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AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ review: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+

Despite the impending Intel announcement, the X2 5000+ deserves merit. Compared to everything else in the field right now, the X2 5000+ will serve everyone but demanding gamers well. At 2.6GHz per core, it’s faster than all of AMD’s original X2 series of dual-core CPUs. It was also announced on the same date as the aforementioned Socket AM2 chipset for a reason.

Along with last week’s and Socket AM2 chipset announcements, AMD introduced a more mainstream dual-core chip, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+. At $696 (according to AMD’s pricing per 1,000 units), the X2 5000+ has a lot of performance to offer for the price, stacking up well alongside AMD’s pricier Athlon 64 X2 FX-60 and FX-62 CPUs, as well as Intel’s most advanced desktop chip, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965. If Intel weren’t close to announcing a major overhaul to its CPU lineup in the coming months, we’d be able to provide a clearer recommendation for the Athlon 64 X2 5000+. As it stands, powerful though it is, we suggest you hold off purchasing such an expensive chip until we know what Intel’s next-generation Core 2 Duo processors will bring to the computing table.

The new AM2 chipset brings all of AMD’s CPUs onto an updated motherboard platform, although the company needs to reissue separate AM2 versions of the old Socket 939 chips. The X2 5000+, however, is Socket AM2 only. About all that really means is that you’ll need to buy a new motherboard (Socket AM2 and Socket 939 aren’t cross-compatible) and new DDR2 memory, since AM2 boards don’t use DDR memory. Aside from the memory switch, the only other major advantage of the new platform is reduced power consumption. Whereas on Socket 939, the highest-end X2 chip, the 4800+, required 115 watts from your power supply, the X2 5000+ (and the AM2 version of the 4800+) needs only 89 watts. While we appreciate the improvement, it will really benefit you only if you’re building a PC with multiple high-end graphics cards.

Chipset updates aside, the real news about the X2 5000+ is its performance. It performed so well, about the only task we don’t recommend it for is extreme gaming. Otherwise, it will give you fast performance at significant cost savings. The best example is our multitasking test. The X2 5000+ finished our test a few seconds faster than the Athlon 64 FX-60, which costs roughly $125 more. And even where it didn’t win, the X2 5000+ turned in strong scores. Both its SysMark 2004 scores and its times on our multimedia tests trailed the FX-60 slightly. And for Intel’s part, its $1,100 Pentium Extreme Edition 965 chip trailed the X2 5000+ on all but the stand-alone DivX 6.2 encoding test. In other words, the X2 5000+ is a great choice for digital content creation and fast day-to-day computing.

Application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating    BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating    SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating   

AMD Athlon 64 FX-62




AMD Athlon 64 FX-60




AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+




Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965




Multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

VirusScan 10 and DivX 6. 2   

AMD Athlon 64 FX-62


AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+


AMD Athlon 64 FX-60


Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965


Multimedia tests (in seconds)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS2    Apple iTunes    DivX 6.2   

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965




AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+




AMD Athlon 64 FX-62




AMD Athlon 64 FX-60




In our gaming test, the X2 5000+ didn’t fare as well as on the other benchmarks. It was still faster than Intel’s 965 chip, but it fell significantly behind AMD’s FX chips. In fairness, its 97.4 frames-per-second score on our Half-Life 2: Lost Coast demo is still very strong, so if you won’t be disappointed if you use this chip for gaming. Just know that AMD has faster options in its FX line if your chief concern is 3D games.

CPU Limited Custom Half-Life 2: Lost Coast demo (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Half-Life 2: Lost Coast demo 1,024×768 no AA no AF   

AMD Athlon 64 FX-62


AMD Athlon 64 FX-60


AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+


Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965

94. 8 

If all of that sounds like a resounding endorsement of AMD’s new chip, we have to throw in a caveat. You see, way back in March, enthusiast site Anandtech was able to get some Intel-guided hands-on time with Intel’s new Core 2 Duo desktop chips (then code-named Conroe). The testing was admittedly dubious, conducted as it was on systems set up by Intel, but it provided enough of a glimpse at the future to suggest that you at least wait and see what Intel’s next-generation chips have to offer before buying an expensive new CPU from either company. They’re due out soon, so we suggest you keep an eye out for our full-fledged, unbiased benchmark testing.

AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 test bed:
Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard; Nvidia Nforce4 SLI chipset; Crucial 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX; 74GB Western Digital Raptor 10,000rpm Serial ATA hard drive; Windows XP Professional SP2; Antec 550w power supply

AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 and X2 5000+ test bed:
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard; Nvidia Nforce 590 SLI chipset; Corsair 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX; Western Digital Raptor 10,000rpm Serial ATA hard drive; Windows XP Professional SP2; Antec 550w power supply

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965 test bed:
Intel 975X Express chipset motherboard; Intel 975X Express chipset; Crucial 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX; Western Digital Raptor 10,000rpm Serial ATA hard drive; Windows XP Professional SP2; Antec 550w power supply

Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Socket AM2 Review

Our review of Athlon 64 5000+, one of the first AMD CPUs supporting DDR2 memories and based on the new AM2 socket. Check it out!

Home » Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Socket AM2 Review



AMD has finally incorporated a DDR2 memory controller to AMD64 CPUs. The new DDR2-capable AMD64 CPUs use a new socket, AM2. In this review we benchmarked Athlon 64 X2 5000+, which is a dual-core Athlon 64 running at 2.6 GHz and supporting DDR2 memories. We are going to compare it to Athlon 64 X2 4600+ (which runs at 2.4 GHz) and Athlon FX-60 (a dual-core Athlon 64 FX running at 2.6 GHz). Check it out.

Figure 1: Athlon 64 X2 5000+.

Figure 2: Athlon 64 X2 5000+ pinout (socket AM2).

Figure 3: Socket AM2.

Since it is based on a new pinout, you will need to replace your motherboard by a socket AM2 one if you want to use DDR2 memories with Athlon 64.

The memory controller integrated on AM2 CPUs can support DDR2-533, DDR2-667 and DDR2-800 memories. The problem, however, is how the memory bus clock is achieved. Instead of being generated through the CPU base clock (HTT clock, which is of 200 MHz), it divides the CPU internal clock. The value of this divider is half the value of the CPU multiplier.

For example, an AMD64 CPU with a clock multiplier of 12x will have a memory bus divider of 6. So this CPU will work at 2.4 GHz (200 MHz x 12) and its memories will work at 400 MHz (DDR2-800, 2,400 MHz / 6). Keep in mind that DDR and DDR2 memories are rated with double their real clock rate.

The problem is when the CPU clock multiplier is an odd number. For an AM2 CPU with a clock multiplier of 13x, theoretically its memory bus divider would be of 6.5. Since the AMD64 memory bus doesn’t work with “broken” dividers, it is rounded up to the next higher number, seven in this case. So while this CPU will work at 2.6 GHz (200 MHz x 13), its memory bus will work at 371 MHz (742 MHz DDR) and not at 400 MHz (800 MHz DDR), making the CPU to not achieve the maximum bandwidth the DDR2 memory can provide.

This is the case of Athlon 64 X2 5000+. As it works internally at 2.6 GHz multiplying its HTT clock by 13x, it can access memory only up to 742 MHz and not 800 MHz.
Here are some examples:

CPU Internal Clock CPU Multiplier Memory Divider Memory Bus
2.8 GHz 14x 7 800 MHz
2.6 GHz 13x 7 742 MHz
2.4 GHz 12x 6 800 MHz
2.2 GHz 11x 6 733 MHz
2 GHz 10x 5 800 MHz
1.8 GHz 9x 5 720 MHz
1.6 GHz 8x 4 800 MHz

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AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+. Diagonal Racing / Processors & Memory

Typical comparative materials devoted to testing processors, as a rule, sin in two extremes. As a rule, at the time of the release of new chips, they test and compare «top» models, in the «off-season» they focus on comparing budget chips. As for the processors of the same price range «when there is almost peak performance, but no longer sky-high price», hands do not always reach the study of their capabilities, usually — with the appearance of a corresponding sample in the laboratory.

To be honest, the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor appeared in our laboratory more than a month ago, but there was never enough time to bring its research to its logical conclusion. This does not mean at all that the test platform was gathering dust in the corner — on the contrary, it was the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor in conjunction with the ASUS M2N32-SLI DELUXE motherboard that became the basis on which the first comparative express testing of the performance of the platform under the control of operating systems Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista RC2 (see the article I work with Windows Vista, Part III: installation, performance, license).

The appearance of an article about testing the capabilities of the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor right before the new year 2007 will seem somewhat belated to someone, especially since we recently published a study of the dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4800+. Yes, perhaps a little late, but not to the detriment of the relevance of the issue — processors, as well as other components, are gradually getting cheaper, which means they are becoming available to a wider range of buyers. Moreover, the recent announcement by AMD management that DirectX 10 will not be relevant until the second half of 2007 (made, however, regarding graphics cards), as well as the lack of interest in support for next-generation DDR3 memory in desktop PCs based on AMD chips at least until 2008, it says that if the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor ever becomes an «average processor», then in any case, the Socket AM2 platform in its current form will be relevant for a long time.

However, let’s leave aside today’s analytical calculations and forecasts, let’s move on to the practical side. And the very first question that anyone who wants to compare the performance of Athlon 64 X2 5000+ with some competitor from Intel will have to face is, of course, the choice of reasonable criteria for comparison.

This is what modern processor manufacturers, frankly, have trouble with — there is practically not a single technical parameter by which chips can be compared. L2 cache size, its organization, system bus frequency (HT), the principle of interaction with memory; finally, multiplier or clock speed? No, no, and again no, because the architectures, having dispersed long ago and irrevocably like ships in the sea, left us no chance for an adequate comparison.

There remains the old, kind and unmistakable method — the price. In the end, Intel and AMD start from something, setting comparable prices for processors and keeping them at this level for a certain time. So let’s see what kind of return each dollar we invested in buying a processor at an approximately comparable price will give — at the present time it is more than three hundred with an impressive «tail» of conventional units. Based on the price criterion, the closest «opponent» to the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor is the Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 chip.

That, in fact, is the whole methodology, for the purity of the description of the experiment, it remains only to mention where the Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 came from in the laboratory. Everything is very simple, for these purposes we used a pre-prepared piano in the bushes in the form of a test platform based on the Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor — the same one that took part in our first test of the new architecture with the telling name Core 2 Duo processors: shock and awe.

So what do we have: both Core 2 Extreme x6800 and Core 2 Duo e6600 are made on the Conroe core, both have 4 MB L2 cache, support 1066 MHz FSB and have LGA775 execution. The main difference between them, unless, of course, taking into account the price, TDP and some details that do not play a role now, is the multiplier. Yes, it is the x11 multiplier of the Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93 GHz) we changed to x9 (fortunately, the chip allows it) in order to emulate quite an adequate model of the Core 2 Duo E6600 processor (2.4 GHz).

I suspect that someone will not like this method, but do not forget that this platform was still mostly used to «run in» a new testing technique, when a possible slight deviation from the statistical error is not critical. Now let’s move on to the description of test benches and testing conditions.

What we tested

The Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor, based on the version with the working name Windsor (Revision F), has a core clock speed of 2. 60 GHz, 2 x 128 KB L1 cache and 2 x 512 KB L2 cache. The chip supports the HyperTransport bus with a clock frequency of 2 GHz and is equipped with a built-in memory controller supporting the dual-channel mode of DDR2-800/667/533/400 modules.

Among the key characteristics of the chip, it is worth noting the relatively new 9A 40-pin Socket AM2 connector, production on lines in compliance with the 90 nm process technology and the use of SOI, support for AMD Virtualization technology (AMD-V, formerly Pacifica) and reduced power consumption compared to its predecessors: the TDP of the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ chip is normalized by the level 89 W. In the comprehensive characteristics of the chip, it is also worth mentioning 153.8 million transistors, core area 183 mm², T.Case (Max) 55-70 °, core supply voltage 1.30-1.35 V, ICC (Max) 66.2 A.

The Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor was tested on a system with the following components:

  • ASUS M2N32-SLI DELUXE ATX motherboard based on NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset
  • Memory — 2 x 512 MB Corsair CM2X512-8500 PC2-6400 800 MHz
  • Graphics subsystem ATI X1900 XTX CrossFire Edition 512 MB (Catalyst 6. 14.10.6635)
  • Operating system – Windows XP (5.1.2600), SP2, DX9.0c

The comparative «emulation» system of the Core 2 Duo E6600 chip had the following characteristics:

  • Intel D975XBX ATX motherboard based on Intel 975X Express chipset with latest BIOS (Rev. 1209)
  • Memory — 2 x 512 MB Corsair CM2X512-8500 PC2-6400 800 MHz
  • Graphics subsystem ATI X1900 XTX CrossFire Edition 512 MB (Catalyst
  • Operating system – Windows XP (5.1.2600), SP2, DX9.0c

To be honest, the main task of this testing was not so much to run the processor «in the tail and mane» on extreme settings and in the maximum number of tests, but to test it with various benchmarks, including the debut «running» of test packages new to our laboratory. As a result, some of the least interesting results — for example, gaming ones — are not included in the review as less visual, something, on the contrary, was added to the arsenal of our laboratory based on the results.

Test results

Our readers have probably already noticed that in recent months the list of test packages used in our laboratory has been significantly updated. This is due to many reasons, but, in addition to natural «aging» regarding the measurement of processor performance, two more key ones are worth noting. This is, firstly, the emergence of multi-core chips, for an adequate assessment of the performance of which it is necessary to parallelize tasks. And secondly, the emergence of really interesting test applications that skillfully emulate such real processes as scientific computing, rendering, operations with multimedia content, etc.

In the future, a number of other equally important and illustrative applications will be added to the test applications presented today. Today, taking this opportunity — fortunately, the result of most tests can be predicted in advance, I will just briefly describe the capabilities of some popular test packages.

PCMark 2005 is a synthetic test that allows you to study in depth the performance of individual subsystems of PC components — processor, memory, drives. Thanks to the function of auto-detection of the installed processor type, it is possible to load dynamic libraries with code optimized for AMD or Intel processors. Of particular interest are tests that fit entirely into the voluminous L2 cache of modern chips.

Actually, testing under PCMark 2005 didn’t bring any surprises — Core 2 Duo E6600 leads almost everywhere, with the logical exception of the memory latency test.

3DMark 2006 is a good synthetic for simulating gaming applications with support for modern 3D technologies (excluding DX10 capabilities) in different screen resolutions. This test package is also interesting because it allows you to adequately load multi-core chips. The leadership of the Core 2 Duo e6600 in this package is obvious, although you should always remember that 3DMark 2006 is still «synthetics», and when testing in real games, the result may not be so obvious.

ScienceMark 2.0 is also a synthetic test, but it is «sharpened» for simulating scientific and engineering calculations with a heavy load on the memory bus.

Thus, it is quite logical to observe some advantage of the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor associated with the integrated, low-latency memory controller.

POV-Ray 3.70 is a very interesting free rendering utility. The current version of the package for Windows is under development and beta testing, but already supports multithreading.

Cinebench 9.5 is the latest version of the benchmark that simulates the creation of 3D content based on the Maxon Cinema 4D engine.

Instead of a conclusion

So, is the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor worth the money that is now being asked for it? The answer is not as obvious as one would like. Undoubtedly, this processor shows excellent performance, but in most cases — especially where the memory bus load is less intensive — the new Intel Core architecture takes its toll, and the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ is still inferior to the conditionally «equivalent» Core 2 Duo E6600.

With all this, if we consider Athlon 64 X2 5000+ as an option for switching to the Socket AM2 platform (for example, from Socket 939) with prospects for a future upgrade, the purchase of such a chip may well be justified — new 65 nm processors for desktop PCs are not far off, and they are also designed for Socket AM2. However, a budget transition to the Socket AM2 platform is still worth using other chips — something like AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ and lower. However, that’s another story…

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