AMD Duron 800 MHz Review

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Just a few days after I completed the Duron Overclock Article, I received the latest in Duron processors from FedEx. A couple thoughts went through my head: should I use the Duron 800 in the same tests? Should I even bother reviewing it after completing the many tests with the Duron 700 MHz processor? The answer I came to for both was ‘yes’.

The Duron 800 was announced and released in parallel with the Athlon 1.2 GHz processor. A new high-end processor and a new low-end processor to further compete and shove the competition out the way. While an 800 MHz CPU may seem like old news, at such a low cost to the mass market, 800 MHz sounds like gold. For budget-PC buyers, the higher the clockspeed, the better the machine: whether that is true or not.

For the hardcore buyer, the higher clockspeed usually just means you have a better chance of overclocking successfully. However, we are not the majority of the market share, so we think may not matter as much as we’d like it to.

Either way, the Duron 800 helps keep AMD on top of Intel in every category of processor for the highest clockspeed. Having just released their 733 and 766 MHz Celeron processors in Japan, and with problems getting anything at 1 GHz or higher out to sell, Intel is sure in a rut.

AMD Duron 800 MHz Review - Processors 20
(Duron 800 – Duron 650 (Yes, that is a copy of Maxim magazine behind them)

Pictures that you might have seen of the Duron processor show off its strong blue tint that has been on lacking previous Duron processors. Many readers initially believed that these processors came from the fab in Dresden, meaning they had copper interconnects like the 1+ GHz Athlons. They were wrong, however, all Durons were and are still being made only in Austin and have aluminum interconnects.

Well, after having your hopes dashed on that field, lets see the stats of the CPU itself:

  • Socket A interface
  • 0.18-micron manufacturing process
  • 25 million transistors on a 100mm^2 die
  • 128K L1 cache, 64K full-speed L2 cache
  • Fully-pipelined, superscalar floating point engine
  • 200MHz system bus
  • Enhanced 3DNow! Instructions

For benchmarking the Duron 800 MHz CPU, I ran the benchmarks at 800 MHz, overclocked to 1000 GHz, and against the Thunderbird 800 MHz processor for easy comparison. Here is the system setup for the tests:

Test System Setup
CPU AMD Duron 800 MHz
AMD Thunderbird 800 800 MHz
AMD Duron 800 @ 1000 MHz
Motherboard Epox 8KTA+ Rev 1.1
Memory 2 x 128 Mushkin PC133 222 SDRAM
Hard Drive 20.5 GB ATA66 7200 RPM Western Digital
Video Card GeForce 2 GTS 64MB (Hercules)
Video Drivers Detonator 6.31
Operating System Windows 98 SE
Windows 2000 Professional (SPEC tests)
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