AMD 6000+ AM2 X2 Processor

Admin - 2007-08-14 21:50:39 in CPU's
Category: CPU's
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: August 20, 2007
Advanced Micro Devices
AMD
Price: $169.99

Introduction:

Everyone wants to be first, whether it's land on the moon, win a race or introduce a new technology that corners the market and brings about a change on how we use things for the next ten years. Although being first has its benefits and could actually propel you into the limelight, it could also be a hindrance. Your technology could be so far ahead of the others that other technologies take years being updated and your ground breaking accomplishment can only be used at half its total potential.

AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) was the first to produce a processor that had a 64 bit architecture. This is the next step in the evolution of CPUs taking over from the 32 bit processors we have come accustomed to for over ten years. There has only been one problem since its release over two years ago... other technologies have not caught up (being mainstream operating systems and other hardware). However, Microsoft released a 64 bit version of XP in 2005 and subsequently had so many problems getting software drivers for other hardware most people who used it reverted back to the 32 bit version of XP shortly after purchasing it. Now we have Vista, which gives you the option to use it as a 32 bit or 64 bit operating system and still there are incompatibility issues with drivers and hardware not working correctly in the 64 bit environment. Myself along with many other enthusiasts are starting to compare Vista to Windows Millennium, which to date, is one of the worst operating systems Microsoft has ever produced. (Due to the lack of software drivers for hardware support and the Millennium kernel being unstable)

Where AMD was once the front runner in 64 bit technology it now has competition. Intel entered the 64 bit market first with the Pentium 4 and D now the Core 2 Duo. Intel spent more time releasing a 64 bit processor and many say that their version is either comparable or better. Can this really be proven when we are still waiting for hardware and software to catch up with an over two year old technology?

AMD now produces a 64 bit mainstream processor which has broken the 3.0 GHZ barrier; it is the Athlon 64 6000+ X2 AM2. This chip contains 940 pins, 2000 MHz Hyper-Transport, 128 x 128 L1 cache and an L2 cache of 2 X 1 MB on a 90 nm platform. The 6000 + will be the focus of this review.

“Over the course of AMD's three decades in business, silicon and software have become the steel and plastic of the worldwide digital economy. Technology companies have become global pacesetters, making technical advances at a prodigious rate — always driving the industry to deliver more and more, faster and faster.”

“However, “technology for technology's sake” is not the way AMD does business. AMDs history is marked by a commitment to innovation that's truly useful for customers — putting the real needs of people ahead of technical one-upmanship. AMD founder Jerry Sanders has always maintained that “customers should come first, at every stage of a company's activities.” AMDs current CEO, Hector de Jesus Ruiz, continues to carry the torch, saying, “Customer-centric innovation is the pre-eminent value at AMD. It is our reason for being and our strategy for success.””

 

Closer Look:

AMD 6000+ AM2 X2 Processor

 

Installation:

Installation of the AMD 6000+ AM2 X2 processor is no different than other AMD processors if you are familiar with them. There are 940 pins which if positioned correctly attach directly into the motherboards attachment. After locking the processor in you will need to choose which type of cooling you will use. I chose a liquid cooling solution for this project.

 

 

 

 

After attaching the waterblock and inserting the ram, screw the motherboard onto the case.

 

Attach all your hoses and check for leaks.

 

Replace your side panel plug in all your peripherals and turn the system on.

Specifications:

CPU Socket Type
Socket AM2
Core

Windsor Multi-Core

Dual-Core Name
Athlon 64 X2 6000+
Operating Frequency
3.0GHz
HT
2000MHz
L1 Cache
128KB+128KB
L2 Cache
2 x 1MB
Manufacturing Tech
90 nm
64 bit Support
Yes

Hyper-Transport Support

Yes

Virtualization Technology Support

Yes

Multimedia Instruction

MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, 3DNOW! Professional
Voltage
1.35-1.4V
Cooling Device
Heatsink and Fan included (Retail)

Manufacturer Warranty

 
Parts
3 years limited
Labor
3 years limited

Testing:

I will be using the OverclockersClub benchmarking suite to show what kind of performance the 6000+ delivers. The benchmarking suite we will use includes both system tests, as well as gaming benchmarks. For a comparison , I will be using this processor against other processors by AMD, as well as Intel. All stock clock speeds will be run at default specs to eliminate any variables. All video card settings were left at setup defaults, also to eliminate any variables.

 

Testing Setup:

Comparison System:

 

The system tests we will be using are listed below:

We will start with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings:

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.

 

Lower is Better

 

WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 10MB, 100MB and 500MB files and test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds.

 

 

 

 

I chose to compare the AMD 6000+ to two of Intels most popular CPU’s: the Core 2 Duo E6600 and E6700 since their performance levels are quite similar and their prices at the time of testing were the most comparable.

At stock speeds the AMD 6000+ kept up well, while the 5400+ was the weakest in rendering the OCC Flame. This can be due to the differences in onboard cache. Where the Intels have 4 MB shared onboard cache the AMDs have 2MB and 1MB. Both AMD chips are the clear winners in the WinRar file compression category.

Testing:

Specview is a benchmark designed to test OpenGL performance. The tests used for comparison are listed below. The default tests were chosen to be able to compare across platforms. In these tests, higher scores equate to better performance.

 

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

Testing:

PcMark05 is used to measure complete system performance. We will be running a series of tests to gauge the performance of each individual processor to see which, if any, rises above the others. 

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

 

Higher is Better

 

 

Higher is Better

 

 

Higher is Better

 

Testing:

Sisoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful. For this benchmark, I will be running a broad spectrum of tests to gauge the performance of key areas of the motherboards.

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

 

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

 

Memory Latency

 

 

Cache and Memory

 

 

File System

 

Physical Disks

 

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

The two categories I was most interested in seeing were the multicore efficiency and cache/memory. Again these two tests have very much to do with the amount of onboard L2 cache, I was not surprised to see that the 6000+ did half as well in the cache and memory portion... but it truly did get smoked in mulitcore efficiency. One favorable benchmark was memory bandwidth, which makes sense because AMD CPUs have an onboard memory controller.

Testing:

Sciencemark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. For this test, we ran the benchmark suite and will use the overall score for comparison.

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better!

 

Cinebench is useful for testing your system, CPU and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. We will be using the default tests for this benchmark.

 

Higher is Better

 

HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.

 

Higher is Better

 

 

Lower is Better

Testing:

Now that the system benchmarks are complete, we will move on to the video benchmarking portion of the review. We will be using an assortment of games to test performance across different  processors to look for any performance advantages. The testing will start with resolutions at 800x600 and progressing to 1280x1024 to try and take the video card out of the equation and show the performance at resolutions where processor performance can influence the results. (EVGA 8800GTS 640mb used for Intel Processors)

 

The game tests that we use are as follows:

 

First up we have Far Cry. This game makes extensive use of pixel shaders and features Polybump Normal Mapping technology to increase character details.

 

We will be using the Hardware OC Benchmarking Utility version 1.8 with the following settings.

 

 

 

 

At lower resolutions, CPUs have more influence in overall performance than higher resolutions, but does a video card with more memory make a difference? Yes it does, when the two Intel processors were benchmarked with the 320MB video card, performance dropped between 7 to 22 frames a second depending on the resolution.

Testing:

F.E.A.R. is a newer game that includes its own benchmarking utility. We will be using this test to benchmark the game. This game introduces a new AI model that emulates real squad behavior. It has the ability to counteract the moves you make rather than having a predictable routine.

 

The settings we will use are below:

 

 

 

 

At 1280 X 1024 a CPU is about its max on influence in graphics performance and it is clear that the AMD 6000+ helped generate enough power and the lower memory 8800 GTS was able to overtake the higher.

Testing:

Quake 4 is next up for testing. We will be using the Hardware OC Quake 4 Benchmark Utility version 1.5 to complete the testing with this game. You will need to update to the most current version for the latest time demo and bug fixes. Average FPS (frames per second) will be the measure used.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

Testing:

Call of Duty 2 is a WWII first-person shooter game that is dated, but still maintains a tremendous online following. This test will consist of a timed run on the Stalingrad multi-player map, measured by Average FPS (frames per second).

 

The settings used are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

Testing:

Microsoft Flight Simulator X is the newest edition of the popular flight simulator. For testing, I will fly the same route through each resolution. Testing will start at a resolution of 1024X768 since this is the lowest resolution available in the game.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

Testing:

Need For Speed: Most Wanted. For this test, we will time each race and record the average FPS (Frames Per Second) achieved.

 

The settings we will use are listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest begins. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this set of processors perform. We will only be comparing the E6700, E6750 and AMD 6000+ for this series of benchmarks. The settings used are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

Because this review is all about the processor, we will be showing how the CPU scored in each of the resolutions we tested.

 

Testing:

RyderMark is a new benchmark developed by Candella Software. The benchmark illustrates a speed boat race through the famed canals of Venice, Italy. There are many options that can be changed in the benchmark; the settings we have settled on to complete this benchmark are listed below. We will be running this test with the E6700  Intel processor, as well as an AMD 6000+ for comparison. Please check back for a full review on this new benchmark.

 

 

 

 

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extras:

Listed below are the architectural features of the Athlon 64 X2 processors.

 

 

 

 

 

The industry's first true on-die dual-core x86 processor

  • Inter-core communication at CPU speed
  • Provides dual-core system capability in single-core system configurations

The AMD64 core provides leading-edge performance for both 32-bit and 64-bit applications

  • AMD64 technology provides full-speed support for x86 code base for uncompromising performance
  • 40-bit physical addresses, 48-bit virtual addresses
  • Sixteen 64-bit integer registers
  • Sixteen 128-bit SSE/SSE2/SSE3 registers
  • AMD Digital Media XPress™ provides support for SSE, SSE2, SSE3 and MMX instructions
A high-bandwidth, low-latency integrated DDR memory controller
  • Supports PC2-6400 (DDR2-800), PC2-5300 (DDR2-667), PC2-4200 (DDR2-533) or PC2-3200 (DDR2-400) SDRAM unbuffered DIMMs
  • Support for 64-bit DDR2 SDRAM memory
  • Up to 12.8GB/s memory bandwidth

HyperTransport™ technology for high speed I/O communication

  • One 16-bit link up to 2000MHz
  • Up to 8GB/s HyperTransport™ I/O bandwidth
  • Up to 20.8GB/s total delivered processor-to-system bandwidth (HyperTransport bus + memory bus)
Large high performance on-chip cache
  • 64KB Level 1 instruction cache per core
  • 64KB Level 1 data cache per core
  • Up to 1MB Level 2 cache per core

Cool'n'Quiet™ technology for quieter operation and reduced power requirements

  • Recognized in 2005 by the US Environmental Protection Agency for the advancement of energy efficient computer technology


© 2007 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, AMD Athlon, 3DNow!, AMD Digital Media Xpress, Cool'n'Quiet, and combinations thereof, are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. HyperTransport is a licensed trademark of the HyperTransport Technology Consortium. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions. Other names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

 

Definitions:

"HyperTransport (HT), formerly known as Lightning Data Transport (LDT), is a bidirectional serial/parallel high-bandwidth, low-latency point to point link that was introduced on April 2, 2001.[1] The HyperTransport Consortium is in charge of promoting and developing HyperTransport technology. The technology is used by AMD and Transmeta in x86 processors, PMC-Sierra, Broadcom, and Raza Microelectronics in MIPS microprocessors, AMD, NVIDIA, VIA and SiS in PC chipsets, HP, Sun Microsystems, IBM, and IWill in servers, Cray, Newisys, QLogic, and XtremeData, Inc. in high performance computing, Microsoft in its Xbox game console, and Cisco Systems in routers. Notably missing from this list is semiconductor giant Intel, which continues to use a shared bus architecture."

Applications for HyperTransport:

 

"Memory controller: a chip on a computer's motherboard or CPU die which manages the flow of data going to and from the memory.
Most computers based on an Intel processor have a memory controller implemented on their motherboard's north bridge, though some modern microprocessors, such as AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron processors, IBM's POWER5, and Sun Microsystems UltraSPARC T1 have a memory controller on the CPU die to reduce the memory latency. While this has the potential to increase the system's performance, it locks the processor to a specific type (or types) of memory, forcing a redesign in order to support newer memory technolgies. When DDR2 SDRAM was introduced, AMD released new Athlon 64 CPUs. These new models, with a DDR2 controller, use a different physical socket (known as Socket AM2), so that they will only fit in motherboards designed for the new type of RAM. When the memory controller is not on-die, the same CPU may be installed on a new motherboard, with an updated northbridge."

Overclocking:

Overclocking will void your warranty, as well as possibly damage other hardware you own. In no way is OverclockersClub.com liable for any damage you do to your own hardware because of this article or any others. Overclock at your own risk.

At 3.0 GHz the multiplier on the AMD 6000+ is set at 15. (200 FSB x 15 = 3000) I feel that this pretty much maxes out the chip and is most of the reason why the 6000+ is not a tremendous overclocker. The max overclock I was able to achieve and just to run CPUZ was 3.525 GHz, FSB 235 x 15, HT4, Vcore 1.550v, NB 1.30v, SB 1.60v and HT 1.3v.

My next step was lowering the multiplier and raising the front side bus, there was no problem reaching a 300 FSB at a multiplier of 12 and which also brought my ram to it's stock speed of 1150. I'm sure if I would have placed a divider on the ram and lowered the multiplier to 11, 10 etc., there would have been much more room to play with. In theory as you lower a multiplier you should be able to increase your FSB endlessly as long as you don't reach the limitations of your memory or motherboard.

What speed was I able to achieve that was prime stable without having to envenom too many volts, lower the multiplier and decrease the HT? That was FSB 230 x 15, HT5, NB 1.25v, SB 1.55, HT 1.3v. At these settings the system was prime stable for 24 hours. Overclocking did make a difference in performance in some benchmarks and in others not enough to talk about.

Getting back to the x15 multiplier, we all remember when the Intel Pentium 4 reached that pinnacle there was no room left for a decent overclock but now the Core 2 Duos that have lower multipliers and increased FSB speeds Intel is all the rage in the enthusiast community. Why? We like to tinker and tinkering is fun, but isn't there a time just to say ok and accept something for what it is? Yes and No. Yes if you just want a computer that is going to perform solid right out of the box, knowing that this is what you are going to get and you can be happy with that. No, if you want performance above what stock specifications will allow a processor to perform, and I think this is where the enthusiast community wins. We put CPUs to the test... we benchmark them, manipulate voltages, remove the IHS and torture a processor to limits even manufacturers cannot believe. This does one thing it gives them the opportunity to rethink and redevelop with all the information gathered so one day they might just have the perfect enthusiast platform available.

 

Conclusion:

I would have loved to actually been able to run benchmarks on this processor in a true 64 bit environment. Believe me, it was tried and between freezes during benchmarks, incompatibility issues with drivers and Vista just not being all it’s cracked up to be, it was a nightmare not even worth showing.

If you are looking for performance out of the box and the AMD 6000+ wasn’t recommended, then whomever it was that gave you the advice was truly making a mistake. The 6000+ is less expensive than its Intel counterparts, has a higher clock speed right out of the box and performs within a margin of error in most benchmarks, even though it has half the L2 cache and only a FSB of 200 MHz, opposed to Intel's 266 and 333 MHz. So if you are an end user looking for performance and price, this should not be overlooked.

Edit: I need to retract the error of my ways. Front Side Bus (FSB) is a term that many enthusiasts use when speaking in terms of overclocking. AMD uses HyperTransport technology, which actually runs at 2000MHz. This is a Front Side Bus replacement, as referred to on the Extras page. What I was actually referring to is the overclocking starting point  (BIOS), which is 200 times some multiplier. Unfortunatly, even when you are in the BIOS, this clock speed is still referred to FSB by many manufacturers.  

As an enthusiast, the 6000+ does fall behind in its overclockability and did fall behind in most of our processor benchmarks. SiSandra would be the benchmark that stands out the most; multicore efficiency was not even half of what its competitors scored, and due to its lack of L2 cache, did cause it to falter in the Cache and Memory benchmark. Where did the 6000+ shine? I would have to say when it comes to gaming. I purposely used a video card that had less memory just to prove a point. The point being that most gamers play at resolutions of either 1024 x 768 or 1280 x 1024 and this is where a processor still has influence. As I mentioned in a comment earlier while benchmarking the other chips, with the 8800 GTS 320MB card frame rates dropped anywhere between 7 to 22 FPS in Far Cry, but those rates did drop in the others as well, with different varying FPS. So with a difference of 5 to 7 FPS less, would saving some pocket money be worth it if all you wanted to do is game?

So out of the box, the 6000+ is a choice that all should look at. Even enthusiasts don’t overclock all of their rigs, and I’m sure that your children, wife, girlfriend or Mom won’t recognize the difference.

Pros:

Cons: