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AMD's Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition: The New King of Socket AM2
George Ross, October 5, 2007

A few weeks ago the Athlon 64 X2 6400+ hit the market. This 'new' processor came to be AMD's new top of the line processor for the socket AM2. This processor hit the market with little fan fair. Reasons being that it was only 200MHz faster than the previous top dog the Athlon X2 6000+, it was based on the three year old 90nm Windsor core, and it did not come with a boxed cooler. The seemingly worst of witch is the old core technology, but the 65nm Brisbane core only has 512KB of L2 cache per core compared to the 1024KB cache per core of the Windsor. Also the speed of the Brisbane is less than stellar 2.6GHz being the fastest in the market. So it is easy to see why they went with the Windsor core.

Now looking at the positives of this processor the multipliers are unlocked from 4 ' 16 on my abit KN9 motherboard. This is a good thing if you are into the overclocking business. It also runs your memory at the full DDR2 800 frequency unlike some of the other Athlon 64 models.

The Hardware
Here are the major components of my test system.

Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ "Windsor"
Motherboard ABIT KN9
Memory 4GB GeIL DDR2 800 (PC6400) @ 4-4-4-12 Dual Channel Mode
Hard Drive Western Digital WD 150ADFD-00NLR1 150GB 10,000RPM 16MB cache
Video Card SAPPHIRE X1900GT PCI Express x16

The fastest I could get this processor to clock was 3.4GHz. This is because of the motherboard I could not get the bus speed over 213MHz no matter what HTT multiplier or memory divider I used. I am sure it was not the memory as I got it to run at 426MHz at 4-4-4-12 timings. I even tried relaxing the memory timings and increasing the voltage. Nothing I tried got me over a 213MHz bus speed. With a better motherboard I would say it would be easy to get 3.8 to 4GHz.

Now let's compare the standard and overclocked X2 6400+ to my old X2 5600+ that was in my gaming machine.

General Computing Benchmarks

As you can tell the Windsor core gets better with every clock tick you give it. However the difference in performance from the X2 5600+ is not all that great.

Gaming Benchmarks

Notice in Battlefield 2142 that the higher the CPU clock the lower the minimum frame rate is. Other than that the more clock speed you give to the Windsor core the better your gaming performance will be.

Power Usage
Here are the power usage numbers. The tests were done without using the PowerNow technology of the Athlon 64 X2.

The Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition is a fine processor, but it might not be for all people. If you are building a new PC with socket AM2 the X2 6400+ is most definitely worth a look. If you want the fastest processor for socket AM2 the X2 6400+ is the new king of the hill. If you are upgrading a single core AM2 chip to dual core the X2 6400+ is a real good choice. If you are upgrading a dual core AM2 setup be careful. You will not see much improvement over the 5000 series. For $250 you get the best there is for socket AM2 at the moment. Just make sure you a spending your money wisely. Barcelona is just around the corner.

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