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On a quick side note, AMD will also be shipping mobile Semprons, but all of these are based on the Socket-754 platform.
So let’s go back to the Socket-A range for now. Due to the wide install base of Socket-A motherboards and AMD’s interest in the developing markets such as India, China and parts of the ex Soviet Union, the Duron was brought back to life and one would presume that the Sempron will take over where the Duron left off. The Sempron is however intended for the world wide market as a direct competitor to Intel’s latest Celeron range.
Looking at the benchmark numbers the Sempron 2800+ isn’t the hottest processor around with an overall SYSmark 2004 score of 121, but in all fairness this is more than good enough for everyday tasks. AMD supplied the processor with an Asus A7N8X-VM motherboard which is based on the nVidia nForce2 chipset and 512MB of PC2700 DDR SDRAM – this is the type of configuration that I would expect to see when retail Sempron systems appear. We added a 120GB Maxtor IDE hard drive and an AOpen GeForce FX5900 XT, which again are components that would add up to a reasonably priced PC.
These are similar specs to those we used when we tested the AOpen XC Cube EZ18 and although that was tested with an Athlon XP 3000+ the results are at least comparable to some degree. The SYSmark 2004 score is some eight points slower, which isn’t a massive gap and proves that the Sempron is similar in design and performance to its XP cousin.
The PCMark 2004 scores shows similar differences and moving over to the 3D benchmarks the Sempron only falls behind by a couple of frames in all of the tests. This is pretty much expected as the CPU is clocked slightly slower, so for those who already own a fast AMD Athlon XP processor, the Sempron is not the way to go. However, if you own an older processor and have a motherboard that supports the Thoroughbred-B core, then it might be a worthwhile upgrade.
The biggest problem is that the Sempron 2800+ is priced too high at £76.98 since the 2800+ Athlon XP with the Barton core costs £1 less – of course that is not the retail boxed version of the XP, but even a retail box will only set you back £7 more than the equivalent Sempron.
The 3100+ part is far more interesting with a retail price of £88.99, but we still need to find out how it will perform. It shouldn’t be too long before we get our paws on a 3100+ Sempron, and I suspect that it will give AMD’s new budget line a commendable price/performance ratio.
AMD’s new Sempron family is not as exciting as I first thought, but I think that the 3100+ part is going to be the chip to have. The Socket-A models are somewhat disappointing since AMD’s own Athlon XP chips make them look like poor value. Of course all this will change once AMD discontinues the Athlon XP range.