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AMD Upgrades

AMD Releases Sempron Earlier Than Expected 187

I_am_Rambi writes "AMD has released the Sempron today, a release date that moved up from Aug 17th. Because of this move, some of the reviews that are out, will be continued later on. Some sites already have reviews including Toms Hardware, Anandtech, and Tech Report. The Sempron, AMDs budget processor, is staged against the Intel Celeron." Jason Jacobs writes with a review on Techware Labs, and Hack Jandy adds a link to a review at HotHardware, writing "it appears as though the Socket A based Sempron performs abysmally while dollar for dollar the Socket 754 version levels every Intel CPU."
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AMD Releases Sempron Earlier Than Expected

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  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:47AM (#9821121) Homepage Journal

    By "it appears as though the Socket A based Sempron performs abysmally" they probably mean that these $30-40 budget processors are only ~5-8 times faster than as say a "K6-2 400" or equalient "Pentium 2" -- processors which did provide and still provide all the performance you need on a non-gaming/non-dev desktop machine.

    "Bah, these $30 chips don't run Doom 3 at Max Extreme Settings. We're so disappointed. They are useless!"

  • by Amiga Lover ( 708890 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:47AM (#9821122)
    It's been increasingly apparent that I wouldn't buy most CPUs today until they hit a minimum performance level. Until that "minimum" is something that's capable of running almost any app I throw at it.

    While that's a moving target and always will be, at the moment what I'm running on it really begs for a CPU like these. And with them as a new low-end, I'm really set for an upgrade.

    The last time I felt so excited by a speed upgrade was when I bought my first PPC Amiga. Good to see the IT world can keep on delivering.
    • True, the upgrade from my K6-2 500MHz to a "low end" Athlon XP 2500+ did give a nice (~8x) speed boost...
    • There is no point to buying any semporn processor when you can get an Athlon XP 2500+ for the same amount of money or less. The Athlon XP is the budget processor of today, and the Athlon 64 and Opteron lines are the top-end stuff. Well, except when they get schooled in benchmarks by the latest P4, but Hammer is due for a speed bump anyway, and I'm not talking about the kind that jars your colon loose at the grocery store.
  • Sempron Fi (Score:5, Funny)

    by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:47AM (#9821123)
    '...AMD has elected to stick with its "fake subatomic particle" naming scheme rather than veer into Intel's "fake member of the periodic table of elements" naming scheme. Sempron is largely a branding exercise, so the name is important. The Sempron name is intended to evoke phrases like "semper fidelis" and other such tokens of solidity and steadfastness. Roughly translated from a mix of Latin and leet-speak, though, Sempron means "always pornographic," and I fear the little CPU will never fully escape that connotation of its recently fabricated moniker. '

    "Always faithful to porn"!!! That's my kinda CPU (Completely Pornographic Unit)
    • Re:Sempron Fi (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:53AM (#9821173)
      Sempron is largely a branding exercise, so the name is important. The Sempron name is intended to evoke phrases like "semper fidelis" and other such tokens of solidity and steadfastness.

      It's meant to seperate the processor from the Athlon series which has confused most people. The article states that most people probably don't know (or care to know) that there is a huge difference between the AthlonXP and the Athlon64.
      • It's meant to seperate the processor from the Athlon series which has confused most people.

        And "Duron" won't work why? Or did the paint company [] sue?

      • Wait a minute you mean that their is a difference between the two!?!?! That lying SOB.
      • Re:Sempron Fi (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rpdillon ( 715137 ) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @11:32AM (#9822264) Homepage
        I still have trouble believing that AMD fell into the same trap Intel fell into with Pentium. IMHO, Pentium M should have never been so named: it was new technology and it should have been marketed as such. AMD did the same thing with AthlonXP and Athlon64...a shame, because people *don't* understand the difference at a basic consumer level. I understand that name-brand does have value, but you still want to give the public a good idea (via your naming scheme) when one product breaks away from the others on a technology/performance level. JM2C...
        • Pentium M is not a new technology. It's the previous core (P6) with better SIMD bolted on and ramped up clock speeds. It's drastically different from the P4 (Netburst) core but it's not new by any stretch of the imagination.

          The whole Athlon/AthlonXP/Athlon64 should be self-explanatory to anyone who's willing to investigate, but most people aren't.

          So it goes.
      • Why not just Athlon XP -> Duron XP
        Rather than
        Athlon XP -> Sempron

        Removing 64 bit functionality when it's possible to have it sucks. Removing cache is more likely to improve yield than removing 64 bit stuff.

        So what if HP said they'd put AMD CPUs in if they make em 32 bit only. HP wants Itanium...

        Wonder if they'd make it possible for the 64 bitness to be turned back on by a BIOS update or CPU "fix".
    • I couldn't agree more. Most CPU names (and I indict Intel and Transmeta too---"Efficeon," bleah) are silly.

      • Re:Sempron Fi (Score:2, Informative)

        by JAgostoni ( 685117 )
        Problem is that you can't trademark the names that make sense. That is why Intel switched from 486 to Pentium. Now the competition could not call their's "Pentium" compatible because it's trademarked.

        Given that, there is a serious problem for companies finding trademarkable names anymore. That is why there getting more and more ridiculous.

        I think, however, they should use more superlatives: The Spectaculon, or Superfastium. Probably already taken though...
        • Re:Sempron Fi (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rpdillon ( 715137 ) *
          Umm, just because the competition has a trademark doesn't mean I can't say my processor is compatible with it, even in my advertising. People use trademarked names of their competitors in their advertisments all the time.

          As I recall, Cyrix was onto the 586/686 naming scheme and Intel switched to Pentium to distinguish their product.
    • Who's got a boil on their Semprini? /PYTHON
    • by ceeam ( 39911 )
      When was the last time that a new processor name did not raise a wave of giggles on /. and other places? BUT! When the dust settles it seems like people at marketing dep's are not _that_ idiotic (and that's scary ;)
      Anyone still finds names like Celeron or Athlon really silly?
    • by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:23AM (#9821450) Journal
      Like "Celeron" which was derived from the Latin word, "celer" that means "fast" or "swift". This should be obvious from the association with "celery", the fastest of all vegetables.
      • I thought that 'celer' was just a misspelling of 'cellar'. You know - to invoke thoughts that the performance of this chip is in the cellar, below everything else.
    • why can't slash do +6 ++ funnies.

      ARM has it right, ARM7, 9, 14 34 87 123

      I long live for the day when PPC/INTEL are pin compatible. ie instead of 3000 pins in 2009, why not less at say 100 pins with more serial XML IO.

      I mean who needs more than 16 pins really now.

      GND,RX,TX,SYNC,+2V is enough really for any speed.

    • The Sempron name is intended to evoke phrases like "semper fidelis" and other such tokens of solidity and steadfastness. ...Semprini?

    • (Gratuitous Monty Python rip...)

      Naughty Chemist: Right, who's got a boil on his Semprini then?

      Seriously, really awful chip naming. Who knows what nonsense they'll think of next.
  • Annoyed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artlu ( 265391 ) <> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:47AM (#9821128) Homepage Journal
    I am really annoyed that Intel and AMD market these low end procs. Usually for $10 more you can get a similar speed older processor that performs better. Most consumers do not know the difference and they buy junk HP desktops that I used to have to fix every other week.

    GroupShares Inc. []
    • Re:Annoyed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lachlan76 ( 770870 )
      But the newer processors are still mass-produced, and I'm fairly sure that you can get a couple of thousand 2.4GHz Celerons/Semprons (equiv clock speed) much more easily than an equivalent speed older processor. When Dell/HP/Compaq want a processor line, that will carry much more weight than individual people. But this doesn't really affect me since I use my computer for games/devel, so I need at least a moderately fast machine.
    • Well, rather the promoting a site that can be used to run pump and dump scams, why don't you setup a business and charge people to repair their systems?
    • Re:Annoyed (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MrNemesis ( 587188 )
      I can understand your frustration re: the socket A model: Athlon XP's are currently cheap as chips (ha ha) and very good performers for the price, whereas the socket A Sempron is a bit of a disappointment.

      But the real meat of the Sempron line is getting a dirt cheap socket 754 CPU out there, to help speed up the transition to the new desktop socket. The 754 Semprons are very good performers for the price (since the Sempron is, IIRC, a redesign of the A64 core you'd expect it to work better on a socket 754
    • Usually for $10 more you can get a similar speed older processor that performs better.

      That's only true on the high-end of the "value" lines... (ie. the newest ones).

      You can find Durons much cheaper than equivalent XPs, and you can find Celerons FAR, FAR cheaper than equivalent P4s.

      In addition, the funniest thing about the "value" processors is that they are newer than the more expensive product lines, so they are typically better designed, more reliable, use and output less heat as well.

  • Low end market (Score:3, Interesting)

    by steelerguy ( 172075 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:48AM (#9821135) Homepage
    Looks like AMD can really give Intel a beat down on the low end market now.

    Will this finally force Dell to start selling AMD chips in their machines? I can't imagine they would be able to ignore the price and performance advantage.
    • Re:Low end market (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Dell has never been about anything but maximizing margins. They might not actually have to use semprons; they might just threaten to use them to extract greater discounts from Intel. They don't care what's in their boxes.

      Dell doesn't give a damn about your computing experience because practically anything will run a home computer well enough for aunt Tillie. They just want your check to clear so Apu can begin giving you Dell's award winning customer service.
    • Re:Low end market (Score:5, Informative)

      by Original Buddha ( 673223 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:59AM (#9821235)
      Why start now? It's been well documented that 1.6 Durons are better performers than Celerons for half the price. x? i=1927
    • Re:Low end market (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Dell has been making overtures that indicate it would like to sell AMD, but is currently locked into a deal with Intel that prohibits such an arangement.
      • Re:Low end market (Score:2, Informative)

        by JediLuke ( 57867 )
        Yeah its called their OEM agreement...and much like MS with most companies, Intel pulls the same crap. "Oh you want these reference designs? Oh well you're going to have to stop selling AMDs"
    • The Celeron D is actually a pretty decent chip, in that it even comes close to AMD's offerings. Previously, the Athlon XPs (which are fundamentally the same as Semprons with a different name) were actually faster for the same rated speed (eg, the 2500+ was 1.83GHz, now it's 1.67 iirc) and cost less, and Intel's previous generation of Celerons were so mind numbingly bad that the 2.8GHz model was routinely - and by this I mean in every single benchmark, by a margin - outperformed by the Athlon XP 1700+ and th
    • The problem with Dell is not really with chips but the subsystems. Dell has a really good supply-chain which allows them to produce machines faster than anyone else.
      It is much easier to work with a few trusted,tested suppliers than to deal with 20-30 companies which make motherboards, RAM ,fans cases etc. With Intel, they can buy the chips, sometimes mobo etc. from Intel and the other parts from some other traditional vendors.
      Moving to AMD willl mean signing up a lot of supplier agreements, redesigning t
  • Beats the Celeron... (Score:5, Informative)

    by xot ( 663131 ) <.fragiledeath. .at.> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:49AM (#9821149) Journal
    The Sempron beats the celeron in almost all the benchmarks, so if its priced cheaper than the Celeron or even 5% more I see no reason why anyone should buy a Celeron!
    I am a recent AMD convert with a brand new Athlon 2800+ Mobile version.It really does beat Intel hands down.
    • There never was a reason to buy a celeron. By the time intel got around to PUTTING A CACHE in it the Athlon was out, at the same price point, and beating the living dogshit out of it.
      • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:16AM (#9821386) Homepage
        There was "never" a time to buy a celeron. Sorry, there was once such a time. The celeron 300A. It was so cheap it was practically free and could be easily clocked to 450MHz and higher. But, other than that one chip, you're right.

        • Don't forget the 600MHz parts... they were newly upgraded to the Coppermine core (more cache) and consistantly OCed to 900MHz (66Mhz FSB to 100MHz).
        • Agree on the Celeron 300A. I still have one too. Nice to overclock the memory bus to 100Mhz. But, have to add, the "other" time to buy a Celeron was in the laptop market since AMD was absent from that arena for so many years, and then came with power sucking devices initially. The Celeron's would run quite cool and sip power miserly and be a good $100 -$200 cheaper than the Pentium alternative.
        • Don't forget the BP6 too. A pair of 500MHz Celerons made for a nice little machine that still fit well inside most budgets.
        • Re:Beats the Celeron... (Score:5, Informative)
          by Anita Coney (648748) Alter Relationship on Wednesday July 28, @10:16AM (#9821386)
          There was "never" a time to buy a celeron. Sorry, there was once such a time. The celeron 300A. It was so cheap it was practically free and could be easily clocked to 450MHz and higher. But, other than that one chip, you're right.

          I have a BP6 motherboard with dual-celeron 300As overclocked to 500. It still runs faithfully after about 5 years of usage.

  • IT on slashdot? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Come on slashdot, "IT" is PHB-speak, not geek-speak!
    • I am a geek, not a PHB, and I refer to myself as an IT professional []. It (IT) is an appealing term because the alternative is to be part of information services which implies that you do something, and I'd rather get paid to sit around and slashdot :)
  • AMD vs Intel (Score:4, Insightful)

    by myte ( 799564 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:54AM (#9821188)
    I am so happy that AMD is really giving Intel a run for their money. I remember when they had so many problems with their first few processors. Now that their processors are strong and stable they have a lot of 'followers'. Their processors are a great value and definately worth every penny.

    I love rooting for the underdog and watching them really become a force in the market. Kudos to AMD and good luck in the future.
    • was the crappy motherboards and chipsets at the time that gave them a bad name. In particular, VIA's godawful KT133. Intel never really had this problem as they make their own motherboards and chipsets. AMD is on equal footing now that nVidia has started making some excellent chipsets for them, though, and VIA has made some major leaps in quality since then as well.
      • VIA has made some major leaps in quality since then as well

        VIA sucks. I have a KT400 based board that's been flaky from the get-go, the onboard USB seems to crash the system after about 20 minutes of use. Very unstable with Radeon cards, unless you don't mind AGP4x (and you HAVE to disable Fast Writes).
        • I have a KT400 system that's been giving me zero problems for close to a year now, running a Radeon card at AGP8x with fast writes enabled. (Although mine is a KT400A, dunno if it makes a difference.) I'm not saying VIA is perfect, but they've come a long way - with the KT133 your situation was the rule and not the exception (except it was probably worse).
          Also helping things is that with the A64s a big chunk of the northbridge is integrated on the processor, giving VIA that much less opportunity to screw u
    • When were the processors the problem? I have a venerable AMD 386-40MHz system collecting dust in my basement that ran solidly for about 8 years before it failed to keep up with my computing needs. I'll bet that if I powered that system back up that it would still be running (although the clock battery has probably died by now).
    • > I am so happy that AMD is really giving Intel a run for their money. I remember when they had so
      > many problems with their first few processors. Now that their processors are strong and stable they
      > have a lot of 'followers'. Their processors are a great value and definately worth every penny.

      Um. The first AMD processors were made in the early 1970s. The first AMD x86 (PC) processors were made around the time that IBM adopted the 8086 processor (the late 1970s, I think).

      And, bah, AMD's proces
  • Sempron ??? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Is it just me or are the processor names getting lamer and lamer.
    What would you call your new processor if you were coming out with your own micro ??
  • by IronChefMorimoto ( 691038 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:01AM (#9821255)
    The Semprons are available in Socket A (AthlonXP) and Socket 754 flavors.

    Anandtech - (better article)
    Tomshardware -

    Big differences are...

    ATHLONXP vs. SEMPRON (SOCKET A) -- can't really tell upon first glance. The Sempron is available in the same speeds as the AthlonXP and based on the Thoroughbred B core (I'm running a Barton and a Thoroughbred B pair of cores in mine and Allison's desktops). The Sempron tops out at a slower over speed vs. the AthlonXP lineup. How confusing is that? The FSB, right now, tops out at 333Mhz, so it might be a little odd to pair a Sempron Socket A up with DDR400 (PC3200) memory.

    ATHLON64 (SOCKET 754) vs. SEMPRON (SOCKET 754) -- same issue -- they both look the same and have the same speed numbering. However, the original 754 was a Clawhammer (1MB L2 cache), followed by Newcastle (512KB L2 cache). Now, the Sempron has a 256KB L2 cache and NO x86-64 instructions. You can run matching memory FSB speeds of 400MHz with the 754 variant of the Sempron.

    The Anandtech article noted that the AthlonXP is the better performance value now, until it's phased out. After that, the Sempron 754 is a good entry-level processor vs. a slightly slower full Athlon64.

    Ugh -- talk about confusing. No more so, I guess, than Intel having 2.8GHz P4 Prescotts and 2.8GHz Celeron Ds.

    • But isn't AMD planning to phase out Socket-754 to replace it with Socket-939? Or were they going to use 754 for Athlon XP and 939 for desktop 64-Bit, and leave 940 for the Opterons? If anyone could confirm this, I'd greatly appreciate it.
      • yes, 939 will replace 754 and 940 but in the short term chips will be released with versions for both.

        the new 939 has less cache but ends up being just as fast because of how it's handled.

        the 939 also allows use of non-ECC RAM that the 940 required.
      • Here's how it is:
        Socket A: Athlon XPs and Semprons which are the same thing except with a different name.
        Socket 754: Athlon 64 "value socket". It'll have A64s up to the 3700+, as well as some Semprons, which are A64s minus the 64-bit capability and half the cache (the latter of which has only a minor effect on performance).
        Socket 939: Mainstream desktop socket. It'll have Athlon 64s for a while to come (4000+ and up). Dunno whether it'll have Semprons.
        Socket 940: Highend socket. This is exclusively Opteron
    • So the biggest question of course, will the SEMPRON work on all socket 754 boards, or do some of those boards expect a x86-64 processor??
  • AMD's Sempron []
  • by djk001 ( 303476 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @10:38AM (#9821605)
    This sounds like just another pretty name at a cheap price, designed to gain market share by selling processors to the same bunch of people who buy cars based on the color.

    ED: I found the car I'm going to buy.
    JOHN: That's good. What is it?
    ED: I don't know, but it's RED.
  • by scoser ( 780371 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @11:16AM (#9822044) Journal
    The hell with this Semipr0n crap, I'm waiting for the new processor instructions for streaming video and integrated XXX chat that come with the Fullpr0n chip!
  • Is it just me, or has Toms Hardware turned into "Press Release Central?" All of their latest articles read like they were copy-and-pasted right out of an AP announcement or C-Net review. I haven't seen any hint of their old skeptical, insightful commentary in months. It was a change that happened first over at Sharkyextreme, but is creeping slowly across the independent review landscape.
    • Is it just me, or has Toms Hardware turned into "Press Release Central?"

    • What really bothered me about the tom's review was that there were more technical details about the celeron than there were about the sempron. I gave up on it and went to anandtech, which is what I should have done in the first place, as they are a much more trustworthy publication and they seem to have a better grasp on english over there in spite of being run be an "anand" instead of a "tom". Makes no sense to me either, but there you have it.
  • Gotta like any registered & trademarked moniker that can be easily misspelled into something more "interesting".
  • by a5cii ( 620929 )
    to get things done

    I have a Celeron 333mhz, 384mb 133 sd-ram, 120gb 7200rpm hdd, 4mb ati rage pro turbo, yamaha ds-xg, 10-100base ethernet

    this machine runs windows 2000 pro and is used as a router, file server, web server, ftp server and is used for everything from graphics to video editing, it can be slow sometimes but most of time its perfect.

    the only thing it wont do is use games but since i use another for games it doesnt matter. Its sort of used as a guest computer so that anyone visiting can browse

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