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Appeared on: Monday, July 18, 2005
AMD Athlon64 4000+


1. Introduction

AMD, one of the top CPU manufacturers, was founded back in 1969. Since then, AMD has shipped more than 300 million PC processors worldwide. Especially during the last few years, with the AMD 64-bit architecture, it seems that this is the only manufacturer that can shake the domination of Intel in CPU sales.

In this review, we will be testing the AMD Athlon64 4000+ processor. This is the high-end processor from the AMD Athlon64 family line. Of course, there are even more powerful processors, like the AMD Athlon FX or some new dual core processors. However, as new CPUs are released onto the market, older ones such as the AMD64 4000+ become cheaper. This is why the AMD64 4000+ has become very popular among PC enthusiasts. And after all, the processing power of a dual core processor is not needed by a regular PC user, at least not yet.

So let's have a closer look....

The AMD Athlon64 4000+ is based on the 939 socket, as are all the processors of this product series. The main difference between this processor and all other Athlon64 processors is the L2 cache. As you can see in the table below, only the 4000+ and the 3700+ CPUs have the luxury of a 1MB L2 cache, offering enhanced processing performance with large workloads.

Model Number

Frequency

L2 Cache

4000+

2.4GHz

1024KB

3800+

2.4GHz

512KB

3700+

2.4GHz

1024KB

3500+

2.2GHz

512KB

3400+

2.4GHz

512KB

3200+

2.2GHz

512KB

3000+

2.0GHz

512KB

- Features

There are a lot of new features introduced with the AMD 64 series. But other than the larger L2 cache, the 4000+ has nothing more to offer over all the other 64-bit processors.

- Specifications

CPU Name AMD Athlon 64 4000+
Codename ClawHammer
CPU Core Frequency 2.40GHz (12x200 multiplier)
Built-In antivirus support(SP2 required) Yes
Simultaneous 32- & 64-bit computing Yes
L1 Cache (Instruction + Data) 128KB (64KB + 64KB)
L2 Cache 1024KB
HyperTransport Yes, one 16x16 link @ 2000 MHz
HyperTransport I/O Bandwidth Up to 8 GB/s
Integrated DDR Memory Controller Yes
Memory Controller Width 128-bit
Memory Supported PC3200, PC2700, PC2100 and PC1600 DDR unbuffered memory
Memory Bandwidth Up to 6.4 GB/s
Total Processor-to-system Bandwidth (HTT plus memory bandwidth) Up to 14.4 GB/s
Process Technology 0.13µ, Strained Silicon-on-insulator technology
Packaging 939-pin organic micro PGA
Thermal Design Power 89W
Die Size 144 mm2
Number of Transistors Approximately 68.5 million


2. Test system

Here's a rundown of our testbed used in the testing of the AMD Athlon64 4000+ processor:

System Specifications:
CPU: AMD Athlon64 4000+
Cooler: stock
Case: Antec
Motherboard: Asus A8V Deluxe
Memory: 2X512 MBOCZ DDR PC2-3200 Platinum (dual channel)
VGA: Asus N6600GT
Hard Disk Drive: WD800JD 80GB 7200RPM
OS: Windows XP Pro SP2
Drivers: 71.89
DirectX: v9.0c

Benchmarks & Applications used


3. SiSoft Sandra 2005

SiSoftware Sandra is a 32-bit and 64-bit Windows system analyser that includes benchmarking, testing and listing modules. It also provides information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, ODBC Connections, USB2, Firewire, etc.

The CPU Arithmetic benchmark tests how your CPU stacks up against other typical combinations:

Multi-Processor (SMP) support for up to 32/64 CPUs & SMT.
- Test takes about 20/30 seconds on P6-class PCs.
- Test is repeated 3 to 5 times to get a realistic result.
- Results outside the confidence limits (5%) are discarded.
- Command Line Switch: CPUAABench
- OS (Win32) Support: Windows 2000, XP, 2003
- OS (Win32 CE) Support: PocketPC 2000/2002/2003, SmartPhone 2002, 2003
- OS (Win64) Support: Windows XP/2003

Sandra's CPU arithmetic benchmark suite uses 2 famous benchmarks (Dhrystone and Whetstone) for stress testing the processor. Also, it includes a new version of the Whetstone test that makes use of a processor's SSE2 instructions to show the performance boost an application might gain should it be optimized for SSE2. Unfortunately, this does not always represent true real-life performance, but is useful for comparing the speed of various CPUs.

The Dhrystone benchmark showed that the 4000+ processor was a little slower than all other processors in this comparison chart. However, the Whetstone FPU test seems to produce more encouraging results, with the 4000+ clocking in just above the 3800+ and below the FX-55 CPU.

The CPU Multi-Media benchmark tests how your CPU stacks up against other typical combinations:

- Multi-Processor (SMP) support for up to 32/64 CPUs & SMT.
- Test takes about 20 seconds on P6-class PCs.
- Test is repeated 3 to 5 times to get a realistic result.
- Results outside the confidence limits (5%) are discarded.
- Command Line Switch: CPUMMBench
- Requirements: MMX (Enhanced), 3DNow! (Enhanced) or SSE(2/3) recommended
- OS (Win32) Support: Windows 2000, XP, 2003
- OS (Win64) Support: Windows XP/2003

The test has two parts:

Integer test - using integer data:
- MP SSE3 is used for better performance if supported.
- MP SSE2 is used for better performance if supported.
- MP SSE (Streaming SIMD) is used for better performance if supported.
- MP Enhanced MMX is used for better performance if supported.
- MP MMX is used for better performance if supported.
- MP ALU is used otherwise.
Floating-point test - using floating point data:
- MP SSE3 is used for better performance if supported.
- MP SSE2 is used for better performance if supported.
- MP SSE (Streaming SIMD) is used for better performance if supported.
- MP 3DNow! Enhanced is used for better performance if supported.
- MP 3DNow! is used for better performance if supported.
- MP FPU is used is used otherwise.

This test involves the generation of Mandelbrot Set fractals that are used to realistically describe and generate natural objects such as mountains or clouds. By using various multi-media extensions (MMX), 3DNow! and SSE(2/3) better performance is achieved.

The Intel P4 660 CPU records a major lead in performance, but this is due to the use of SSE3 commands.


4. PCMark04

PCMark04 is an application-based benchmark and a premium tool for measuring overall PC performance. It uses portions of real applications instead of including very large applications or using specifically created code. This allows PCMark04 to be a smaller installation as well as to report very accurate results. As far as possible, PCMark04 uses public domain applications whose source code can be freely examined by any user.

PCMark04 includes 4 categorized suites for benchmarking your computer. These include CPU, Graphics, Memory and a Hard Disk Drive benchmark. In our case, we selected only the CPU test suite.

With PCMark04, the AMD Athlon64 4000+ showed better performance than the 3800+, as expected, but the FX-55 dominates over both the 4000+ and the 3800+.

The test results, more analytically:

  AMD 4000+ AMD 3800+
File Compression (MB/sec) 3.3 3.3
File Encryption (MB/sec)

37.3

37.2
File Uncompression (MB/sec) 29.2 28.9
Image Processing (MPixels/sec) 14.7 14.6
Grammar Check (KB/sec) 6.7 6.5
File Decryption (MB/sec) 74.3 74.2
Audio Conversion (KB/sec) 3172.3 3171.9
WMV Video Compression (FPS) 56.8 56.2
DivX Video Compression (FPS) 70.3 71.8

In all these tests, the 4000+ leads the 3800+, but only by a small amount.


5. 3DMark03

3DMark is a widely used and accepted benchmark that stresses the DirectX performance of a VGA card. For testing the performance of each card we use the 4 game benchmark 3DMark offers. The first is a DirectX 7 game, the second and the third use DirectX 8 and the last one stresses graphics in DirectX 9. A very strong point of 3DMark is that its VGA card measuring does not require a lot of CPU power. So the resulting fps are a good reference of a VGA card's rendering performance.

The supremacy in performance with 3D graphics over the Intel CPU can be easily seen in the graph above. The P4 660 and the AMD 3800+ reported similar performance, while the 4000+ approaches the FX-55 CPU.


6. 3DMark05

3DMark05 is concentrated on measuring the performance of the DirectX 9 generation of 3D hardware using the technology of next generation games. Earlier 3DMark versions have usually been launched with the introduction of a new Microsoft DirectX version and with the introduction of a new hardware generation. This has somewhat limited how much 3DMark has utilized the new hardware features. At the time of this writing, DirectX 9 was introduced soon two years ago, and there is now DX9 generation hardware available all the way from the very high end to value and mobile parts. 3DMark05 can thereby utilize the features of DirectX 9 to a 100%. In fact, DirectX 9 hardware is required for every game test of 3DMark05, resulting in the ultimate tool for DirectX 9 hardware performance comparison.

Nothing strange here. All tests were done with the same VGA card, to eliminate differences in performance that might be caused by the VGA card. As expected, the 4000+ is slower than the FX-55 and faster than the 3800+. It should be noted that both the 3800+ and 4000+ are clocked at 2400MHz, while the FX-55 is clocked at 2600MHz.


7. Prime95

Prime95 is basically a Mersenne prime number discovery program. It's a great example of Distributed Computing, but it's most loved by overclockers for its powerful system stress-testing and benchmarking abilities. It can torture-test your CPU to produce its maximum heat or spit out any errors due to excessive overclocking. Also, using the blend test, it can consume all your physical memory and run error-checking tests on your modules to ensure their quality. However, right now, we're mostly interested in it for its benchmarking capabilities.

Here are the times for the Intel Pentium 4 660, AMD Athlon 64 FX-55, AMD Athlon 3800+ and AMD Athlon 4000+ (less is better).

It is strange that the 4000+ reported the worst performance of all these CPUs. However, it seems that the performance of the 3800+ and the 4000+ have many similarities.


8. Half Life 2

Half life 2 is no doubt the most anticipated pc game of all times. Gamers having the excellence of Half Life 1 in mind, as well as the remarkable E3 demo preview, have been anxiously waiting for the much delayed release of HL2.

Physics - From pebbles to water to 2-ton trucks respond as expected, as they obey the laws of mass, friction, gravity, and buoyancy.

Graphics - Source's shader-based renderer, like the one used at Pixar to create movies such as Toy Story® and Monster's, Inc.®, creates the most beautiful and realistic environments ever seen in a video game.

AI - Neither friends nor enemies charge blindly into the fray. They can assess threats, navigate tricky terrain, and fashion weapons from whatever is at hand.

You want to get the best out of your game? Get AMD! The Intel processor was left way behind by the AMD processors. FPS values for the 4000+ were only slightly lower than the FX-55.


9. Overclocking

In order to overclock the CPU, we manually started step by step to increase the HTT, beginning from the default 200 (2400MHz core speed), without messing around with extra CPU voltage. We checked the stability of the system with Prime95. When Prime95 started giving errors, we increased, by small increments, the voltage in order to stabilise the system. The highest value that we could get with no errors reported from the CPU was 227MHz HTT/ 2724.5MHz core speed.

- The Tests

Way above the FX-55. For some enthusiast gamers, overclocking this CPU to levels above the more expensive FX-55 CPU is very tempting. And overclocking it will surely improve the performance of the system, but we strongly advise against doing it unless you really need to.

Increasing the core voltage was necessary, and by doing this, the temperature also increased. Always check the temperatures that you get if you want to overclock this CPU. We used the Thermalright XP-90C cooling system and we got 57°C under heavy load, with the CPUs threshold being at 72°C.


10. Conclusion

The AMD Athlon64 4000+ performed very well in all our tests, but as expected cannot compete with the performance of the FX-55. However, now that new products are being released by AMD, former processors like the 4000+, are expected to get cheaper and more attractive for regular users.

The 64-bit architecture is a major advantage and AMD aims to offer it in all its processors while maintaining backward compatibility with all 32-bit software.

Hardcore gamers and overclockers will not be able to leave the BIOS alone with the standard values. In case you need even more processing power, the Athlon64 4000+ will not let you down. Overclocking this CPU boosted the performance to levels higher than the performance of the highly prized FX-55.

The AMD Athlon64 4000+ is priced at around €420.00.



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