AMD Sempron review
AMD caters for the budget end of the market with the single-core Sempron family. Making use of the AM2 platform’s 800MHz memory compatibility, as well as AMD64 support, it’s a far cry from the weakling you might expect at this low budget.
Produced using a 90nm process, the Sempron has the added security of AMD’s NX-bit technology, and Cool’n’Quiet is also supported. As it is, the TDP of 62W is low, but there are also Energy Efficient models available with a TDP of just 35W for those looking to build a quiet and low-power PC. You pay around a 15% premium, but performance is identical.
The Sempron range offers a choice of three clock speeds – 1.6GHz, 1.8GHz and 2GHz – each with a further option of 128KB or 256KB of Level 2 cache. Looking at the results, we saw very little difference between each identically clocked pair. Only the Microsoft Office test showed a 9-10% drop in performance for the 128KB models. So if you use Office a lot, you’ll want a 256KB-equipped model, but expect to pay a little extra for the privilege.
The pricing structure of the Sempron line isn’t linear in terms of price to performance, with the entry-level 2800+ the undoubted star when it comes to value. It costs just £22 yet still delivered 0.61 overall in our tests (better than the cheapest Celeron D). The £7 rise to the 3000+, with twice the cache, doesn’t really justify the performance increase of just 0.03.
Then the curve begins to flatten out, with the price difference between the 3200+ and the 3500+ (an 11% rise in performance) being just £5. The jump from there to the top-end 3600+ is an unreasonable £15, so the 3500+ is the second choice after the 2800+ if you want more power. Since prices will likely fluctuate, look around to see if any of the other models have fallen in price before you buy.
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