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Socket 940 vs. 939: At a glance
Supplier: AMD
Author: MediaMan
Price: $720 US 1K quantity
Date: June 27, 2004
Highs
Impressive performance
Cool'n'Quiet technology
Upgrade path defined
Lows
Top end price
Many have gotten caught up in the drag strip of benchmarks and overlooked the new features this latest introduction brings. Socket 939 does bring support for unbuffered memory but does this mean the death of Socket 940? Cool'n'Quiet has received a cool reception but it's a gem waiting to be polished. Socket 940 versus Socket 939. Which is the winning combination for you?
Related Links
AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 Processor
AMD HyperTransport Technology Explained
AMD Athlon XP 3200+ Processor Review
Socket 940 vs. 939: Full Review

AMD have been launching assault after assault intent on battering the competition into 64-bit submission. The introduction of the 939-pin processor has been eagerly anticipated by some and left others with questions. Many have gotten caught up in the drag strip of benchmarks and overlooked the new features this latest introduction brings. Socket 939 does bring support for unbuffered memory but does this mean the death of Socket 940? Cool'n'Quiet has received a cool reception but it's a gem waiting to be polished. Socket 940 versus Socket 939. Which is the winning combination for you?

Socket 940 FX-53 and Socket 939 Athlon 64 3800+ look identical and for the most part they are. There is a cost of manufacturing advantage for motherboard makers to move to Socket 939 which uses a 4 layer PCB motherboard instead of the more expensive 6 layer motherboards for Socket 940. This was not the driving influence for AMD to pursue Socket 939. AMD needed the next generation socket to carry the processor through another growth curve.

Socket 939 is obviously one less pin than Socket 940. It isn't possible to snip one pin off a Socket 940 processor and have it function in a Socket 939 motherboard. Think of Socket 939 and Socket 940 processors as first cousins that can't live in the same house. For now Socket 939 will not be able to function in multi-processor setups.

 

Side by side

Processor
Athlon 64 FX-53
Athlon 64 3800+
Athlon 64 3700+
Athlon 64 3500+
Athlon 64 3400+
Pin Count
940
939
754
939
754
L1 Cache Size

(64 KB + 64 KB) 128 KB total

L2 Cache Size
1 MB
512 KB
1 MB
512 KB
512 KB
CPU Core Frequency
2.40 GHz
2.40 GHz
2.40 GHz
2.20 GHz
2.40 GHz
CPU to Memory Core Frequency
2.40 GHz
2.40 GHz
2.40 GHz
2.20 GHz
2.40 GHz
Integrated Memory Controller
128 bit registered
128 bit
64 bit
128 bit
64 bit
Dual Channel Memory Controller
Yes
No
Yes
No
HyperTransport Links
1
HyperTransport Spec
2 GHz
1600 MHz
2 GHz
1600 MHz
Effective data bandwidth
Up to 12.8 GB/s
Up to 14.4 GB/s
Up to 14.4 GB/s
Up to 9.6 GB/s
Up to 14.4 GB/s
Up to 9.6 GB/s
Process Technology
130 nm
Approximate Transistor Count
105.9 million
68.5 million
105.9 million
68.5 million
105.9 million
Approximate Die Size
193nm2
144nm2
193nm2
144nm2
193nm2
Nominal Voltage
1.5 V
Max Ambient Case Temperature
70 C
Max Thermal Power
89 W

It can be confusing as to which is "the best". The 940-pin FX53 and the 939-pin FX-53 and 3800+ and the 754-pin 3700+ and 3400+ all run at 2.4 GHz. The notable difference are:

  • Socket 940 has an effective data rate up to 12.8 GB/s, Socket 939 is up to 14.4 GB/s and Socket 754 is up to 9.6 GB/s.
  • Socket 940 and 939 HyperTransport specification are up to 2 GHz while Socket 754 is up to 1600 MHz.
  • Socket 940 and 939 both have 128-bit wide dual channel integrated memory controllers while Socket 754 is only single channel and 64-bits wide.
  • Only the Socket 940/939 FX-53 and Socket 754 3700+ have 1 MB of L2 cache.
  • Only the Socket 940 processors require Registered RAM.

It's pretty much six of one half dozen of the other isn't it? Between the FX-53 Socket 939/940 processors there are only two differences. The first is that Socket 940 requires Registered memory and Socket 939 doesn't. The second is that the Socket 940 FX-53 has less effective data bandwidth. It comes in at up to 12.8 GB/s versus up to 14.4 GB/s with the Socket 939 FX-53. The only obvious difference between the Socket 939 FX-53 and the 3800+ is 512 KB of L2 cache.

It appears the AMD cooks are varying their recipes by a smidgen of this and a dash of that. The "best" is what suits your needs...and budget.

 
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