IntroductionAMD Athlon 64 3000+ 'Venice' E3-stepping Review
It's no secret that AMD's Athlon 64 S939 CPUs, at default speeds and in respect of gaming, offer a better bang-per-buck than their direct Intel rivals. Indeed, look through our processor reviews over the past year or so and equivalent S939 CPUs soundly lick Pentium 4 Prescotts in each and every gaming test. Non-gaming is more of a mixed bag, with Intel's Hyper-Threading helping to eke out leads in applications that can take full advantage of it.
An enthusiast wishing to build a gaming rig would probably opt for any one of several S939 CPUs as the performance base, with the ultimate choice going down to just how thick their wallet was. An enthusiast interested in getting maximum performance-per pound by overclocking would have a more difficult choice, as both lower-clocked Pentium 4s and Athlon 64s tend to run way past their rated speeds. However, if you've kept up with the comings and goings of processor revisions, you'll know that AMD has quietly slipped in the Venice core; a low-voltage S939 CPU that adds in a few core refinements and opens up the possibility of huge overclocks.
With that in mind, I decided to take the baby of the bunch, the 1.8GHz-rated Athlon 64 3000+, for a review spin, to see just what kind of frequency headroom the new E3 revision could manage.