by November 1, 2004 0 comments



Sempron is AMD’s new budget processor that intends to replace the Duron. The Sempron has been a huge hit since it’s release, especially in the South American and Asian markets. By introducing Sempron, AMD plans to build on the success in this critical market segment, where price is a major factor. 

The word Sempron has been derived from the Latin word ‘Semper’, which means ‘always’ and the suffix ‘ron’ apparently means ‘budget processor’ (we’re still looking for an explanation on that one!). 

Sempron runs on 333 MHz FSB (Front Side Bus) speed and has 256 KB of L2 cache, which is double the cache of Duron. The Sempron debuts (primarily) as a Socket A processor with a Socket 754 variant available as well, but will switch ‘exclusively’ to the Socket 754 and 939 platforms in the future. Instead of completely phasing out the Socket A processors (the deaths of Athlon XP and Duron have already been announced), Sempron attempts to ease the transition away from Socket A, without upsetting any of its buyers in this market segment.

Direct Hit!
Applies to: Desktop and notebook users
USP:
Analyzes the features and benefits of AMD’s new Sempron processor and its roadmap
Links: www.amd.com

Specific models (speeds) of the processor will belong to a particular platform but there is no way for the buyer to tell what platform a particular model belongs to by just having a look at the model number (processor speed) itself. The model number of the processor is simply a four digit number followed by the ‘+’ sign. This number is a measure of the processor’s performance, ie, higher the number, faster the processor. Having a single name for different processors (despite having different socket types) may prove to be more of a hindrance than convenience. AMD might like to work on this, say, provide a letter in the model number that explicitly calls out the form factor of the particular processor. For example, Sempron 3500W+ and 3200W+ for the Socket 939 types and say, Sempron 3400T+ and 3100T+ to indicate the Socket 754 series.
In case you’re wondering, the ‘+’ sign at the end of each model number indicates ‘added performance benefits’. These ‘performance benefits’ include what AMD calls ‘3Dnow! Professional technology’, which is a set of 72 instructions fully compatible with Intel’s SSE instruction set and offers enhanced performance and support for multimedia applications.
While the Socket A variant is, obviously, quite similar to the Duron (with increased cache), the Socket 754 and Socket 939 versions of the processor bear sharp resemblance to the Athlon 64. That is, they have all the features of the Athlon 64 except x86-64 (64-bit computing) and less cache, in other words, saying that Socket 754 Sempron is a 32-bit Socket 754 Athlon 64 XP with half the cache would not be an exaggeration.

Sempron comes in two variants, the Mobile AMD Sempron and (vanilla) AMD Sempron. The Mobile AMD Sempron is designed for notebooks and other mobile devices. It consumes less power and offers a host of features not in the (vanilla) AMD Sempron such as ‘Enhanced Virus Protection Capability’, which, by the look of things, offers systems running Wind XP SP2 increased protection against memory buffer overrun stacks. Now how successful this feature is, remains to be seen. The Mobile AMD Sempron is ‘wireless compatible’, which means that it ships with built in support for 802.11a, b and g networks. The market is flooded with the Socket A variants of the processor: the Sempron 2800+ running at 2.0 GHz, 2600+ (1.833 GHz), 2500+ (1.75 GHz), 2400+ (1.667 GHz), 2300+ (1.583 GHz) and 2200+ (1.5 GHz). A Socket 754-the Sempron 3100+ running at 1.8 GHz-is now available too.

Kunal Dua

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