By now, many of you have heard of the new AMD socket AM2 chips. The question that comes to mind is, is it any different from the “old” socket 939 chip? AMD touts this as a major technological breakthrough. Let's take a look and see if it's all talk or there's something to back that claim up.
The AM2 integrated DDR2 Memory controller features high performance and high bandwidth, reduced DRAM latency times, boosted performance for memory hungry applications. It also supports PC2-6400 (DDR2 800), PC2 5300 (DDR2 667), PC2 4200 (DDR2 533), and PC2 3200 (DDR2 400), un-buffered DIMMS, 128 bit interface, and up to 12 GB/s memory bandwidth.
Compare to the 939 integrated DDR2 Memory controller, which is nearly identical except in the following areas:
- RAM support is only for PC 3200 (DDR 400), PC 2700 (DDR 333), PC 2100 (DDR 266), and PC 1600 (DDR 200) and only up to 6.4 GB/s memory bandwidth.
Between the two you can see that there is better RAM support for the AM2, at RAM speeds that are twice as fast as the 939 socket chips. The faster RAM speeds allow for greater bandwidth which is again nearly twice that of the 939. This faster RAM of course equates to faster PC response time, and will virtually eliminate lags caused by RAM bottlenecks.
Now let us look at the AMD technology core. This is the heart of the processor. The socket AM2 and socket 939 chips feature high performance for 32 bit and 64 bit applications, additional 64 bit internal registers for computing performance, which means it can address areas beyond 4 GB for new capabilities, and enhanced virus protection which works in conjunction with Windows XP SP2, Linux, Solaris, and BSD Unix to provide protection from buffer overrun attacks. (The socket 939 is identical in all areas here and therefore not listed separately).
There are 64 KB L1 cache for each core and either 512 or 1024 KB L2 cache per core. The L2 level depends on the exact chip that is selected. There is 640 KB or 1152 KB cache per core, depending on the chip selected, for a total effective cache of either 1280 KB or 2304 KB cache per processor core. (The cache features for the socket 939 are identical to the AM2 in all regards and so are not listed individually.)