AMD Duron 800

AMD Duron 800

Chipsets' Capabilities

High-end Athlon Motherboards

High-end PIII Motherboards

AMD Duron 800
Entry-level processor. Rs 5,400
Features: 128 kB L1 cache; 64 kB L2 cache; 800 MHz frequency.
Pros: Inexpensive; good performance.
Cons: None.
Source: Aditya Infotech
Khemka Centre
DDA Building
2-5 Nehru Place, 
New Delhi 110019.
Tel: 11-6223810, 6452211 
Fax: 6227979 
E-mail: kavita_modi@adityagroup.com  website: www.adityagroup.com

AMD has come quite far since the days when the K6-2 or K6-3 tried to play catch-up with Intel’s offerings. First, it was the Athlon in its different forms—K7, K75 and Thunderbird—that gave Intel’s PIII a run for its money in the high-end segment. Then, the Duron released in June last year did the same to the Celeron in the entry-level market.

The Duron is based on the Athlon K7 core, minus 12 million transistors. It has a 128 kB L1 cache and a 64 kB L2 cache, both running at the same speed as the core itself. All Duron processors have a 462-pin Socket A interface, which is the same as Thunderbird’s. The latest Duron runs on 800 MHz and, going by our tests, is quite a performer.

For our tests we used a Creative GeForce display card, a VIA VT82C686A chipset motherboard, and 128 MB RAM. We ran the same set of tests on a Celeron 600 MHz based machine, with an Asus CUSL2-C motherboard and the same configuration. For the benchmarks, we used Business Winstone 99, Winbench 99, Quake III Arena and 3D Winbench 2000. Whereas Winstone and Quake III help us in looking at the larger picture, specialized processor tests in Winbench and 3D Winbench stress the CPU and measure its performance.

So, how did the Duron 800 fare? We wouldn’t be too far off the mark if we said that perhaps the only reason that the Duron is called a low-end processor is because of its price. It was able to pump out 108 frames per second (fps) in Quake III at 640x480 resolution with 32-bit color depth, which is about 12 frames more than its older cousin, the Duron 700. These dropped to about 82 fps at 800x600 with 32-bit color depth. Nevertheless, these are really good frame rates for a 3D game, resulting in very smooth game play.

In Business Winstone 99, which measures performance in running normal productivity applications like office suites and Web browsers, our test setup got a score of 28.8, which is higher than the Duron 700 by only about 0.8 marks.

We then moved to benchmarks that stress the processor specifically, which include CPU Mark and FPU Mark of Winbench, and the 3D Winbench 2000 processor test. The CPU Mark showed a 12.6 percent gain, while it was ahead in the other two tests by about 10 percent each. We also tried to see where the new Duron stands compared to a Celeron 600 MHz—Intel’s processor for the entry-level segment. The scores for the Celeron were way below those of Duron 800, and even those of Duron 700. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the Celeron 700 MHz for comparison. Another Celeron version, which runs at 800 MHz on 100 MHz FSB, was announced only recently; so we couldn’t catch it on time.

  Business Winstone 99 (Winmarks) Quake III Arena 640x480 at 32-bit color depth Quake III Arena 800x600 at 32-bit color depth Winbench (FPU Mark) (FPU marks) Winbench (CPU Mark) (CPU marks) 3D Winbench 2000 (Processor test)
(CPU Winmarks)

Duron 800

28.8

108

82.3

4360

65.9

1.3

Duron 700

28

95.7

80

3810

59.1

1.18

Celeron 600

25.6

64.1

60.2

3180

44.4

0.997

Overall, Duron 800 is the way to go for entry-level PCs. Another interesting point here is that entry-level processors are fast approaching the GHz limit. So, every desktop may well have one soon.

Anuj Jain for PCQ Labs

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