AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 & 3800+: Socket 939 Has Arrived

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Platform, Preliminary Info & Overclocking

 

We tested the new Socket 939 Athlon 64 FX-53 and Athlon 64 3800+ with a compliment of high-end parts, including an MSI MS-6702E motherboard, powered by VIA's excellent K8T800 Pro chipset, 1GB of low-latency Corsair PC3200 RAM, a Radeon 9800 Pro and a Western Digital 36GB, 10,000 RPM hard drive.

Socket 939 - A Look at the Platform...
AMD's Latest Equipment

  

  

Here is an "up-close and personal" look at the MSI motherboard, RAM and cooler that accompanied AMD's new flagship processors.  The MSI MS-6702E is loaded with features like 6-Channel audio, SATA RAID, and Gigabit Ethernet.  Courtesy of MSI's proprietary 'Core Cell' chip, this board also has the ability to dynamically overclock your CPU - but to keep things fair, we obviously left this feature disabled.  The board is also fitted with some hefty heatsinks on the MOSFETs in the VRM, and it is obviously equipped with AMD's new 939-pin socket.  The Corsair memory is Rev. 1.2 of their popular TwinX matched PC3200 RAM, and the stock heatsink is the identical Ajigo copper / aluminum model we've seen included with all of AMD's Athlon 64 processors in the past.

  

We haven't had time to properly test this motherboard just yet, but we also wanted to let you know that Socket 939 mobos from a couple of different manufacturers should be shipping immediately, to coincide with AMD's immediate release of their new CPUs today.  The three shots above are of Asus' A8V Deluxe Socket 939 motherboard.  This board is also powered by the VIA K8T800 Pro and sports features like integrated Firewire, RAID, Gigabit Ethernet and even built-in WiFi support.  We'll be covering this board in the weeks ahead and also have a Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce3 250Gb reference board on the way.

AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 & 3800+ Vital Signs
Default & Overclocked Speeds and Temps
 
AMD Athlon 64 3800+
CPU-Z Information
 
AMD Athlon 64 FX-53
CPU-Z Information

Before we began benchmarking these new processors, we fired up CPU-Z to see if there was anything interesting to report.  Other than the Athlon 64 3800+'s 512K of L2 cache, and the fact that CPU-Z reports that packaging as Socket 754, nothing much has changed since we last took a look at the Socket 940 Athlon 64 FX-53 back in March.  As you can see, both of these processors are built using AMD's .13 micron manufacturing process and are similarly clocked at 2.4GHz (12 x 200MHz).

 
AMD Athlon 64 3800+
Overclocked - 2.58GHz
 
AMD Athlon 64 FX-53
Overclocked - 2.62GHz

We also spent some time trying to overclock the new Socket 939 Athlon 64 FX-53 and 3800+.  Unfortunately, we didn't have a very pleasurable experience, but we think the MSI motherboard we used to test these CPUs was the culprit. The MSI board lacked the ability to alter the FX's multiplier (the FX is unlocked completely, while the 3800+'s multiplier should be able to be lowered) and when we tried to lock the AGP and PCI bus speeds in the BIOS, the system wouldn't even POST.  In the end, we were limited to FSB overclocking alone, so we upped the CPU voltage by 10% (1.65v) and raised the FSB until the system was no longer stable. 

Ultimately, we were able to take the new FX-53 up to a respectable 2.62GHz (242MHz, or an 11% increase). Surprisingly, the 3800+ wasn't as cooperative.  We were only able to raise the 3800+'s clock speed to 2.58GHz (158MHz, or a 6.5% increase).  Keep in mind that both of these CPUs are early engineering samples, and we tested them on beta hardware.  With a little time to mature, we expect retail versions of these products to overclock a bit better.  We also believe the MSI motherboard was incorrectly reporting temperatures, so we won't detail operating temperatures here.  Whether we were overclocking or not, the BIOS reported temperatures that hovered in upper 60's (Celsius), which was much higher than we've seen in the past.  Once we've done some more testing with a few different motherboards, we'll be better equipped to report on their operating temperatures.


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