Our Test Processors
Before we get into the specifics of the tests we thought it might be good to show the test candidates.
Here we show the top side of the CPU's. Both use an alloy heatspreader on the top which aids in two respects. First is to transfer heat evenly. The die itself on both CPU's is rather small and fragile. In order to increase the amount of surface area, a large alloy block is placed on the die of the CPU. This means the die has to heat up a greater area before it overheats, however, having an extra piece of metal between the die and heatsink does mean less heat transfer - it's a catch 22 situation.
The second reason is the die's strength or lack there of. As many know first hand (including me) the die of the CPU, when exposed, is very fragile. AMD Athlon XP owners know this all too well, as even a small chip when installing the heatsinks leads to CPU death. Adding a heatspreader prevents the heatsink damaging the die even when large pressure is on the CPU from the heatsink.
Flipping over the CPU's we see a contrast of differences. First off AMD uses a 754 pin layout with a brown PCB. No resistors or capacitors are exposed, just a small gap in the middle. Intel Celeron-D however is built on the Socket 775 format. This means there are no pins on the CPU at all to bend. When dealing with micro pins like AMD, Intel has the advantage of not having any pins on the CPU to damage, only on the motherboard. Overall we do prefer a pin-less setup on the CPU as it's more practical to replace a cheap motherboard rather than an expensive CPU if a pin is to be broken or bent.
For this article, we are going to test the CPU's both stock, and both overclocked to their highest level reached. Sempron has one advantage over Intel Celeron-D, with the Sempron you can change the multiplier from its default down; this means you can clock the bus up to high levels while still keeping the CPU close to a sane clock speed. Celeron-D however doesn't give this option, so you are stuck with your default multiplier.
With our Sempron sample we clocked it from 1.8GHz to 2.13GHz using a ratio of 9x and a FSB of 236MHz. For our Celeron we clocked it from 2.8GHz to 3.17GHz using the default 21x ratio and a FSB of 151 or 604 MHz.