Summary: Clocked at 3.0GHz and armed with 1MB of L2 cache per core, AMD's Athlon 64 X2 6000+ is poised to deliver serious performance. In light of AMD's more aggressive price strategy, the CPU is also priced to move, undercutting the Core 2 Duo E6700 by around $70. But how well does it perform in comparison to the E6700? Read today's article to find out!
Since launching the AM2 platform in May, AMD has quietly launched a slew of new Athlon 64 X2 CPUs for the desktop market, starting with the X2 5200+ in early September, 65-nm Brisbane parts on December 5th, and the 5400+ and 5600+ on December 13th.
All of these processors were stealth launches with little or no fanfare from AMD. Additionally, on launch day they were all primarily focused on the OEM market, with droves of X2 5200+ processors going into HPís dc5750 business PC in particular. In fact, the 5400+ and 5600+ launch was so low key that AMD didnít even issue a press release on the day the CPUs became available!
Fortunately for AMD enthusiasts, these processors are now readily available at the retail and e-tail levels, and we should also add that todayís Athlon 64 X2 6000+ launch isnít a repeat of past recent events, in fact some e-tailers began selling the X2 6000+ prematurely a few weeks ago.
The X2 6000+ runs at 3.0GHz and features 2MB of onboard L2 cache total (1MB of L2 cache per core). With these specs, the X2 6000+ is actually faster than the FX-62, making it the fastest processor for AMDís AM2 socket. On that note, we should also mention that AMD has basically replaced the FX-62 with the X2 5600+, which ships at the same 2.8GHz clock frequency and 1MB of L2 cache per core, only it consumes less power Ė 89W max power consumption in the 5600+ versus 125W in the FX-62 (of course, you do lose the unlocked clock multiplier in the process).
Letís take a look at the X2 6000+ specs:
Overclocking the 6000+
With most Windsor-based Athlon 64 X2 CPUs topping out around 3.1-3.2GHz, our OCíing efforts with the X2 6000+ were about in line with what we expected:
As you can see, we were able to hit speeds just north of 3.2GHz with the X2 6000+ on an ASUS M2N32-SLI Premium motherboard and Zalman CNPS9500 cooler. Unfortunately we needed over 1.55V to hit those speeds, but our temps werenít too bad, around 50 degrees Celsius under load. Weíve included performance results at the end of this article at 3.225GHz.
LAME MT MP3 Encoding (MS Compiler)
Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9
LAME MT MP3 Encoding
Company of Heroes
But how does it perform?
In terms of performance, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ is the fastest X2 processor AMD has ever released. In our testing, the CPU was about 5% faster than the 2.8GHz Athlon 64 X2 5600+, and should pretty much spell the end of the Athlon 64 FX-62: you lose the FXís unlocked clock multiplier, but gain 200MHz in clock speed with similar power consumption. Only AMDís Quad FX platform is faster, and as weíve shown you previously, that would only apply in the case of a handful of apps that have been designed to take advantage of quad processing cores.
However, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ still takes a backseat in performance compared to its nearest-priced competitor from Intel, the Core 2 Duo E6700. In Quake the margin was just 7% at 800x600, but in Lost Coast it grew to 11%. Company of Heroes ran just over 20% faster on the Core 2 E6700 platform. The E6700 also ran faster in our media encoding and DivX conversion tests, although our 3D rendering tests with Cinebench gave the edge to the Athlon 64 X2 6000+.
In other words, Intelís Core 2 platform is still faster, but thanks to AMDís more aggressive CPU pricing, itís a much closer battle between the two manufacturers than it was a just few months ago. Priced at $459 in quantities of 1,000, the 6000+ carries a list price that is $71 cheaper than the Core 2 Duo E6700 officially, this could give the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ an advantage among price-conscious consumers.
Of course, Intel isnít expected to stand still for long. Itís been widely rumored that Intel has some pretty aggressive price cuts of their own on tap for Q2í07. With todayís debut of the Athlon 64 X2 6000+, itís conceivable that Intel could retaliate with their expected price cuts before then. This tit-for-tat battle will likely continue for the remainder of 2007 and into 2008. The end result is cheaper CPUs for you and me, and thatís definitely a good thing.
As it stands right now though, Intelís Core 2 line is still the worldís fastest processor, but AMD is keeping things competitive with their aggressive pricing. If you crave performance first and foremost, Core 2 would be your ideal solution, but if price is important to you (keep in mind that at 1600x1200 and up, CPU performance is less of a factor in games), then itís hard to resist AMD.
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