On the threshold of the New Year AMD prepared a nice unexpected surprise for its fans. They threw into the mass market the quietly announced Athlon 64 3000+ processors costing a little over $200. This way AMD made a very important move, which may become a starting point for the mass invasion of CPUs on AMD64 architecture into the desktop PCs.
The arrival of low-cost Athlon 64 processor models will help AMD 64bit processor family to become really popular, which is a very important aspect of the cut-throat competition with Intel, which is actively preparing for the launch of the new Prescott based CPU family. Let’s try to analyze the situation in order to find out what the advantages of the new AMD offer are for us, the users, and what benefits the new AMD Athlon 64 3000+ processor will bring us.
Closer Look: AMD Athlon 64 3000+
While everybody was waiting for the new Athlon 64 3000+ processor, they were absolutely sure that it will differ from the top Athlon64 3200+ model only by the core clock frequency. This confidence was based on the fact that Desktop Replacement (DTR) AMD Athlon 64 3000+ processor for the mobile solutions available since the end of September 2003 works at 1.8GHz core frequency and has no other differences from the DTR Athlon 64 3200+. However, AMD decided to do a completely different thing this time: the new Athlon 64 3000+ works at the same 2GHz clock frequency as the elder Athlon 64 3200+ model. The difference between these two solutions is the size of L2 cache memory. L2 cache of the new Athlon 64 3000+ is cut down to 512KB compared with the 1MB L2 cache of Athlon 64 3200+ CPU.
You can check this with the help of any diagnostics utility revealing the processor specifications:
As you can see, the differences in the specs of Athlon 64 3200+ and Athlon 64 3000+ are minimal. Besides the smaller L2 cache, the new processor is just the same as the 3200+ model announced on September 23, 2003. Even the core stepping is the same. All this means that Athlon 64 3000+ is based on the same semiconductor die as the top Athlon 64 processor models. AMD simply disables half of the L2 cache memory in Athlon 64 3000+ just like they did in Athlon XP CPUs based on Thorton core.