AMD recently announced a new revision of the Athlon 64 processor core. This new revision codenamed 'Orleans' brings a number of new features to the Athlon 64 line-up including SSE3 support, an updated memory controller and a 90nm SOI (silicon on insulator) process.
Despite the fact these new processors based on the Orleans core are substantially different to past revisions, AMD has decided to play it quiet. The Orleans was introduced much like how the Venice was. The Venice was designed to slowly phase out the older Winchester processors which were also designed around a 90nm process.
This makes things a little more complicated when purchasing an Athlon64, as there are now numerous revisions of the same processors available. Furthermore, they all share the same model name ratings such as 3000+, 3200+, 3500+ and 3800+, making it very important to check which revision you are buying. Thankfully, any online retailer worth shopping at will specify which revision you are purchasing. And we can tell you, there shall be no confusion when purchasing an Orleans core processor for a few good reasons.
There was little that physically identified a Venice core processor from a Winchester core processor other than the product ID etched into the heatspreader. This initially made purchasing the superior overclocking part (Venice) tricky business that required attention to detail. However, while the Venice and Winchester processors were designed for the AMD 939-pin platform, the Orleans is not! Rather the Orleans core processors are now known as the Athlon 64 AM2 processors, which are of course designed for the newer AM2 platform and feature 940-pins.
As many of you are probably aware, the transition to the AM2 platform is now well underway for AMD, and things look to be going smoothly even despite of the non-existent performance advantages. Purchasing a new AM2 processor is as easy as heading down to your local computer store or jumping online, where they are available at all major retailers. Motherboards are also available, with excellent quality solutions going for as little as $110 US (last week we checked ASUS' phenomenal entry into the enthusiast AM2 market).
It's no secret that there is great demand for products that overclock well. Many of the most popular motherboards have historically got such attention for their overclocking abilities. Even certain processors from both AMD and Intel have become sort after items due to their overclocking abilities. Another perfect example of overclocking popularity comes from the memory market. There are several companies currently competing to produce the most highly overclockable memory modules available.
That said, I have been doing a lot of testing with the new processors designed for the AM2 platform. Combined with the amazing ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard, I found the Athlon 64 3800+ could reach quite incredible frequencies. Next in line for testing was the more affordable Athlon 64 3000+ that we are testing today. Without wasting too much time in dream land I fired up my web browser, headed over to a local supplier and quickly made the purchase, which worked out to be just $90.