The AMD Athlon XP 2700+ With The nForce 2
The Athlon Gets a BUS Speed Increase & A Killer New Chipset

By, Marco Chiappetta
October 1, 2002

Please take note of our systems specs for both the Intel and AMD test platforms.  Comparable system components were used in each system and a clean installation of Windows XP (with SP1) was setup before each run of benchmarks.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Lots of Horsepower
AMD Platforms:
Athlon XP 2700+
Asus A7N8X - nForce 2 Chipset
512MB of Corsair PC3200 DDR RAM @ CAS2

Athlon XP 2600+
EPoX 8K3A+ VIA KT333 Motherboard
512MB of Corsair PC3200 DDR RAM @ CAS 2

Common Hardware and Software:
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
Western Digital 80GB 7200 RPM HD with 8MB Cache
Windows XP Professional with SP1
Direct X 8.1
ATI Radeon Driver v6.13.10.6178
VIA 4-in-1 Chipset Driver v.4.43 (KT333)

Intel Platforms:
Pentium 4 Northwood Processor at 2.8GHz
Abit TH7II-RAID i850 Motherboard
512MB Kingston PC1066 RDRAM

Pentium 4 Northwood Processor at 2.4GHz
Abit IT7-MAX i845 Motherboard
512MB of Corsair PC3200 DDR RAM @ CAS2

Common Hardware and Software:
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
Western Digital 80GB 7200 RPM HD with 8MB Cache
Windows XP Professional with SP1
Direct X 8.1
ATI Radeon Driver v6.13.10.6178
Intel Chipset Driver v4.00
Inside the Athlon XP 2700+
Higher Core and BUS Speeds


We fired up WCPUID to get an inside look at the Athlon XP 2700+. The actual clockspeed of this new CPU is 2171Hz, with the 2800+ coming in at 2254MHz.  The 2700+'s clock speed is calculated by multiplying the 167MHz front side bus by 13 (13x167=2171).  We also took some shots of the CacheID information, the Standard feature flags and the Enhanced feature flags. The CacheID shot shows the Athlon XP 2700+ still has 64K of 2-Way set associative Instruction L1 cache, 64K of 2-Way set associative data L1 cache and 256K of full speed, 16-Way set associative L2 cache for a total of 384K of effective on-die cache.  In essence, the increased FSB is the only change made to the new Athlon XP 2700+ and 2800+.

Overclocking The New Athlon XP
Nothing Too Crazy...


We didn't have the best luck overclocking our particular Athlon XP 2700+, but don't read too much into our experience though.  We were using a pre-production CPU, with a pre-production motherboard.  We suspect that retail product will hit significantly higher clock speeds than our samples did.  With that said, we still had some luck...

CPU @ 2275MHz

MEM @ 2275MHz

MM @ 2275MHz

CACHE @ 2275MHz

We didn't attempt to unlock our particular CPU, but like the 2600+, unlocking the 2700+'s multiplier should be as simple as bridging the fifth L3 trace.  We overclocked our CPU by raising the FSB until the system was no longer stable.  The top FSB frequency we were able to hit was 175MHz, for a maximum clock speed of 2275MHz.  We're fairly certain our Athlon XP 2700+ would have gone higher and that the pre-production A7N8X motherboard was holding us back.  At a 175MHz FSB, the system was completely stable, but if we raised the FSB to the next step available in the BIOS, 177MHz, the system would not post.  The SANDRA scores above were run while the system was overclocked.  As you can see, the performance was very good, besting every reference system in the CPU and Multimedia benchmarks.

Occasionally, engineering samples, like the CPU and motherboard we're looking at today, have minor issues that should be resolved in the shipping product.  We were informed that our Athlon XP 2700+ had a problem with its internal thermal sensor and would misreport its operating temperature, so we unfortunately won't have any "official" core temperatures to report.  AMD lists the max thermal power of the 2700+ at 68.3W, which is exactly the same as the 2600+, so core temperatures should hover at right about the same levels.  Here are the complete specs...

SiSoft SANDRA Benchmarks
Light Duty Synthetic Benchmarking

SANDRA (the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information and diagnostic utility put out by the good folks at SiSoftware. Besides benchmarking, it provides a host of other information about your installed hardware and operating system. We ran five of the built-in sub-system tests that are part of the SANDRA 2002 suite (CPU, Multimedia, Memory, Cache and File System).

CPU @ 2170MHz
MEM @ 2170MHz
MM @ 2170MHz

CACHE @ 2170MHz


At default clock speeds, the Athlon XP 2700+ and nForce 2 powered Asus A7N8X exhibited excellent performance.  The Athlon simply owned everything in ALU performance. Multimedia performance was also great and memory bandwidth scores were the best we've seen with a "stock" Athlon system.

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