AMD introduced the Athlon 64 a while ago, and it’s about time that they refresh their products. The original cores for the 939 socket are Winchesters, and they performed quite well despite a few bugs. Now AMD has introduced the revision to the Winchester core, the “Venice.” It promises some really nice improvements. Let's see if the Venice holds up to our expectations of AMD.
Winchester vs. Venice
AMD really didn’t hype this release. Outside of the small community of computer enthusiast, many people may never know there is a new core. From the outside, one may never know what they have under the heat spreader.
The boxes are exactly the same. Most of the time with a new product you would at least get a sticker on the box saying this is a new version, but not here. I went over the box looking for a difference, I did find ONE difference. The SKU number is off by a single digit. Luckily the major changes are inside the chip.
The new Rev. E A64 offers a few improvements. The first is support of SSE3. Originally found in the Intel Prescott processors, AMD has adopted the SSE3. These are special instructions in the chip itself to help optimize the handling of data to process. Typical features in SSE3 are things like better scientific data processing and enhanced video encoding.
The other major upgrade was to the memory controller. On the A64 CPUs, the memory controller is built into the CPU, rather then off chip like Intels. AMD says the Rev E can handle 4 double sided memory modules at 400 MHz. It should also offer better memory performance. This should result in more bandwidth compared with the Winchester.
Outside of the code name and revision, CPU-Z says these chips are nearly the same.
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