AMD Athlon 64 3400+

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The AMD Athlon 64 3400+ - Page 2

The AMD Athlon 64 3400+:
The Athlon 64 Gets Its First Speed Bump...

By, Marco Chiappetta
January 6, 2004

We used H.Oda's WCPUID utility to get some detailed information about the Athlon 64 3400+'s feature set and actual clock speed.  The screenshots below are of WCPUID's general CPU information page, the Cache information page and the Standard and Extended Feature Flag pages...

The Athlon64 3400+ Exposed
"AMD Inside"

WCPUID CPU ID
 

CACHE INFORMATION
 

STANDARD FEATURE FLAGS
 

EXTENDED FEATURE FLAGS
 

The general information page shows the Athlon 64 3400+ running at its default clock speed of 2.20GHz (11x200MHz), or 2194MHz with our motherboard to be exact.  Just like the Athlon 64 3200+, the 3400+ is equipped with 64K of 2-Way set associative Instruction L1 cache and 64K of 2-Way set associative data L1 cache. This processor also has 1024K (1MB) of 16-Way set associative L2 cache, bringing the total amount of full-speed, on-die cache to 1152K.  The previous generation of Athlon XP processors based on the Barton core had "only" 512K of L2 cache.  The Standard Feature flags show the Athlon 64 supporting SSE2 instructions, just like the P4, and the Extended Feature flags report the obvious support for x86-64 Long Mode (among other things).  Now all we need is Microsoft to ship the 64-bit Edition of Windows XP, and we'll have true 64-bit computing at out fingertips.  Linux fans, however, can already enjoy the benefits of 64-bit computing by using an x86-64 compatible distro, like the one available from Suse.

Overclocking The A64 3400+
How Much Headroom?

ATHLON 64 3400+
2408MHZ (11X219)
WCPUID

ATHLON 64 3400+
2408MHZ (11X219)
CPU

ATHLON 64 3400+
2408MHZ (11X219)
Memory

ATHLON 64 3400+
2408MHZ (11X219)
Multimedia

Regular HotHardware readers know, we rarely leave well enough alone here in the labs.  Yes, this is the fastest 754 pin Athlon 64 to come out of AMD's Dresden Fab, but you know as well as we do, there are always a few more MHz available for the overclockers willing to push their CPU past its stock speed.  As we mentioned earlier, the Athlon 64 3400+'s default clock speed is 2.2GHz. Due to the fact that the memory controller has been integrated onto the die with the Athlon 64 architecture, it too runs at 2.2GHz. As you raise the speed of the external clock generator used on the motherboard to derive the processor's operating frequency, the CPU and memory controller are simultaneously overclocked.  The end results are similar to those of more "traditional" systems that have their memory controller integrated into the Northbridge - the CPU and Memory run at higher speeds.  We set out to find the upper limit of our particular sample, but had somewhat limited success. 

We raised the core voltage to 1.6v (from 1.5v) and increased the speed of our motherboard's clock generator, in 1MHz increments, until the test system was no longer stable.  We ended up hitting a top speed of 2408MHx (11x219MHz), an increase of 208MHz, or 9.5%.  However, we feel this speed was limited by our Shuttle FN85 nForce 3 motherboard and not the CPU itself.  At 2408MHz, after a few hours of folding, and a set of SANDRA benchmarks, the CPU was running at 55°C and seemed completely stable.  If we bumped the clock generator up only 1MHz higher than our 219MHz peak to 220MHz, however, the system would no longer post.  We tried lowering the speed of the HyperTransport link, lowering the speed of the memory and raising the chipset, core, AGP and memory voltages, but we simply could not break through the 219MHz barrier.  Perhaps with a more "overclocker friendly" motherboard, we'll have better luck.  We'll keep you posted.

The HotHardware Test Systems
Dual-DDR For All!

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS:

We tried to ensure that all of our test systems were configured as similarly as possible for this review.  Both of the Athlon 64 systems, the P4 system and the Athlon XP system were equipped with identical hardware, with the obvious exceptions being the motherboards and processors.  The same applied to the Athlon 64 FX-51 system, but because it required registered DIMMs, the memory was different as well.  The video cards, hard drives, driver versions (where applicable) and OS configurations were identical.  Before we started benchmarking, we enter the system BIOS and set each board to their "Optimized Defaults" We then configured our RAM to run at 200MHz (DDR400), with the timings set by the SPD.  The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows XP Professional (SP1) was installed.  When the installation was complete, we hit the Windows Update site and downloaded all of the available updates, with the exception of the ones related to Windows Messenger and Media Player 9. (Note: Media Player 9 and WME9 had to be installed after the initial benchmarks to complete the PCMark04 tests.)

Then we installed all of the necessary drivers, and removed Windows Messenger from the system altogether.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were disabled as well, and we setup a 768MB permanent page file on the same partition as the Windows installation.  Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drives and ran all of the tests.

 
SYSTEM 1:
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.0GHz)
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.2GHz)

Shuttle FN85 Motherboard
   nForce3 Pro 150 Chipset
2x512MB Kingston PC3500
   CL2 - HyperX DIMMS
GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
On-Board 10/100 Ethernet
On-Board Audio
WD "Raptor" 36GB Hard Drive
   10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP1
Detonator FX 51.75 Drivers
DirectX 9.0b
 

 
SYSTEM 2:
Intel Pentium 4
3.2GHz Processor

DFI LANPARTY Pro875 Motherboard
   Intel 875P Chipset
2x512MB Kingston PC3500
   CL2 - HyperX DIMMS
GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
On-Board 10/100 Ethernet
On-Board Audio
WD "Raptor" 36GB Hard Drive
   10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP1
Detonator FX 51.75 Drivers
DirectX 9.0b
 

 
SYSTEM 3:
AMD Athlon FX-51
2.2GHz Processor

Asus SK8N Motherboard
   nForce3 Pro 150 Chipset
2x512MB Infineon PC3200
   CL2.5 ECC Registered
GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
On-Board 10/100 Ethernet
On-Board Audio
WD "Raptor" 36GB Hard Drive
   10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP1
Detonator FX 51.75 Drivers
DirectX 9.0b
 

 
SYSTEM 4:
AMD Athlon XP 3200+
2.2GHz Processor

Asus A7N8X Motherboard
   nForce2 Ultra 200 Chipset
2x512MB Kingston PC3500
   CL2 - HyperX DIMMS
GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
On-Board 10/100 Ethernet
On-Board Audio
WD "Raptor" 36GB Hard Drive
   10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP1
Detonator FX 51.75 Drivers
DirectX 9.0b
 

Benchmarks & Comparisons With SiSoft SANDRA
Synthetic Testing

We began our testing with a few synthetic tests courtesy of SiSoftware's SANDRA 2004.  SANDRA, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant, consists of a set of informational and diagnostic utilities designed to test PC hardware. It isn't only a tool for benchmarking though, SANDRA also provides a host of other useful information about your hardware and operating system. We ran four of the built-in sub-system tests that comprise the SANDRA 2004 suite (CPU, Multimedia, Memory and Cache). All of these tests were run with the Athlon 64 3400+ set to its default clock speed of 2.2GHz.  We've included numbers from an Athlon 64 3200+ clocked at 2GHz for the sake of comparison.
 


ATHLON 64 3200+
CPU TEST
 

ATHLON 64 3200+
MEMORY TEST
 

ATHLON 64 3200+
CACHE TEST
 

ATHLON 64 3200+
MULTIMEDIA TEST
 

ATHLON 64 3400+
CPU TEST
 

ATHLON 64 3400+
MEMORY TEST
 

ATHLON 64 3400+
CACHE TEST
 

ATHLON 64 3400+
MULTIMEDIA TEST
 

As expected, the Athlon 64 3400+ surpassed the Athlon 64 3200+ by about 10% in the CPU, Cache and Multimedia tests, thanks to it 200MHz (or 10%) clock speed advantage.  SANDRA's Cache and Memory benchmark show the 3400+ performing on par with the similarly clocked Opteron 148, but not quite on the level of the Pentium 4, especially with test block sizes in the 128K-512K range.  The Memory Bandwidth benchmark has the 3200+ and 3400+ performing at virtually the same level, which is to be expected with the system memory clocked at identical speeds.

So, How Fast is it?

Tags:  AMD, Athlon, Athlon 64, AM

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