What about Socket 754 w/ Sempron 64

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BillyBuerger
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What about Socket 754 w/ Sempron 64

Post by BillyBuerger » Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:07 am

I see lots of talk about socket 939 MBs. Particularly talking about the Venice CPUs. Now where that would be nice, I'm looking to keep things a little cheaper. For about $170, I can get a Sempron 64 2600+ Palermo, motherboard and 512MB ram. A Venice 3000+ with a similar motherboard/memory configuration is about another $100. Most of that in the increase CPU cost. I don't want to go cheap and have it bite me in the butt. But if I can save $100, that would be nice too. Anyone have any experience with these Semprons?

I'm also looking at a this Jetway K8T8AS motherboard I haven't been able to find out much about this either. I picked it for a few reasons.

1) Price.
2) Passive chipset.
3) CPU orientation. I have an Aerocool Ht101-jr. So I want the HS mounted so it's pointing towards the back of the case.
4) AGP. I have a BFG 5200FX GPU which is plenty for my graphics needs and don't want to make an unnecessary video card upgrade.
5) SATA.

So, any comments/suggestions?

Thanks.

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Post by Bitter Jitter » Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:50 am

This new Sempron 64 2600+ could well become the chip of choice for silent computers on a budget soon. I seem to get the impression that AMD have enabled cool and quiet on some these 64 chips as well as allowing them to use 64 bit software. It has to be the E6 stepping otherwise it will be locked on the 2800+ and 2600+. From Asus K8N CPU support page.
If that is the case then the only difference between the Venice and these Palermo chips is L2 cache 128kb (small performance decrease in certain applications) and lack of dual channel controller which is only available to socket 939. The dual channel again only provides a small increase in performance of around 5% in some applications.

There is of course a 200Mhz speed difference, but for most normal tasks your only looking at a 10 - 20% decrease in performance, which isn't alot when you consider the $100 saving.

The only other reason you might want to get socket 939 is because you will be able to upgrade to dual core later but if that is of no interest then socket 754 is good enough.

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Post by BillyBuerger » Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:19 am

Thanks for the info. I was having trouble finding any good info on the new Semprons. They sound promissing. Performance isn't a huge issue for me. Any modern CPU would probably be fine for me.

I'm rethinking the motherboard though. I'm a little concerned about undervolting and/or CnQ. I think it might be worth it to invest in a slightly better MB. I'm now also looking at these two which are both nForce3 based:

eVGA 115-K8-NF31-AX - Specs look nice. But I can't find any info about BIOS updates for E6 CPUs or anything about undervolting or CnQ. Actually, their website doesn't have any BIOS updates at all. ???

Soltek SL-K8AN2E-GR - More 'stuff' but nothing that I particularily need. It's on the undervolt and CnQ list here at spcr. =) BIOS updates available for E6 CPUs. There were a few bad comments at Newegg about parts failing. =(

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Post by Hifriday » Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:23 am

I have built two Sempron systems for office use and was very pleased with their low cost, low temperature, and low noise using the stock cooler. Cool'n'Quiet is enabled only for 1.8ghz and above Semprons, meaning 3000+ and up, however the 2800+ already runs so cool that CnQ is not really necessary (unless of course you want to adjust vcore/multipliers via software). My Sempron64 3000+ is running in a matx case with onboard video/notebook HDD, stock cooler at 70%, idle CPU temp 29C/48W AC draw, and 40C/80W under Prime95.

In terms of performance, this system handles office apps and multimedia very well. I cannot vouch for other apps, however from the reviews I have seen on the net it performs nearly the same as similarly clocked S754 Atholon64s in most applications despite its reduced cache. Maybe noticably slower only in a few areas like video encoding apps.

Being the only 90nm option for S754, I am surprised there is not more talk in SPCR about the Semprons, but I guess with all the higher clocked chips and dual core, S939 is a "hotter" topic.
Upgrade path is limited with S754, but there is always the A64 3700+ 130nm @2.4ghz which is still a good candidate for performance hungry apps and cost less than the S939 equivalent, although cooling and keeping that chip quiet will need a bit of work.

For the MB, I used the MSI K8MM-V (via K8M800 chipset) because of the matx size, onboard video, and low cost. I was pleasantly surprised that the bios has smartfan control to automatically spin down the CPU fan, or alternatively both fan headers can also be controlled by Speedfan. The Vcore is not adjustable in BIOS, but with a 3000+ or higher Sempron, CrystalCPUID allows for both voltage and multiplier adjustments via software. Oddly enough though minimum Vcore is 1.1v for this mb and not the usual 0.8v.
If you don't need mATX and onboard video then you have a very wide range of inexpensive and better featured S754 boards. You may want to consider Nforce3 boards which come with a lot of great features.

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Although it isn't X86-64...

Post by derekva » Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:08 am

The 90nm 3300+ E-stepping Sempron is a *killer* processor and runs very cool. The perfect processor for an HTPC, IMHO.

-Derek

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:34 am

theres nothing more low power yet SUPER stable in the 754 range than a via kt800 pro chipset.

I say go 754 over 939 cuz performance is nothing to speak about when you are using a sempron, you just want stable and decent performance, and cool running.

i have an Abit KV8 Pro, its a wonderful board. it is missing Firewire, it really needs it. the northbridge is passive and remains moderately warm after being on gaming for a day.

90 nm with this board will run cooler than a 939 setup, unless of course you go via kt800 pro, then its probably similar.

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Post by BillyBuerger » Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:15 am

Well, I decided on the Soltek and just placed the order. I'll let you know how it all works out.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:20 pm

via chipset's = pwnage for silent quiet and stable.

they have been for a couple of years actually.

never heard of soltek :) probably fine though, most boards differ little I find.

epox would be a cool brand to use if they made more via chips. instead they go the kiddie-crap route more often it seems.

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Post by BrianE » Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:49 pm

BillyBuerger wrote:Well, I decided on the Soltek and just placed the order. I'll let you know how it all works out.
Looks like a good board to me... passive cooling and nForce3-based so if you ever want to dabble with O/Cing you can. :) I don't think there's anything wrong with Soltek from the reviews I've read of their boards.

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Post by autoboy » Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:10 pm

I've had my sempron 2600+ since they came out and i love it. My board is an MSI nforce 3 (can't remember the model) that does not allow undervolting but these things run at only 1.4V compared to the 1.5V A64. i was concerned about the no cool and quiet but mine stays at 36C with an aerocool tower ducted out the back using a panaflo L1A at just 5V. no problems keeping this thing cool. it has some trouble running FFDshow at 1080p but at 720p it hovers around 90%. Only problem is my fx5200 is only 64bit so it can't really keep up. If you are looking at a good system with decent performance you can't go wrong. Plus they overclock to 2.4 - 2.5 if you need the speed. Go with the ones with 128k over the 256 cause they are cheaper and the extra cache does not do much

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Post by BillyBuerger » Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:07 am

I've heard of Soltek, though I've never used one. I picked it mostly because in the Undervoltable Motherboard list, it states "All Soltek". Plus someone posted on the Newegg review that they were able to undervolt. So I new I would be in good shape there. It's also listed in the Cool-n-Quiet list. Although it sounds like my Sempron 64 2600+ won't do CnQ. But that's not too much of a concern as it's a low power chip in the first place. So with all this, I feel compfortable that this MB will be good from a cooling stand point.

Soltek also has a Via KT800 board. But it was only about $9 less. And the NForce3 has gigabit Lan and more SATA. I thought those might be nice for future options. Plus I've heard good things about the NForce3. I haven't particularily heard much about the Via ones until just now.

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Post by burcakb » Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:39 am

Make sure your board is the KT800 PRO chipset, not the non-pro. That's the chipset on my Thor rig and i'm running an A64 3000+ (2 Ghz) at 2.4 GHz, folding at full load 24/7. I remember non-pro being slightly buggy.

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Post by BillyBuerger » Fri Aug 19, 2005 5:33 pm

Oh wow, this thing is so cool. This is so much better than my Palamino 1600+. I didn't realize that the E6 Semprons had SSE3 as well. Added bonus! I undervolted to 1.2V. I haven't tried lower yet. But it's already idling at 96F. Here's a CPU-Z screen shot:

Image

And now I can use my Samsung SP0812C. Things are so quiet. Only problem is that now I can tell that my power supply is too noisy. Guess it's time to get a Seasonic. =)

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Post by rpsgc » Sat Aug 20, 2005 1:51 am

From what I've seen on Asus CPU support page, the new E6 stepping Semprons all have C'n'Q, the E3 ones just have on the top models (>3000+). Hope that helps.

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Post by Bitter Jitter » Sat Aug 20, 2005 3:35 am

Looking sweet BillyBuerger, i take it that cool n quiet is working as well?
Good choice on the Soltek board, i myself was going to buy one before i brought my Asus K8N. Unfortunatly the place i was buying my CPU from didn't have it, so i went with the Asus.

This has made me think that i would be better off getting one of these CPU's for £45 and selling my current Athlon 64 instead of buying another heatsink.

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Post by Jan Kivar » Sat Aug 20, 2005 8:52 am

BillyBuerger, please re-check if Cool 'n' Quiet is working for those 2500+/2600+/2800+ E6-revisions (seems you have a 2600+).

The easiest way to see it is to check with CrystalCPUID; the "PowerNow!/Cool 'n'Quiet"-text should be non-grayed in the lower portion of the main screen (as it is with my 3300+ E6, along with AMD64/SSE3).

May I assume you are undervolting from BIOS?

Cheers,

Jan

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Post by winguy » Sat Aug 20, 2005 9:05 am

And if CnQ isn't enabled on 2500+/2600+/2800+, please check if multiplier is unlocked. :)
Cheers.

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Post by Blooz » Sat Aug 20, 2005 9:26 am

I've been running a Rev "D" Sempron 2800 for a few months with great results.

No, it doesn't have "C+Q", nor is the multiplier unlocked to "step up" - default is 8, you can set it lower if you want.

One thing nobody's metioned is that these bargain chips can O/C like a mad dog! (I know that's not what this place is about, but still!) Mine idles at 31-32C with a 50% O/C at 2.4GHz/1.54V, with a max load temp running OCCT benchmarking of about 48C. (Cooling is a Zalman 7000b AlCu) With stock volts results would be lower.

Even if you aren't into O/Cing, they make a great office rig where the performance can easily be enhanced if necessary.

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Post by winguy » Sat Aug 20, 2005 9:39 am

Blooz wrote:default is 8, you can set it lower if you want.
Hi,
Did you verify this? A screenshot would be nice. :)

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Post by BillyBuerger » Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:44 am

I'll check on the CnQ sometime this week hopefully. The thing is that undervolted to 1.2V, the thing runs so cool it seems unnecessary to clock it down any more. I suppose it might drop a couple watts when not in use which is always a good thing. I'll report back on that and whether it can be manually clocked down soon.

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Post by Hifriday » Mon Aug 22, 2005 7:22 am

I also have a Sempron 2800+ Rev D0, but I suspect that it is multiplier locked both up and down. For certain it cannot be changed via software (CrystalCPUID, CPUMSR) and via BIOS that function unfortunately is not available on my budget mb (MSI-K8MMV). I recently setup a second system with a Sempron 64 3000+ Rev E6 on the same mb, and can confirm that multiplier is unlocked downwards and can be set along with vcore via CrystalCPUID. This chip is running stable undervolted to 1.15v at stock speed 1.8mhz and a ridiculous 26C at idle with the stock cooler fan throttled to 75%!!

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Post by BillyBuerger » Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:24 am

I tried CrystalCPUID. CnQ is not available. The manual for my motherboard shows a manual ratio option in the BIOS. But I don't see it. Either it was a misprint, or it only displays if the CPU supports it. So there doesn't appear to be any underclocking available.

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Post by BillyBuerger » Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:56 pm

Oh, and I thought I would mention. I got a retail version of the Sempron CPU. The included document mentions there is a 3-year warranty. But according to the requirements of the warranty, using any other heatsink other than the one included voids the warranty.... :shock:

Although I will say the stock cooler didn't sound terrible. It seems it would undervolt well. And given how cool the CPU runs, it probably could be used in a fairly quiet system.

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Post by winguy » Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:05 am

Hifriday wrote:I recently setup a second system with a Sempron 64 3000+ Rev E6 on the same mb, and can confirm that multiplier is unlocked downwards and can be set along with vcore via CrystalCPUID.
That's because 3000+ and up have CnQ. What we want to know is whether Sempron E6 2500+/2600+/2800+ (no CnQ) have unlocked multipliers below default so that 'Crystal n Q' is possible. :)

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Post by winguy » Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:53 am

Hifriday wrote:For the MB, I used the MSI K8MM-V (via K8M800 chipset) because of the matx size, onboard video, and low cost. I was pleasantly surprised that the bios has smartfan control to automatically spin down the CPU fan
Hi,
Can you take a picture of the the bios fan control in the latest bios, v1.3?

Thanks.

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Post by ronrem » Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:01 pm

Too bad they didn't do an econo 2500 with cool + quiet and the 256 cache....oh,well.

A Venice 3000 and an ECS KN-1 Extreme is about $250.you get SATA-2,plus an extra SATA raid,Wireless lan+ dual Lans,Dual channel ram,all the NF4 goodies,A special dedicated "clean" pci slot for a quality soundcard.
You have the whole 512 cache,AND Cool n Quiet which auto undervolts when you don't need full power-basically-a whole lot of stuff for $70 more.

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Post by mongobilly » Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:08 am

I got a Sempron64 E6 2800+ on a Asus K8V SE. Works just fine and is easily passively cooled (Sonic Tower one 120mm system fan, Etasis Fanless PSU) in my Antec SLK3700. Highly recommended, as board and CPU cost about the same as a 3000+ Venice (which is likely no more than 25% faster, if you don't need the speed it's better to spend the money on silent parts ;)

The 2800 doesnt do CnQ but it doesn't really need it, under cpuburn it runs about 52° Cand idles at 42°C, all passive.

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Post by Hifriday » Wed Sep 07, 2005 8:22 am

winguy wrote: Can you take a picture of the the bios fan control in the latest bios, v1.3?
If I remember correctly, under H/W MONITOR in the BIOS there are these two settings:
- SMARTFAN : Disabled/40C/50C/60C
- TOLERANCE: 1-5
Also I believe my BIOS is not the latest v1.3 you mentioned as that is dated August and I got my board in July.

I can double-check the BIOS version and also let you know what is under ADV CHIPSET options when I get back next week (however there is no vcore, vid, fid settings). One note however with CrystalCPUID and the Sempron 3000+ minimum voltage I can set is 1.1v, possibly this is a mb or chipset limitation. I managed to pickup a DFI K8M800 mb (very similar to the MSI but with firewire) and will try to test it next week as well.

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Post by =assassin= » Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:06 am

I'm a big fan of the Sempron 64's - so nice to have a cheap 90nm alternative...

When I get my system I might have a go at undervolting (if I need to).

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Post by BillyBuerger » Sat Sep 10, 2005 8:11 am

I think I've finally hit my undervolt limit. 1.025V down from 1.4V stock. Wow, this is great. I've been running Prime95 for about 12 hours at 1.025V with no errors. I tried 1.0V and Windows wouldn't boot. I'm going to let Prime95 run for the next week just to be sure it's stable. Temps didn't seem to change a whole lot at these low voltages. Even at 1.2V it was cool. So I might even bump it up a little just to be safe.

I read in some of the Prime95 docs that running 2 sessions may sometimes reveal errors that a single session doesn't. But when I try to open it again, it just closes and focuses on the current running session. Is there something that needs to be done to get two sessions running?

I'm cooling it with a Aerocool HT101jr and a single Panaflo L1 at 6V. Room temp is about 24C (75F). It idles at 38C (100F). Prime95 runs it up to 47C (117F). I am very happy with both the temps and the noise.

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