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Sharky Extreme : CPU Reviews & Articles August 23, 2009

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    Athlon 64 3500+ 90nm Processor Review
    By Vince Freeman :  December 31, 2004

    Benchmark Analysis

    The benchmark results really didn't show us anything unexpected, and both the 90nm and 130nm Athlon 64 3500+ models demonstrated virtually equivalent performance. AMD has also done a good job of delineating performance according to model numbers, and the new Socket 939 selection does fit better than we expected with the current Socket 754 models. The newer 90nm Athlon 64 3500+ processor was nominally faster that its 130nm brethren in some benchmarks, but other than this small aside, these differences are not large enough to be noteworthy.

    The only real point of contention is the lower relative peformance of the 1.8 GHz Athlon 64 3000+. This processor simply did not perform at the level we expected, relative to the Athlon 64 3200+, and it almost seemed that Socket 939 requires a 2.0 GHz or higher clock speed to really hit the high notes. Otherwise, performance is as expected, and with a smaller 90nm core and lower temperatures, these processors are great news for AMD buyers.


    The Athlon 64 3500+ 90nm processor seems to be in high demand, and popular online retailers are showing a significant price gap between the 90nm and 130nm models. In one price survey we found the Athlon 64 3500+ 90nm in the $330-$350 range, while the 130nm CPU was approximately $260 for OEM and $270 for retail. These Winchester processors can be found for less, but there can be a significant premium associated with the Athlon 64 3500+ 90nm model at least.

    Athlon 64 3200+ 90nm model sports only a slightly higher price, with the average premium compared to 130nm being in the $10 range. The Athlon 64 3000+ 90nm is only a few dollars more expensive than the comparable 130nm CPU, and in some cases the prices are equivalent. This trend is for base OEM models, but be prepared to pay a higher premium for the 90nm Athlon 64 3200+ and 3000+ retail kits, which apparently have some buyer heat behind them.

    The prices on the Athlon 64 3500+ 90nm models are simply not in line with reality, and buyers should not be forking over almost $100 extra just for the 90nm part. On the other hand, the retail price of the 90nm Athlon 64 3200+ and 3000+ are remarkably competitive with their 130nm counterparts. The general consumer would not really pay any premium for the 90nm part, but although we were surprised with the prices attached to the Athlon 64 3500+ 90nm, we still expected enthusiast-based retailers to be a bit higher on the Athlon 64 3200+ and 3000+ 90nm processors.

    * Please note that these prices were taken at the time of review and are not meant to reflect long-term trends.


    The overall Athlon 64 transition from 130nm to 90nm gets top marks, and AMD really needs to promote the new Winchester core into 2005. AMD has also done what it set out to do, and has supplied lower-cost 939-pin processors, while also giving a 90nm bump to the company's bottom line. The Athlon 64 3200+ and 3000+ models are excellent values at stock speeds, and can only get better when overclocked. The only black eye is the price premium on the Athlon 64 3500+ 90nm, and we're hoping this comes down over time, and doesn't repeat when AMD introduces higher-speed 90nm models.


    • Cooler 90nm Core
    • Overclocking Headroom
    • Higher CPU Value for 939-pin Buyers


    • A 2.2 GHz High-end
    • Premium on Athlon 64 3500+ 90nm CPUs
    • Only Slightly-Lower Core Voltages


    Page 1 The Athlon 64 3500+ & 90nm Winchester Core
    Page 2 Performance and Test Systems
    Page 3 Business Winstone, CINEBENCH and MPEG-2 Performance
    Page 4 PCMark 2004 Pro Performance
    Page 5 DOOM 3, FarCry and Halo Performance
    Page 6 Unreal Tournament 2004 & 3DMark 2005 Performance
  • Page 7 Benchmark Analysis, Value and Conclusion

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