Before proceeding to the tests, let me remind you once again that the new Socket 939 processors from AMD differ from their older Socket 754 mates in two respects: they feature a dual-channel memory controller, but have a smaller amount of L2 cache memory (512KB instead of 1024KB). At the same time, AMD, the manufacturing company, states that Socket 939 CPUs are better than Socket 754 CPUs of the same frequency and that’s why they come with a 100+ higher performance rating in their names. So, AMD reasons that the dual-channel memory controller contributes to performance more than a larger L2 cache.
Gaming applications come first, because a majority of users who buy top-end CPUs for desktop systems have one thing in mind – gaming! – and other things just follow.
The use of a dual-channel memory controller does help the Socket 939 Athlon 64 3500+ processor to be slightly faster than its Socket 754 Athlon 64 3400+ mate, which works at the same frequency. The Athlon 64 3800+ is also better in this test than the Athlon 64 FX-53, which works at the same frequency, but with registered memory. So far, we meet no surprises. The Athlon 64 CPUs outperform the top-end Pentium 4 models in Quake 3, but lose to the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition with its 2MB L3 cache.
The Athlon 64 processors have notched considerably better results in Unreal Tournament 2004 than their competitors from Intel. As for the relations among Socket 939, Socket 940 and Socket 754 models, we see processors of the same clock rate to be on about the same performance level.
The new processors from AMD take the top positions in Aquamark3. The Athlon 64 3500+ even outperforms the Athlon 64 FX-53 that works at a higher clock rate. The latter CPU has a dual-channel memory controller, but its memory subsystem is slower due to the use of registered DDR SDRAM modules. Evidently, high memory bandwidth matters much in this test.
The CPU test from this benchmark produces another picture. Thanks to their Hyper-Threading technology, the processors of the Pentium 4 family are strong enough: the both Pentiums 4 with 3.4GHz clock rate find themselves ahead of the Athlon 64 3400+ and also ahead of the Athlon 64 3500+. Anyway, the faster Athlon 64 3800+ (2.4GHz clock rate) only loses to the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition.