iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Low-End Single/Dual-Core CPUs: Leisurely Computing

Testing four low-end CPUs from Intel and AMD.

July 29, 2008

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Non-professional/home tests


Out of doubt, Celeron defeats Sempron owing to its twice as large L2 cache. But what helped Athlon 64 X2 outperform Pentium? We can assume that it happens owing to the cache architecture. L2 Cache in AMD processors is traditionally exclusive, while in Intel processors it's traditionally not.


It's almost parity. Intel processors win only by score.


Pay attention to the gap between single- and dual-core processors rather than to the difference between Intel and AMD products. It's quite clear that you shouldn't save on a processor, when you choose between Celeron/Sempron and even the cheapest dual-core model.

Non-professional photo processing

The most interesting part is hidden in detailed results here: Athlon 64 X2 3600+ copes with the ACDSee task for 16 minutes, while Sempron does it for 1 hour 12 minutes! The reason is probably the fatally insufficient L2 cache. No other ideas come to mind.

Total non-professional score

AMD fans can finally congratulate themselves for the right choice: the cheapest dual-core processor from AMD outperforms its Intel competitor in the home group of tests owing to the convincing victory in games and higher results in archiving. However, Sempron is not doing that good. It's always unlucky, as you may have already noticed.

Estimated power consumption*

* We actually measure power consumption of the on-board VRM, so our readings may be higher, because VRM is not 100% efficient.


The impossible happens sometimes: idle power consumption of Athlon 64 X2 3600+ is lower than that of Sempron LE-1100! We can only blame the bad sample of this processor. The absolute value of 3 Watt in Celeron 420 is quite impressive, even though we expected low results.

100% load

The power consumption chart under 100% load is not surprising. Everything goes as it should.


Here is the main conclusion: AMD processors are still doing fine in the Low-End segment (unlike the High-End). The cheapest dual-core processors offer similar performance. Sempron is outperformed by Celeron, but not as much as Phenom X4 by Core 2 Extreme. There is still a small fly in the ointment: AMD processors are not only slower, they are also much hotter. Not as hot as the notorious NetBurst, of course. But power consumption of K8 is still significantly higher than that of Intel Core. However, with the peak value of 40 W, many people will just not pay much attention to it.

Memory modules provided by Corsair Memory Russia.

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