Articles: CPU

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Gaming Applications

Since testing the Athlon XP in Quake 3 we know that this CPU architecture isn’t the best choice for that shooter. So, we can’t hope for anything exceptional from the Socket A Semprons here, which are clocked at lower frequencies than regular Athlon XPs. And really, the Semprons are all in the lower part of the diagram with a single exception of the Sempron 3100+, which features an integrated memory controller and the K8 architecture. This processor is so fast in Quake 3 that it leaves behind the full-featured Pentium 4 on the Prescott core and clocked at 2.8GHz!

Unreal Tournament 2004 draws quite another performance map: the Socket A Semprons are fast here, outperforming the competing Celeron D models. The Sempron 3100+ is again superior to the rest of the Semprons. This is a characteristic thing, by the way. Although there’s little price difference between the Sempron 3100+ and Sempron 3000+, the Socket 754 processor is more future-proof and is just faster in real applications.

The competing Celeron D and Sempron models of the same price provide nearly the same performance in the semi-synthetic Aquamark3. However, the Socket A Semprons lose the CPU test to their Socket 478 counterparts.

Once again the Sempron 3100+ receives my praises: although its L2 cache is twice smaller than the one of the Athlon 64 2800+, the two processors run Far Cry almost at the same speed. As a result, the Sempron 3100+ outperforms the whole Celeron D family as well as the two Pentium 4 2.8GHz on Prescott and Northwood cores. So, I have to repeat it again that the Sempron 3100+ is a CPU from quite another category than the rest of the value CPUs – both for Socket A and for Socket 478.

The results are typical in the popular Doom 3 game: the performance of the Celeron D and the Sempron differs but slightly, so it’s hard to claim that any of them is a leader here. However, note that the Sempron 3000+, the only value product with 512KB L2 cache, has a significant advantage over the others. It is an indication of the importance of cache memory in this game. Secondly, the Sempron 3100+ is surprisingly good, too, being just a little slower than the 2.8GHz Prescott.

Overall, it’s hard to say that any of the two value CPU families is better in gaming applications. Depending on specific optimizations or algorithms, either the Celeron D or the Sempron may become the winner. Note also that the K8 architecture of the Sempron 3100+ for Socket 754 systems provides the best performance in almost all the gaming applications in comparison to any other value processor.

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