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Difference Between Sempron and Athlon

amd-athlonSempron vs. Athlon

The Sempron and the Athlon are two processor lines from AMD, which is one of the two leading processor manufacturers for personal computers. The Athlon is the flagship model of AMD that contains all the bells and whistles that you would expect from something ‘top of the line’, while Sempron is a budget level processor, meant to provide reasonable performance at a much lower price point.

As stated, the Semprons are cheaper compared to its big brother, but still provides a robust platform for most applications that desktop computers are used for nowadays. Things like word processing, email, surfing the web, and even gaming, can be done on these processors. Doing the heavier tasks might still be possible, but performance is taxed due to the limitations set into the Sempron processors.

It is common for budget processors to have advanced features disabled, or underpowered. You would often see Sempron processors that do not run as fast as Athlon processors, but the most common and consistent cost cutting measure, that is true not only for the Sempron, but also for the Celeron, is the reduced cache memory. Cache memory is a very fast, but very expensive type of memory, as it is developed on-die, or on the same silicon from which the processor is made. It is faster because the signal does not need to leave the processor itself, unlike system memory which is located on the motherboard, and takes a lot longer to retrieve data. Semprons usually have around half, or even a fourth of the cache memory that can be found on an Athlon. This limitation becomes very apparent in memory heavy applications.

AMD also removed the 64 bit capability on their earlier Sempron models to widen the gap between Semprons and Athlons. Since the Semprons are derived from the Athlons, they should already have this feature as soon as the Athlons had it, but AMD intentionally disabled it. Newer models of Semprons already have this feature enabled, allowing users to run 64 bit operating systems on their cheaper Sempron platforms, rather than opting for the much pricier Athlon.


1. The Athlon is AMD’s flagship processor line, while the Sempron is their budget line.

2. The Sempron is cheaper compared to the Athlon.

3. The Sempron processors often have less L2 cache memory compared to the Athlons.

4. Older Sempron processors do not have 64 bit capability, while Athlons do.

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