AMD caters for the budget end of the market with the single-core Sempron family. Making use of the AM2 platform’s 800MHz memory compatibility, as well as AMD64 support, it’s a far cry from the weakling you might expect at this low price point.
Produced using a 90nm process, the Sempron has the added security of AMD’s NX-bit technology, and Cool’n’Quiet is also supported. As it is, the TDP of 62W is low, but there are also Energy Efficient models available with a TDP of just 35W for those looking to build a quiet and low-power PC. You pay around a 15% premium, but performance is identical.
The Sempron range offers a choice of three clock speeds – 1.6GHz, 1.8GHz and 2GHz – each with a further option of 128KB or 256KB of Level 2 cache. Looking at the results, we saw very little difference between each identically clocked pair. Only the Microsoft Office test showed a 9-10% drop in performance for the 128KB models. So if you use Office a lot, you’ll want a 256KB-equipped model, but expect to pay a little extra for the privilege.
The pricing structure of the Sempron line is mostly linear in terms of price to performance, so the cheaper you find them being sold for, the better bargain you've found. Using accurate prices as of the 5th July 2007, the top of the line 3600+ was a value star, costing just $65 yet still scoring 0.79 in our tests. We were also impressed with the 3000+ which scored 0.64 but cost just $40.
As a whole, the entire Sempron family delivers more punch than the Celeron equivalent. However, for just $30 extra you can make a 26% performance jump from a high-end Sempron to a low-end Athlon 64 X2 3800+.
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing