Power Consumption and Conclusions
The Athlon X2 processors have been very impressive in terms of performance per watt calculations, but will overclocking the 3800+ counter the balance that AMD has created?
If it does, it is just barely. The 3800+ OC is the most power hungry of the processors shown here, but by a slim 9 watts under load. Consider the performance increases we are getting out of it, that seems reasonable. What is more impressive is what you see when you compare the Athlon 64 4000+ to the X2s — nearly comparable power consumption even with dual cores!
We can now pretty much guess what the results are going to be to our initial challenge: EASILY get the 3800+ processor to perform as well or better than the nearly $800 4800+ processor.
The Athlon X2 3800+ processor in its stock form is in general a good performing processor courtesy of two cores running at 2.0 GHz with dual channel DDR400 memory. It is obviously slower than the other X2 processors on the market, but you have to expect that when you are saving as much money as you do with this model. In multi-tasking environments, the 3800+ did better than the top single core Athlon 64 processor, the 4000+, but in the single threaded applications and tests the 400 MHz deficit that the 3800+ has haunted it. In gaming, which is still mainly a single threaded venture, that will mean even more.
By doing our simple overclock to the 3800+ and pushing the frequency from 2.0 GHz to 2.5 GHz, we can get the best of both worlds. While the FX line still holds the crown for top single threaded performance (and gaming) the X2 3800+ @ 2.5 GHz is damn close. And the benefits you get for a multitasking environment more than make up for the speed decreases you see in single threaded applications in this humble editor’s opinion. Anyone that is doing more than one thing on the computer you are on right now reading this, should agree.
Price and Value
Pretty simple algorithm here:
Throw in our overclocking results though…
Free performance has been the draw of overclocking since its inception and in this case we think the benefits of overclocking might actually be on the rise for even semi-experienced enthusiast users.
If you are building a new system or upgrading your current one, the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ makes a fantastic option in terms of both performance and price if you can deal with minor overclocking.
Be sure to use our price checking engine to find the best prices on the AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+, and anything else you may want to buy!