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Review: AMD Athlon 64 Model 3000+

by Tarinder Sandhu on 5 March 2004, 00:00


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What you get

Athlon 64 Clawhammer CPUs are currently only available in P.I.N (Processor In Box) form. That means a flashy box, an accompanying cooler, and a 3-year warranty. Let's take a look.

The Model 3000+ is housed in a sealed plastic box that's harder to break into than Fort Knox. A pair of very sharp scissors, much cursing and sighing, and a few minutes' worth of effort finally persuaded the plastic to yield. The box clearly states that it's a Model 3000+ with 512kb of L2 cache. We can also gather that it was assembled in Malaysia, much like Intel's CPUs.

Apart from the CPU itself, there's a heavyweight, copper-bottomed cooler with a pre-applied TIM (Thermal Interface Material). AMD seems to want to ensure super glue-like contact between the cooler and CPU. Removing the cooler after a bout of testing wrenched the CPU out of the socket too, such was the TIM's hold. The processor had to be prized off with a screwdriver. AMD thoughtfully includes a retention bracket and accompanying backplate for motherboard mounting. Our test ABIT KV8-MAX3, for example, arrived without one. A decent color installation guide, certificate of authenticity, and limited 3-year warranty papers are included, as is the ubiquitous AMD 64 case badge.

The bundle is very much like Intel's retail offerings, so is the CPU's appearance, replete with a metal heatspreader. The model number is clearly identified on the slug. The number 4 in the second line identifies it as a CPU with 512kb of L2 cache. Both the Models 3200+ and 3400+ use a number 5, which, as you may have guessed, indicates the full 1024kb. We can also glean that it was manufactured (or assembled) in week 50 of 2003. Stepping information isn't as vital as it was for the Athlon XP. Perhaps it will be as more and more Athlon 64s are produced.

VIA's K8T800 and NVIDIA nForce3 chipsets currently vye for Socket-754 supremacy. Both are blighted by the initial series of boards inability to lock the sensitive PCI and AGP buses. That's the major Achilles Heel for enthusiasts who wish to tread the Athlon 64 path. Pricing-wise, The Model 3000+ retails for around £170, the 3200+ (differentiated only by L2 cache size, remember) at around £205, and the 3400+ at £295. We'll now see if the £35 saving over the Model 3200+ is worth it or not.