Summary

Our Score

6/10

Review Price free/subscription

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition - AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition

The other components were 2GB of OCZ Reaper PC2-9200 memory, a Hitachi 7K1000 hard drive and a Sapphire X1950 GT graphics card with Windows XP SP2. We ran three tests; PCMark05, 3DMark06 and DVD rendering with a 350MB AVI file in Nero 7. 3DMark06 is almost exclusively a test of the graphics card but it also shows up glitches in system performance, PCMark05 tests the whole system and gives a break-down of the sub-systems, while video rendering is a pure test of the CPU.

First up was a 2.6GHz Athlon 64 X2 5000+ which gave us base line figures, followed by the X2 6400+. The AMD model codes suggest that an X2 6400+ is 28 percent faster than the 5000+ however the 3.2GHz clock speed of the X2 6400+ is only 23 percent faster than the 2.6GHz of the X2 5000+. The overall result in PCMark05 gave the X2 6400+ the nod to the tune of a little over 14 percent while the CPU element of the benchmark rose by 23 percent, which is exactly in line with the clock speeds.

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In the video rendering test the X2 6400+ rendered the movie nearly 20 percent faster than the X2 5000+. As the two X2 CPUs share the same L2 cache and data bus it is a mystery why AMD sticks to its absurd model codes when it is clear that the X2 6400+ is more akin to an X2 6150+, and that's only if you take the X2 5000+ at face value.
It's all well and good comparing one AMD processor with another but anyone contemplating a new CPU should be considering a Core 2 Duo so we plugged a Core 2 Duo E6750 in to a Foxconn G33M-S motherboard with the same memory, hard drive and graphics card. The E6750 runs at 2.67GHz on a 1,333MHz FSB and costs £126 at Overclockers so it is cheaper than the X2 6400+ and nominally it is slower.

The results of the tests clearly show that the E6750 is four percent faster than the X2 6400+ in PCMark05 and is 12 percent faster in the graphics rendering test but that's only half the story. The Athlon 64 X2 can be overclocked by a small amount if you work very, very hard at the job but the Core 2 Duo overclocks like a dream. We cranked the 1,333MHz FSB on the E6750 to 1,600MHz to give a clock speed of 3.20GHz which dropped the video rendering time to seven minutes 59 seconds and raised the PCMark05 score to 7896, and all that on standard voltages with a nice quiet CPU cooler.


Verdict

The Athlon 64 X2 6400+ takes the K8 family of processors to new and unexpected heights but the cruel truth is that it's completely overshadowed by Intel's Core 2 Duo which is better in every department.


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