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AMD's AM2 Platform: Athlon 64 FX-62 Processor Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD
Tagged:

DDR2 Ratios and AM2 Processors

New DDR2 Memory Ratios


One interesting aspect that turned up during our testing and initial information about the AM2 processors from AMD was their change in the way the memory multipliers are handled.  While DDR2-800 speeds are only officially support on two models (the FX-62 and X2 5000+), you can expect users to be setting the memory dividers differently if they can find a way to do so in the motherboards BIOS'.  What we found though was that not all DDR2 memory speeds are created equally.


The basic formula for finding the final DDR2 memory speed on a system configuration is as follows: Reference clock x Multiplier = Processor speed / Memory Divider = Memory DIMM Speed


So, for a 2.8 processor, like our FX-62 sample we have here, the math is: 200 MHz x 14 = 2800 MHz / 7 = 400 MHz DDR2 or DDR2-800.  However, for the 5000+ processor, which runs at 2.6 GHz, it also uses a 7x memory divisor, resulting in a slightly lower 371.42 MHz clock or DDR2-742 speed.  This table below offers a few other examples:













































CPU Speed


Multiplier


Memory Divisor


Resulting DDR2 Speed


2.0 GHz


10x


5


400 MHz


2.2 GHz


11x


6


366.66 MHz


2.4 GHz


12x


6


400 MHz


2.6 GHz


13x


7


371.42 MHz


2.8 GHz


14x


7


400 MHz


3.0 GHz


15x


8


375 MHz


3.2 GHz


16x


8


400 MHz


You can see that some of the AM2 processors will have DIMM speeds below what the motherboard BIOS settings are actually telling them they are getting and this will likely cause some confustion among users.  We will have to wait and see how the performance numbers show this difference will affect the end user. 


The Rest of the AM2 Lineup


As I mentioned before, though we only have the FX-62 processor for testing, a total of 15 different AM2 processors are launching today under the FX, X2, Athlon 64 and Sempron brands.  This handy-dandy table below details their specs, cache sizes, voltages, transistor count and prices. 





































































































































































Model Number


Freq


L2 cache


DDR2 Spec


Voltage


Max TDP


Die Size


Transistors


Price $


FX-62


2.8 GHz


1MB x 2


DDR2-800


1.35-1.40v


125W


230 mm^2


227.4 M


1031


X2 5000+


2.6 GHz


512KB x 2


DDR2-800


1.30-1.35v


89W


183 mm^2


153.8 M


696


X2 4800+


2.4 GHz


1MB x 2


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


89W*


230 mm^2


227.4 M


645


X2 4600+


2.4 GHz


512KB x 2


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


89W*


183 mm^2


153.8 M


558


X2 4400+


2.2 GHz


1MB x 2


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


89W*


230 mm^2


227.4 M


470


X2 4200+


2.2 GHz


512KB x 2


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


89W*


183 mm^2


153.8 M


365


X2 4000+


2.0 GHz


1MB x 2


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


89W*


230 mm^2


227.4 M


328


X2 3800+


2.0 GHz


512KB x 2


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


89W**


183 mm^2


153.8 M


303


A64 3800+


2.4 GHz


512KB


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


62W


103 mm^2


81.1 M


290


A64 3500+


2.2 GHz


512KB


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


62W**


103 mm^2


81.1 M


189


Sempron 3600+


2.0 GHz


256KB


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


62W


103 mm^2


81.1 M


123


Sempron 3500+


2.0 GHz


128KB


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


62W


103 mm^2


81.1 M


109


Sempron 3400+


1.8 GHz


256KB


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


62W**


103 mm^2


81.1 M


97


Sempron 3200+


1.8 GHz


128KB


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


62W**


103 mm^2


81.1 M


87


Sempron 3000+


1.6 GHz


256KB


DDR2-667


1.30-1.35v


62W**


103 mm^2


81.1 M


77


* = Available in a Energy Efficient model @ 65W TDP
** = Available in Energy Efficient / Small Form Factor model @ 35W TDP


AM2 CPUs will be available in prices ranging from $77 all the way up to over $1000!  This all encompassing strategy will surely mean an end to the S939 platform rather quickly, though AMD of course is promising to support it as long as their partners demand.  That being said, there will be no more S939 processor releases period; all users looking for a new system will want to put the AM2 option at the top of their list if upgradability is a concern at all. 

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