Athlon 64 X2 3800+ tested: ‘game over’ for Intel?

Recently, AMD launched a dual-core processor that is affordable even for mere mortals. The flagship products of AMD and Intel are currently sold for prices of up to a thousand euros, while the new AMD descendant currently has to fetch $354 ex works – for that money two cores are supplied, each with 512KB L2 cache and at 2GHz. to spin. ExtremeTech takes a closer look at the X2 3800+ taken and concluded that this chip consolidates AMD’s dominance in the games market, while the processor competes quite well in other areas. For comparison, four processors in comparable systems were subjected to identical tests. The Pentium D 820 is the only one that is somewhat comparable to the 3800+: this Intel also has two cores, and the price is, at about 250 euros, even lower than that of the 3800+. The other three chips are AMD’s FX-55 and Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and Intel’s Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 840, which are two to three times more expensive than the 3800+.

The SPECapc 3ds max test shows a wide lead for AMD, and even the 3800+ is about twenty percent faster than the best Intel. In a 3ds max render test, the 3800 + still has to give way to the Extreme Edition, but with a render in LightWave 8, the new dual-core from AMD is again more than twenty percent ahead; even 44% compared to Intel’s D 820. Multithreading is an advantage in these applications in any case: the D 820 also performs equally or better than the FX-55 in rendering. When rendering with POV-Ray, which is single-threaded, the FX-55 gets its gram. The cheaper dual-cores need up to thirty percent extra time here. Incidentally, the expensive 4800+ performs quite consistently ten to twenty percent better than its new brother, which at least raises questions about the difference in price. When creating media files, it is once again clear that the 3800+ comes along well: in an After Effects and a WME test, the FX-55 is beaten and in making DivX files, the 3800+ does just as well as the 820 D But while the Extreme Edition is ten percent behind in the same DivX test, the FX-55 clocks again a 44% lower time than the 3800+.

But it is the games in which AMD hits rock hard. In four games tested – Doom 3, Painkiller, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Flight Simulator 2004 – all AMDs consistently outperform all Intels, and not by narrow margins. The fact that the 3800+ has to give way to the Intel in some 3Dmark05 tests will be little consolation for that manufacturer. Even in the various multitasking scenarios that ExtremeTech comes up with, even the small AMD distances itself from both Intels. Again AMD leaves it alone in the synthetic PCMark04 tests, but here too that loss will probably be a concern for the company. The only striking feature is the performance of the FX-55 when that chip has to encode a WMV while Flight Simulator 2004 is being played: the user has to make do with about five frames per second, where the 820 D gets 25 and the other chips , including the single-core Intel Extreme Edition, achieve over 35 fps.

AMD’s dual-core chips had only one drawback, the site writes, and that was the price. That argument hasn’t really been trashed – the 3800+ is more affordable than cheap – but we could be hearing a lot more from this chip. Gamers with a limited budget have at least one option left, AMD’s lead is sharply marked. Intel has managed to offer the cheapest dual-core processor, and the 820 D is only slightly behind in several areas. However, if AMD succeeds in lowering the price of the 3800+ a bit, Intel will have a hard time – especially since the AMD consumes relatively little power, the TPR is 89W against 110W for the 4800+. That in itself isn’t terribly important, but it does suggest that this new duck in the dual-core bite can be overclocked into a hefty swan – so the story will undoubtedly be continued.