AMD Sempron review
Semprons have been around since 2004, but these latest revisions, based on the 65nm Sparta core, only started to emerge last summer. They’re still single core, but fully 64-bit capable, and can be used in any Socket AM2 motherboard.
Like the Athlon, the Sempron has recently had a naming overhaul. Old model numbers have been retired, in favour of a new system that stretches from the LE-1100 (1.9GHz) up to the LE-1300 (2.3GHz). There’s a cache jump between the 1150 and the 1200, from 256KB up to 512KB, but otherwise clock speed is the only real difference between models. Indeed, as our benchmarks show, the cache increase makes only a small difference to performance.
That’s a shame, because the Sempron could use a boost. £33 is cheap for a processor, but an Athlon will give you better performance for the same money – and hardware virtualisation support, too, unlike the Sempron.
But this range does have one very practical benefit: a low thermal design power of just 45W. They’ll need less cooling than most alternatives, which in turn means a quieter PC.
So while the Sempron will never be a workhorse CPU, it could be an excellent choice for a lightweight role – say, a word-processing machine or a home server. But if performance is of the slightest importance to you, you’ll be better served by an Athlon or a Pentium Dual-Core.