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Product: AMD Athlon 64 3800
Company: AMD
Estimated Street Price: $500
Review By: Byron Hinson

More Details

It isn't just the speed of the processor that has improved with the launch of the 3800 processor, there are lots of other bits and pieces that have changed and got better, here are a few of the main points for you to cipher through.

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Setup and Components
3: More Details
4: Installation
5: Windows Performance
6: Half Life 2
7: Doom 3
8: Farcry
9: X2: The Threat
10: 3D Mark 2003
11: Conclusion

Socket 939

With the introduction of Socket 939 the following key technology are upgraded:

  • Die Shrink to .13-micron
  • Dual on Chip Memory Controller
  • Cool 'N' Quiet Technology

First up we have a die shrink from 193mm˛ to 144mm˛, although the FX53 uses the larger 193mm˛ due to the cache size on the chip. Not only that, we get quite a rise in Mhz this time round although not quite as much as some people may have expected especially if they are comparing it to a top of the range Pentium 4, which runs a whole 1ghz faster than the fastest AMD processor. As usual the speed of the chip in raw Mhz isn't always what makes it a good processor.

AMD Processors break down as follows:

CPU Speed Cache Socket Memory Controller
AMD XP 3000 2167 MHz 512 KB L2 462 Dual on Motherboard
AMD 64 2800 1600 MHz 512 KB L2 754 Single on Chip
AMD 64 1800 MHz 512 KB L2 754 Single on Chip
AMD 64 2000 MHz 1 MB L2 754 Single on Chip
AMD 64 2000 MHz 512 KB L2 939 Dual on Chip
AMD 64 2400 MHz 1 MB L2 754 Single on Chip
AMD 64 2400 MHz 512 KB L2 939 Dual on Chip
AMD FX-53 2400 MHz 1 MB L2 939 Dual on Chip
Intel P4 2.4C 2400 MHz 512 KB L2 478 Dual on Motherboard
Intel P4 3.4P 3400 MHz 1 MB L2 478 Dual on Motherboard

Dual Channel Memory Controller

A couple of the main problems that users had with the older design of the Socket 754 processors have been fixed on the Socket 939 boards. The first one was the lack of support for regular DDR memory on some chipsets and processors that could only use registered EEC DDR. The second problem was that the older design only support single channel memory, twin sticks of RAM could be used but only in a single channel configuration. This meant that there was some performance loss for those users. With the Socket 939 boards, AMD has given support for regular non-ECC, non-registered DDR RAM as well as a dual-channel memory controller on the processor.

Enhanced Virus Protection

Something a lot of our readers will be interested in, now that Service Pack 2 for Windows XP has been released. With the release of the Socket 939 processors, AMD has incorporated some code in the processors called the NX bit. NX stands for "No Execute" and prevents malicious code from executing due to a buffer overflow. A buffer overflow is one of the main methods users to attack computers and with the introduction of the NX code into the processor, AMD will help thousands of its users prevent this from happening. As mentioned earlier, you must have Windows XP Service Pack 2 installed to support it and the feature does not work with any Intel processors.

Data Execution Prevention (DEP) helps prevent damage from viruses and other security threats that attack by running (executing) malicious code from memory locations that only Windows and other programs should use. This type of threat causes damage by taking over one or more memory locations in use by a program. Then it spreads and harms other programs, files, and even your e-mail contacts.

Unlike a firewall or antivirus program, DEP does not help prevent harmful programs from being installed on your computer. Instead, it monitors your programs to determine if they use system memory safely. To do this, DEP software works alone or with compatible microprocessors to mark some memory locations as "non-executable". If a program tries to run code—malicious or not—from a protected location, DEP closes the program and notifies you.

DEP can take advantage of software and hardware support. To use DEP, your computer must be running Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later, or Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 or later. DEP software alone helps protect against certain types of malicious code attacks but to take full advantage of the protection that DEP can offer, your processor must support "execution protection". This is a hardware-based technology designed to mark memory locations as non-executable. If your processor does not support hardware-based DEP, it's a good idea to upgrade to a processor that offers execution protection features.

For more information check out AMD's Official Release.


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