Saturday, February 2, 2008

How to choose an AMD CPU?

Choosing an AMD CPU is an easy task. Be it for doing daily tasks or playing intensive 3D game, there will be a AMD CPU that is suitable for you. Familiarize with the following specification and you are on your way to choose the best CPU for your computer.

How to choose an AMD CPU?

Clock speed
For an Intel CPU, the clock speed is used to gauge the performance of the chip. However, when it comes to AMD chip, it’s a totally different story. AMD’s technology has enabled its chip to process more data in every cycle, thus leading to higher efficiency. Therefore, its clock speed is not representative of what it can achieve. In fact, a 1.8GHz AMD CPU can actually outperform an Intel 2.8GHz CPU. For this reason, AMD has stopped listing their clock speed in their package. Instead, they associate a number to show its performance in comparison to an Intel CPU. For example, an Athlon 64 3200+ is actually equivalent to an Intel 3.2GHz CPU. When selecting an AMD CPU, look out for the number xx00+. The higher it is, the better it is.

Various classes of AMD processor
Some of you may encounter CPU label such as AMD Sempron, Athlon 64 or Athlon 64 FX and wonder what is this referring to. Well, the label is referring to the class or family that the chip belongs to.

AMD Sempron
AMD SempronThe Sempron belongs to the AMD budget line of processor. Being a budget processor, this is definitely not the best performing chip to go for. With a reduced cache, its performance cannot be compared to the mainstream processor, even though it may has a higher clock speed (for example, an Athlon 64 3200 chip can easily outperform a Sempron 3600 chip). Nevertheless, if you are using it for everyday tasks, this budget processor is more than enough to serve your needs.

AMD Athlon 64
AMD athlon 64Athlon 64 is AMD first generation processor that can run simultaneous 32 and 64 bits computing technology. The conventional computer uses 32 bits to process all its data. By pushing up a notch, AMD 64 bits technology allows more data to be processed simultaneously, thereby shorten the processing time and increase the performance level. However, as good as it may seem, most of the software, including Windows, do not support 64 bits processing yet and this technology has not really been fully utilized.

Other features that come along with this chip are the inbuilt memory controller and hypertransport. The inbuilt memory controller enables the chip to access the memory RAM without going through the Northbridge. Together with the hypertransport technology that allows faster transfer of data from point to point, these two features are sufficient to put the chip in the elite team.

On the whole, if you need more processing power than just doing daily tasks, the Athlon 64 line of processor will be suitable for you.

AMD Athlon 64 X2
Instead of using a single processor, AMD now squeeze two high performing processors into one single chip, resulting in the world speediest monster: the Athlon 64 X2. With dual-core, the chip can now multi-tasking without any delay or glitches. PC enthusiasts who are hungry for processing power will definitely find this chip very useful.

Of course, dual core also mean that the price is almost double to that of its single core counterpart. If you are on a budget, this chip is certainly not the one to go for.

AMD Athlon 64 FX
amd athlon 64 fx logoAMD Athlon 64 FX is currently the planet fastest processor. By pushing the single core and dual core technology to its extreme, AMD has successfully created a chip that provides unparallel performance for 3D gaming and intense applications. Most of the current Athlon 64 FX chips are single core whereas Athlon 64 FX60, FX62 and future release of the FX series are dual core processors. At a price tag of over $1000, it’s sufficient to buy a high-end desktop computer. If you just have the extra cash to spare, buy it at your own risk.

Socket Type
The socket refers to the holder where the CPU is positioned on the motherboard. Different classes of processor use different socket type. Before you make your purchase, check the socket type that your motherboard supports.

Socket 754– Socket 754 is a budget-minded socket, for use with AMD Athlon 64 or Sempron processors. It supports only a single channel memory controller (64-bits wide) and a lower HyperTransport speed. It does not support dual channel memory.

Socket 939 — For use with AMD Athlon 64 and 64 X2. As a replacement for socket 754, it has included several features such as support for dual channel DDR SDRAM memory and better and faster Hypertransport. Processors using this socket have either 512KB or 1 MB Level 2 cache, which is a significant improvement over the previous socket. The caveat of this socket is that it does not support DDR2 RAM.

Socket AM2 — Socket AM2 is meant to replace socket 939. It supports dual channel DDR2 RAM and consume lesser power. This is the latest CPU socket designed by AMD. Most dual core CPU and the Athlon FX series chip use this socket.

Conclusion
If you already have an idea what you need the processor for, then it will be easy to choose the AMD CPU that is most suited for you. If you are using it for performing daily task, the Sempron processor will be a good buy whereas if you need it for 3D gaming, you might consider buying the high end FX series. Hope that this article has given you a better idea on how to choose an AMD CPU.

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