Just how much performance can you get out of an AMD Sempron 3100+? Our own DMOS sets out to find the answer to that question. It's overclocking bliss--but not without a few reservations.
My favorite part of dealing with any new CPU surrounds overclocking. It's still the reason I do just about every upgrade. For this one, I was thinking back to the golden days of the first few mighty mite Celerons. Cheap, and clocked awfully below their potential, they were the jewels of OCer's everywhere. Even with their smaller cache onboard (or in early cases, no cache at all), if you managed to clock them far enough, you could get achieve Pentium performance for much less cost. As seen in my review of the Sempron 3100+, in most applications the processor performed admirably clock for clock. Now however, we're out to see how far we can take those clocks.
Looking at the stock processors specs, two things jump out. One is this particular CPU's voltage. The other is the multiplier (which can only be adjusted down, not up). Dealing with the former, it's standard at 1.4V. This is different from the 1.5V found on their Athlon64 counterparts. Usually that lower voltage indicates increased overclocking potential, but in this case I think it's more a case of the rather tame initial clock speed of the chip. However, if mobile CPU's are getting treated as the greatest thing since sliced bread for the same reason, might as well mention it here.
As for the latter, it creates what can be looked upon as a positive or negative. In order to get top speed out of the chip, the HyperTransport frequency from which the CPU clock is derived will need to be rather high. Unlike some other members of the A64/FX ranks, either really high end memory capable of nearly 300MHz or the use of dividers will be necessary. In my case, around 240MHz is what my bh5 based Kingston HyperX 3000 is capable of. So at anything above that, I'll have to break out the dividers. That's not the optimal solution, but the tight timings should offset the lower bandwidth and costs of going asynchronous in most applications. It is something you do have to keep in mind if you are aiming for a 1:1 ratio that most memory is going to be a severe bottleneck with this low of a multiplier.
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