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Along with last week's Athlon 64 FX-62 CPU and Socket AM2 chipset announcements, AMD introduced a more mainstream dual-core chip, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+. At $696 (according to AMD's pricing per 1,000 units), the X2 5000+ has a lot of performance to offer for the price, stacking up well alongside AMD's pricier Athlon 64 X2 FX-60 and FX-62 CPUs, as well as Intel's most advanced desktop chip, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965. If Intel weren't close to announcing a major overhaul to its CPU lineup in the coming months, we'd be able to provide a clearer recommendation for the Athlon 64 X2 5000+. As it stands, powerful though it is, we suggest you hold off purchasing such an expensive chip until we know what Intel's next-generation Core 2 Duo processors will bring to the computing table.
Despite the impending Intel announcement, the X2 5000+ deserves merit. Compared to everything else in the field right now, the X2 5000+ will serve everyone but demanding gamers well. At 2.6GHz per core, it's faster than all of AMD's original X2 series of dual-core CPUs. It was also announced on the same date as the aforementioned Socket AM2 chipset for a reason.
The new AM2 chipset brings all of AMD's CPUs onto an updated motherboard platform, although the company needs to reissue separate AM2 versions of the old Socket 939 chips. The X2 5000+, however, is Socket AM2 only. About all that really means is that you'll need to buy a new motherboard (Socket AM2 and Socket 939 aren't cross-compatible) and new DDR2 memory, since AM2 boards don't use DDR memory. Aside from the memory switch, the only other major advantage of the new platform is reduced power consumption. Whereas on Socket 939, the highest-end X2 chip, the 4800+, required 115 watts from your power supply, the X2 5000+ (and the AM2 version of the 4800+) needs only 89 watts. While we appreciate the improvement, it will really benefit you only if you're building a PC with multiple high-end graphics cards.
Chipset updates aside, the real news about the X2 5000+ is its performance. It performed so well, about the only task we don't recommend it for is extreme gaming. Otherwise, it will give you fast performance at significant cost savings. The best example is our multitasking test. The X2 5000+ finished our test a few seconds faster than the Athlon 64 FX-60, which costs roughly $125 more. And even where it didn't win, the X2 5000+ turned in strong scores. Both its SysMark 2004 scores and its times on our multimedia tests trailed the FX-60 slightly. And for Intel's part, its $1,100 Pentium Extreme Edition 965 chip trailed the X2 5000+ on all but the stand-alone DivX 6.2 encoding test. In other words, the X2 5000+ is a great choice for digital content creation and fast day-to-day computing.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating||BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating||SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating|
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|VirusScan 10 and DivX 6.2|