AMD AM2 4200+ Vs. AMD 939 4200+ CPU's
Reviewed by: Bosco
Reviewed on: October 21, 2006
: GF City Computers
Price: $179 USD
It’s that time again folks. That’s right, AMD has finally, after many setbacks, released their new socket type. Titled AM2, which uses 940 pins, AMD has used this as the opportunity to move up to newer, and cheaper, DDR2 memory. AMD has long been the underdog in the processor business, but in recent years, especially with their last release of processors, it has come out on top. Having a very strong lineup behind it, this left us with high expectations for this new line of processors. Installation Specifications As we can see from the graph the AM2 4200+ does lose by exactly two mins. From these graphs, we can see that the AM2 does win, though this time only by a handful of points; however, this is still a win. We can see that there is a minimal difference between the two socket types, though this was to be expected. As Sandra shows us, the AM2 lost in everything except the memory benchmarks. Though this is due to the fact that it is utilizing DDR2 memory, which is running at a blistering 667 MHz. As seen above, the AM2 flavor of the 4200+ actually pulled slightly ahead on decompression, encryption, and scanning. This is not especially a surprise, as it can be partially accredited to the move up to DDR2 memory. Quake 4, though being a relatively newer game, is still based off of the aging Doom 3 engine. There is still a noticeable frame loss between the sockets, even though the videocards are the same. [[CHART|chart_title:Call of Duty 2 1280x1024;chart_categories:AMD AM2 4200, AMD 939 4200;chart_values:6,9] [[CHART|chart_title:Need For Speed - Most Wanted 1280x1024;chart_categories:AMD AM2 4200, AMD 939 4200;chart_values:8,12] Pros Cons
AMD started as a producer of logic chips in 1969, then entered the RAM chip business in 1975. That same year, it introduced a reverse-engineered clone of the Intel 8080 microprocessor. During this period AMD also designed and produced a series of bit-slice processor elements (Am2900, Am29116, Am293xx) which were used in various minicomputer designs. The company continued buying and building to become what it is today.
Previously looked at as a second option, AMD is now competing head to head with Intel in the processor market, holding the crown for gaming processors. Anyone into serious gaming will most likely have one of AMD’s processors in their machine. With this release of a new socket, it had us at Overclockersclub on the edge of our seats. As soon as we were able to get a hold of one of these chips, we put it though the OCC standard of tests. This review will be more of an article than a simple review, as we will not only be looking at the AMD AM2 4200+, but we will also be comparing it against its counterpart, the 939 4200+, showing you where the real performance is.
When I received this processor I was a bit more excited than usual, as this is a totally new technology. As always with any product, I checked out the packaging. The processor came to me in the standard retail packaging: box with the processor, HSF (heatsink fan), and the instructions. Along with a new socket, AMD has also opted for a new design of box. Looking similar to the 939 boxes, the AM2 comes equipped with a new look as well as a sticker denoting the socket type.
When looking in the box, I saw nothing out of the ordinary and coming with the standard set of accessories (heatsink fan combo).
AMD has opted for a different arrangement when it comes to the pins design. This may partially be due to the jump to DDR2 memory.
The cooler that AMD packages with this processor looks similar to the coolers found with the single core Athlon 64 socket 939 series of processors. A little lackluster, though this is to be expected from a stock cooler. It would be nice to see manufacturers packaging beefier coolers, as cooler IS better. This heatsink comes direct with TMI (Thermal Material Interface AKA Thermal compound) in the form of a pad stuck on the middle of the base of the unit. This provides for easy installation, as it does not require adding your own thermal compound. If you are looking for the best performance, it would be beneficial to replace this with a better performing paste.
Installation of a new Processor is considered somewhat of a hassle, as people are often afraid of the dreaded ‘oops’. When installing a new processor, it is useful to lay the computer (or in this case the motherboard) down on a non-static surface, as well as somewhere where static is not an issue, such as a tiled or hardwood floor. Installing the new CPU is simply lifting the lever on the ZIF socket, placing the processor into the socket, taking note of matching the keys (little triangle on the CPU, matched with the little triangle on the ZIF socket) and then closing the lever locking your new CPU in place.
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core
Ordering P/N (Tray)
Ordering P/N (PIB)
The test machines do vary a bit, as the CPU, Motherboard, and Ram, differ between these two machines due to different technologies. When initially building this machine, I attempted to use a Gigabyte motherboard. After fighting with it for a three days, I could not get the computer stable at all. When I switched to the Asrock motherboard, I was able to achieve 100% stability. So it would seem that there are still some bugs to work out of this new architecture, but most likely I would say it is a BIOS issue. Specs of the two test machines are as follows:
When I decided to do this review, I knew that I was not going to overload the review with benchmark after benchmark. So I choose to go with a total of 12 in order to give you, the reader, a general idea of performance without boring you to death.
For testing this new socket type, we chose to run it through the standard OCC CPU benchmarks, as well as add a couple of more exotic, and specialized, pieces of software. Results are as follows:
To kickoff the testing we chose to run Apophysis, which is a unique piece of rendering software. Mostly used to create abstract fractal renders, we created our own template .flame file, and will be rendering it on each machine. At the end of rendering an image, Apophysis gives a time; we will be using that time as a score for this test. Remember, lower is better in this case.
For the next test we chose to run Sciencemark, which is mostly CPU intensive.
Third on our list of tests is Cinebench, which is a hybrid of Cinema4D, another fractal rendering program similar to Maya. Cinebench has a built in testing feature with predefined variables. The program having two CPU tests, we ran both and the results can be found below.
Next on the list is Specview, which uses 3Ds Max like rendering styles. Results are below.
For testing the difference between sockets, and especially when a CPU uses a new architecture, we chose to run HDTach as a test as well. Even though the hard drives are identical, it will be interesting to see weather or not the different CPU architecture or the motherboards show a difference in the scores.
Next on our list of fun is Sisoft Sandra. We ran the full array of tests provided, everything from CPU and Memory performance, to cache testing. This gives us a very broad spectrum of results and provides for an excellent benchmark.
PCMark05, released by Futuremark, provides us tests similar to those of Sisoft Sandra, but rather, focuses on File decompression and encoding. Results are again below.
For the last step in our testing curriculum, we chose to run the AM2 through our standard Gaming benchmarks. These are the same tests that we run on all of our videocards here at OCC. This will show us if socket type, as well as memory, actually plays a part in game performance.
Call of Duty 2
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Throughout all of the game benchmarks, the AM2 falls far behind the 939 version, sometimes as far back as 10 or more frames. It is hard to tell whether this is to be accredited to the motherboard, Memory, or to the processor itself.
Despite being a totally new socket, along with finally making the move up to DDR2 memory, it seems as if AMD has taken one step forward and two steps back. The AM2 does beat its predecessor in a handful of benchmarks, though not by enough to make a significant difference. While using this machine, it was noticeably a bit slower than the 939 machine. Though this is still a new architecture, there may be room for improvement on the motherboard side of things, as it seems odd that a supposed upgrade would actually lose to what it was upgraded from. We will have to wait and see whether or not, through motherboard revisions, these results will improve. Though at the time being, AM2 is not worth the upgrade. If you are looking for a new computer, or just a new processor, it is best to keep your sights on the 939 version of these processors, as for the same money you will get slightly better performance.
As we can see from the graph the AM2 4200+ does lose by exactly two mins.
From these graphs, we can see that the AM2 does win, though this time only by a handful of points; however, this is still a win.
We can see that there is a minimal difference between the two socket types, though this was to be expected.
As Sandra shows us, the AM2 lost in everything except the memory benchmarks. Though this is due to the fact that it is utilizing DDR2 memory, which is running at a blistering 667 MHz.
As seen above, the AM2 flavor of the 4200+ actually pulled slightly ahead on decompression, encryption, and scanning. This is not especially a surprise, as it can be partially accredited to the move up to DDR2 memory.
Quake 4, though being a relatively newer game, is still based off of the aging Doom 3 engine. There is still a noticeable frame loss between the sockets, even though the videocards are the same.
[[CHART|chart_title:Call of Duty 2 1280x1024;chart_categories:AMD AM2 4200, AMD 939 4200;chart_values:6,9]
[[CHART|chart_title:Need For Speed - Most Wanted 1280x1024;chart_categories:AMD AM2 4200, AMD 939 4200;chart_values:8,12]