64-bit computing for a 32-bit price...
Faster inexpensive CPU…
Fast, smooth running, and reliable…
None that I found.
I just finished building a computer for one of my customers and they wanted a good 2.4 GHz processor, so after thinking about it for a while I decided upon the AMD Athlon 64 3400+. Because it was the best processor the customer could afford without going over their budget. I have used this for about a week and my customer used it for about two weeks now without any problems or complaints.
The installation was as easy as always when it comes to AMD processors. I purchased the Asus K8N-E Deluxe motherboard to go with this processor since I already have two systems that use it; also I always recommend Asus motherboards to all my customers. The easy installation guide that is in the box comes in handy if you are doing this for the first time, but I have installed so many of these that I do not need the manual. But the guide clearly guides you step-by-step on what to do to properly install your processor.
After installing the processor, you can either choose to install the stock heat sink (which is also perfectly good if you do not plan to overclock) or one of the favorites that will keep you processor cool and performing at its best. I installed the stock heat-sink in this system because the customer was not going to overclock and I was not going to risk damaging anything (I do not want a return job). One tip I would like to give you if you are planning to install it yourself; use Arctic Silver thermal grease when installing the heat-sink.
Usually, when you put together a new system and boot-up for the first time, you would probably have to clear your CMOS to make sure you start out with a clean system. Then just install your operating system or if you already have an operating system install, just boot up. One thing to keep in mind when booting for the first time is to keep an eye on the processor temperature (especially if you used a different heat-sink and overclocked).
After installing the operating system, go into the CMOS settings once again to configure it the way you want it to work. I usually put a password so kids cannot easily get to the settings. Of course, I give this password to the customer (I use one password for all so I can remember it), so they can change it if they want.
FEATURES I LIKE
I like all AMD processors over any Intel is because these processors run smoothly and are very customizable (or overclockable). When I first built my own computer I was upgrading from an old Intel which was the worst I have ever had. So now I try to set up my customers with the best possible system they can afford.
I like the Cool N’ Quiet feature that helps to reduce fan noise and power consumption by the processor. It automatically changes the processor and fan (if applicable) speeds. When the processor is not being used that much, it reduces the processor and the heat-sink fan(s) speed to reduce the amount of heat and noise generated. Other than these newer technologies the processor supports the standard Athlon 64 features including SSE2 and a 1600 MHz front-side bus.
I have used this processor for about a week now and it has not given me any problems. My customer has now used it for two full weeks and she has not experienced any problems yet. It does not overheat (I did not overclock yet) ever. The customer did like the faster processing capabilities of this processor because she used to have an old 1.8 GHz Intel-based computer which was very slow.
I did not perform any benchmarks on this processor because I did not have enough time as the customer was in a bit of a hurry for her new system. I would not be able to provide any scores. I have installed Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2 on this new computer and this processor does not even blink.
My customer used to have an Intel-based computer (she donated to me) that she bought back in 2002. It was fast (1.8 GHz); at that time it was a state of the art computer. Then just about three weeks ago, I built her a new 2.4 GHz system that blows everything else to dust. My customer has not complained about any speed problems or the system hanging for any reason yet and I am sure it will stay that way. I have noticed that the computer boots up really fast, programs startup quickly, and the games run smoothly as ever. And on top of that, this system is ready for the future with 64-Bit capability.