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AMD Sempron 3600+ 2.0GHz Socket AM2 Processor Review

AMD Sempron 3600+ 2.0GHz Socket AM2 Processor Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The AMD Sempron processor has received little press, but that hasn't stopped it from snagging a large portion of the mainstream market.
 88% Rating:   
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD Sep 11 2006   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD Sempron 3600+

Behind the Sempron 3600+ - technologies

Since the AMD Sempron 3600+ processor shares the same manufacturing process with its Socket AM2 Athlon64 cousins, it should technically share all the same technologies as well. The Socket AM2 version of the 2.0GHz Sempron processor supports X86-64 bit tech, non-executable bit (NX Bit) and an integrated DDR2 memory controller. The only notable technology that's absent from the Sempron 3600+ is AMD's 'Virtualization technology.' That omission isn't much of an issue since Virtualization is a workstation feature that is really not even that widely used at the moment. For the entry level market it is really not required.

32/64 Bit Technology:

64-bit processors have registers that hold 64-bit values, double that of 32-bit processors. This translates to the ability to hold larger integers (numbers) in a single register, making operations involving massive numbers considerably faster. It also leads to more precision in floating point numbers, except that current 32-bit processors already support up to 80-bit floating-point values in a single register. The major advantage of 64-bit computing is not in mathematical speed though, but in the amount of memory that a 64-bit processor is able to address, and consequentially use.

Memory addresses are run through the processor just like any other value, meaning they are stored in the registers. The largest integer number a 32-bit register can hold is around -2.1 to +2.1 billion. This translates to a maximum of 4GB of physical memory.

Various work-arounds have been invented for the server market to transcend this limitation, but all sacrifice performance. 64-bit registers can effectively address up to 16 terabytes of physical memory which, to paraphrase Bill Gates, ought to be enough for anybody.

It should be noted at this point that 64-bit computing is specific to the operation of the processor and the software that is feeding it, not the other computer hardware in a system. There are no special '64-bit' computer memory chips or other peripherals. The AMD Athlon 64 processor uses the same PC hardware as conventional 32-bit systems.

Viruses, take that!

The second newish feature is support for the non-executable bit (or NX Bit), a form of system security which attempts to end the possibility of buffer overflow attacks - where malicious software overloads an area of memory then uses the resulting memory hole to execute alien programs. It does this by restricting which areas of memory can execute application code. The NX Bit feature must be supported by both the operating system and the processor.

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes support for it, and we saw this technology in action first hand when it interrupted our running of the Business Winstone 2004 test.

Apparently the benchmark attempts to run active X controls within an Internet Explorer Window as part of the test, and the system flagged and halted this process. We've never had any problem with this technology using Athlon 64 processors which also support it, but it's good to know the feature is working.

AMD's DDR-2 Memory Controller:

All socket AM2 processors incorporate a DDR-2 memory controller, with an effective dual channel memory bandwidth of up to 12.8 GB/sec when running dual channel with DDR2-800 memory.

A single hypertransport link of up to 8GB/sec between the CPU and motherboard core logic is supported, so the total CPU bandwidth rounds out to as much as 20.8 GB/s. The Athlon64 FX and X2 series of AM2 processors will support unbuffered DDR-2 667 & 800 memory (PC2-5300 and PC2-6400 respectively), whereas Athlon64 and Sempron AM2 chips will operate with more affordable DDR-2 667 RAM. The Sempron 3600+ has no difficulty running its memory controller with DDR2-800 RAM, in case you were wondering.

With the dual channel DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) installed, the memory subsystem will provide up to 10.6GB/s worth of bandwidth at any given time, almost double the bandwidth than the single core Sempron 3600+ actually needs. The Athlon64/Sempron architecture uses a memory controller embedded onto the CPU core, so it also operates at the CPU clock speed. In other words, there is no delay in moving data from the processor to the memory controller. Thus the memory controller on the Sempron 3600+ runs at a full 2.0 GHz

While the added bandwidth that DDR-2 RAM provides is certainly not going to hinder things, the 2.0GHz Sempron 3600+ processor still as a very big sweet tooth for higher quality lower latency DDR-2 RAM. In fact, memory latency has more of an impact on the socket AM2 processor than memory bandwidth does... as you'll shortly see. First though, let's have a closer look at the socket AM2 heatsink retention frame and what it means to high end heatsinks all over the world. If this is old news to you, jump ahead to the overclocking section below.

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Contents of Article: AMD Sempron 3600+
 Pg 1.  AMD Sempron 3600+ 2.0GHz Socket AM2 Processor Review
 Pg 2.  2.0GHz AM2 Sempron 3600+
 Pg 3.  Sempron Performance-Per-Watt Metrics
 Pg 4.  Sempron AM2 System Power Draw Tests
 Pg 5.  — Behind the Sempron 3600+ - technologies
 Pg 6.  Socket AM2 Heatsinks and Retention Frame
 Pg 7.  Sempron Overclocking!
 Pg 8.  Pure 32-bit Benchmarks: SYSMark 2004
 Pg 9.  Pure 32 bit Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra 2005
 Pg 10.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: Maya Render Test, Super Pi
 Pg 11.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: PCMark05, 3DMark05
 Pg 12.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: 3DMark06, Doom 3
 Pg 13.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: Quake 4, FarCry
 Pg 14.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 15.  64 Bit Benchmarks: ScienceMark 2
 Pg 16.  64 Bit Benchmarks: Mini-GZip, DiVX Encoding
 Pg 17.  CPU Load Benchmarks: 3DMark05, Doom 3
 Pg 18.  Multi-Threaded Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 19.  Sempron 3600+ breaking the low performance ceiling

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   02 / 21 / 2020 | 11:06AM
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