AMD Athlon 64 3800+: Probing the Venice Core

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Our Summary & Conclusion

Summary: Throughout all of our experiments, the new .09 micron, Venice core-based Athlon 64 3800+ outperformed the .13 micron, Newcastle-based CPU. The Venice core was able to overclock higher, with less voltage, it ran cooler in every test configuration, and whether idling or running with a 100% load, our test system used less power when the Venice core-based processor was installed.

AMD's new Venice core is a welcome revision to the Athlon 64 line of processors, and hints to the progress AMD has made on their .09 micron manufacturing process. Not only does this refinement to the A64 core require less power, run cooler and overclock well, but AMD fixes a few issues that were present in the previous revision as well. If you remember from page one, the Venice core now incorporates SSE3 multimedia instruction sets, and its integrated memory controller has been updated as well.  Rev. E Athlon 64 processors, which are based on the Venice core, will now work with mismatched DIMMs installed on the same memory channel and will also function when both memory channels are fully populated with double-sided DIMMs. From a performance and feature standpoint, the Venice core is superior, when compared to its older counterparts.

Rev. E Athon 64 processors, however, are currently somewhat more expensive than Newcastle or Winchester based processors. The price different isn't huge, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5% - 15%, but it's definitely there. In time though, we're sure the price of Rev. E Athlon 64s will drop accordingly. Should you want to stay on the cutting edge, just be prepared to pay a small premium for a new processor based on the Venice core.

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