AMD 3500+ Mid-Range CPU - AM2 vs S939 Comparison

CPU by piotke @ 2006-05-30

Last week AMD launched their new AM2 platform, we take a look at what performance difference you can expect at the mid-range side of things, with the help of local computer shop Forcom we compared two AMD 3500+ systems, one based on AM2 one on Socket 939.

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Conclusive Thoughts

Conclusive Thoughts

Madshrimps (c)
Socket AM2 the next best thing?


AMD successfully launched their new AM2 platform, the day the reviews appeared on the web, the product could be bought in stores. Motherboards are also available and there’s even AM2 ready DDR2 memory being sold (SLI-ready) today. Price wise building a S939 system or AM2 will be almost the same, and it some cases the AM2 system will turn out cheaper.

The most important question is: do you want AM2? Do you need it?

At this time it’s hard to recommend AM2, not only because it doesn’t offer any performance advantage over Socket 939, but also because Intel is set to release their Core 2 Duo CPU in the coming weeks, and from early performance numbers it will give the fastest AM2 a run for its money.

With the AM2 platform AMD is preparing themselves for future CPU upgrades, the switch to DDR2 should provide future CPU with more bandwidth than DDR1 can ever offer.

There is an obvious upside to AM2, if you buy one now, you’ll be able to get the slowest (Sempron) and upgrade to the fastest (FX) without having to switch motherboards! AMD introduced S754/S939 after they had great success with socket A, but it was a confusing decision, as people who bought a budget S754 motherboard, were stuck in a limited upgrade path, as the higher end models required a S939 socket. With AM2 AMD goes back to the socket A days, which is a good thing.

If you are an impatient hardware enthusiast and you do want to experience the AM2 experience you can be sure that it will offer you performance on par with current S939 systems, if you buy higher rated DDR2 modules. DDR2 PC6400 will equal budget PC3200 DDR1, while DDR2 PC8500 will bring performance levels on par with high end PC3200 (read CL2 2-2-7 1T timings).

Our recommendation is to sit and wait, find out how the Blue Team will do in the next months and reconsider AM2 near the end of year when AMD is planning on releasing 65nm parts, although the first ones might not be high end parts.

Questions/Comments: forum thread
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