform, you can still get up to 40% more clock speed.

The Sempron also has to take a back seat to the Athlon 64 with a Winchester processor core as, in contrast to the latter, all Sempron models are still based on a 130 nm process.

Nonetheless, Socket 754 systems inarguably offer favorable to excellent value for the money along with good overclocking options, given a decent mainboard. Those who have to stretch every dollar as far as it can go will find something good here. But those who can afford it should still just go with Socket 939 .