AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Review
*Sorry for the lack of CPU pictures as stated on the front page that I lost all pictures and my files today from my backup :(*
When the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ was introduced, many were shocked at first hand. Shocked mainly because this was an un-noticed launch. However, many began to like this idea because it came at a very attractive price. One of the downfalls of the 3200+ (and the newly 3400+) was the fact that it was pricey ($400-500 Canadian) and many couldn’t afford it. With the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ coming into play, they have become one of the more sought out processors recently. Big computer vendors have taken this golden opportunity into creating their AMD Athlon 64 systems and have come at a under $1000 price point. Today we have the chance at reviewing the AMD Athlon 64 3000+. We purchased it on Boxing Day for a great price at a local shop near by, and have been testing it since. Today we share with you the results and our thoughts on this inexpensive based A64.
The AMD Athlon 64 3000+ comes in a similar package as the Athlon XP retail package was. A plastic product box displaying the AMD name and the processor rating on the top left side. The rear of the retail AMD Athlon 64 3000+ package displays the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ processor and the stock cooling solution. I actually got an AMD T-shirt along with my purchase!
Opening the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ package will reveal a few items. You get the processor, stock cooling solution, an AMD Athlon 64 case badge, an illustrated installation manual, the retention frame, and backplate piece, and documents that include warranty information and so forth.
A brand spanking new AMD Athlon 64 3000+. I was actually surprised on how small it felt. It is a bit smaller than the AMD Athlon XP line of processors. The AMD Athlon 64 3000+ now features an “IHS” or Integrated Heat Spreader. The “IHS” is now included for one main reason, and that is to prevent cracked cores while installing the CPU cooler. The “Integrated Heat Spreader” adds to the weight of the overall product but I like this idea. It prevents cracked cores and prevents unexpected overclocked processors ending up in retail systems sold as a lower model. But there is a slight downfall to them. They can end concave and not make solid contact to the cooling solution (lapping anyone? :).
Behind the processor sports all the nice golden pins. There are 754 pins in total on the AMD Athlon 64 line with their current Socket 754 motherboard line which sports a single channel DDR memory interface.
Stock Cooling Solution – I just want to add a portion on the stock cooler that is included with the retail portion of AMD Athlon 3000+ processors. The stock cooler that was included with my package was that of a copper base. AMD has also gone with a quieter fan, which is always nice. If you have had a retail cooler from the past Athlon XP line, you will know that the stock cooler was not of good quality and used a low profile loud fan. That is now all changed with the AMD Athlon 64 line of retail processors. The base of our cooling solution wasn’t all that great though. It looks kind of ugly. You can easily see the base being scratched up and not the nicest. Some lapping is probably required for making best use of the cooler. The fins are not copper but aluminum like? And are spread out evenly for optimum heat efficiency. Installing the heatsink on the AMD K8 line also has been improved and now is easier than ever. You can follow our installation guide here .
Well back to the original AMD Athlon 64 3000+ review.
The new AMD Athlon 64 line of processors is based on an entirely new core and features more power than before. Some of the new things I want to talk about are the following:
Advanced Instruction Sets – The AMD Athlon 64 series of CPU’s provide all the current advanced CPU Instruction Sets such as MMX, 3DNow! , SSE, SSE2, and X86-64 (this is basically tells you 64-bit).
Improved Memory Controller – The memory controller is now built inside the CPU. This is a huge step in the processor industry. It provides better performance by allowing the CPU to manage the memory controller thus allowing less latency, which provides more effective performance. AMD is the first one to do this. Note: AMD Athlon 64 line of current processors (3000+, 3200+ and 3400+) based on the Socket 754 have only a Single-Channel memory bus compared to the dual-channel memory bus of the bigger brother version, FX, this undoubtedly be a bottleneck in terms of performance. Hence the term single verses dual. The higher number is obviously better.
HyperTransport (No more Northbridge) – Enter the HyperTransport often known as HT but don’t mix that up with Hyper-Threading. AMD’s new HyperTransport is basically the new chip that handles everything from working with the memory controller, IDE access, data transfer and much more. The HyperTransport is one 16-bit link supporting speeds up to 800 MHz (1600 MT/s) or 3.2 Gigabytes/s in each direction. With the HT, you really don’t have any FSB anymore. It’s the HT that you have.
32-bit and 64-bit support – Here is the good news. You can execute both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. You have the freedom of using today’s current software and using tomorrow’s 64-bit applications. You are basically future-proofing yourself in a sense for soon where there will be 64-bit optimized applications to run. Think about this move as the ATI Radeon 9700 did for ATI. If you look today, the Radeon 9700 Pro is still holding strong against the big boys. It’s pretty much the same type of thing.
Testing will consist of a couple of benchmarks (some new, some done before). These benchmarks include…
Overclocking results – The maximum stable overclock I was able to clock with the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ was close to 2200MHz. A close 200Mhz gain is not too shabby. Good thing is that I know it can go higher as the motherboard was holding it back from going any higher (no PCI/AGP locks).
The AMD Athlon 64 3000+ is one fast processor. Throughout testing, everything was stable and very smooth. Compared to my old Athlon XP processor, the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ provided smooth games than before (before was jerky), applications opened faster and provided smooth processor execution, and the practical things I do were way faster. CPU temperatures also surprised me because they were right there with the previous generation of temperatures. Cool’n’Quiet is a brilliant technology that has been kept far to long away from desktop system and the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ breaks that mould. With the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ featuring great performance, a great price, great features, I can’t say enough of how much I really like this processor. It even overclocks relatively good also.
If you are on the market for purchasing a new relatively cheap priced system which gives bang for the buck, then go for the AMD Athlon 64 3000+. It can be found as low as $200U.S. If that isn’t low enough for you, I don’t know what is.
Pros and Cons