Note that even the launching of the new Athlon 64 processor didn’t help AMD to overcome the 2.2GHz barrier. All top CPU models from the today’s AMD processor families starting with Athlon XP work at this particular frequency, but not any higher than that. However, AMD doesn’t need any further frequency increase yet. Intel also hasn’t raised the working frequencies of its processors lately, waiting for the introduction of the 90nm production process. This way, AMD has no causes for concern until February, I assume.
As far as the potential for further frequency increase, AMD might actually face some problems connected with the fact that the introduction of 90nm technology in their Dresden Fab30 can actually take place only in H2 2004. Nevertheless, Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX processors working at 2.4GHz still have a chance to appear a little bit earlier than that. At present AMD is finishing the work on the new Athlon 64 core stepping aka CG, which should allow increasing the core clock frequency a little more even with the current production technology. Besides, the new core stepping should also help solve some memory compatibility problems.
This way, AMD didn’t introduce anything brand new by launching their Athlon 64 3400+ CPU model. This allows us to pass directly to the benchmarking results skipping the CPU features discussion this time. If you would like to refresh your memory and learn more about the architecture and technologies implemented in Athlon 64 processors, please see our pervious articles on the matter in the CPU section of X-bit labs site.
Testbed and Methods
The main goal of this test session was to find out the performance level of the new Athlon 64 3400+ processor against the background of its predecessors and closest competitors.
I would like to point out that in the meanwhile we still have to stick to testing the processors with AMD64 architecture in classical 32bit applications. The matter is that there are no mass operating systems in the market yet, which support 64bit AMD extensions. For example, the release of Microsoft Windows XP supporting x86-64 is expected to happen only in the second half of this year. That is why is you have an Athlon 64 or Athlon 64 FX processor, you should realize that your systems beast a few advantages, which will prove efficient and worthy a little later, but not now. However, we still cannot evaluate how great these advantages will be, as well as confirm if they will be there at all.
Our test systems were configured as follows:
- AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 (2.2GHz);
- AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (2.2GHz);
- AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.0GHz);
- AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (2.2GHz);
- Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz (800MHz FSB);
- Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.2GHz (800MHz FSB).
- ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe (Socket 478, i875P);
- ASUS SK8V (Socket 940, VIA K8T800);
- ABIT KV8-MAX3 (Socket 754, VIA K8T800);
- ASUS A7N8X 2.0 (Socket A, NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400).
- 1024MB DDR400 SDRAM (Corsair CMX512-3200LLPRO, 2 x 512MB, 2-3-2-6);
- 1024MB Registered DDR400 SDRAM (Mushkin High Performance ECC Registered 2 x 512MB, 2-3-2-6).
- Graphics card: ASUS RADEON 9800XT (Catalyst 3.10).
- Disk subsystem: 2 x Western Digital Raptor WD360GD in RAID 0 array.
- The memory (registered and ubuffered) worked in the same mode in all cases, that is with the timings set to 2-3-2-6.
- The tests were run in Windows XP SP1 operating system with DirectX 9.0b pack installed.