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Athlon64 Preview at xbitlabs

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April 19, 2003 3:15:30 AM

They got their hands on a 1.6GHz model. They've put up the <A HREF="http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/athlon64.h..." target="_new">preview</A> (someone should really cache this as the server is taking a huge hit). Seems to do pretty well. One wonders what frequency it'll be released at though as the 1.6 GHz "2800+" model doesn't look to be fairing too well against the 2.8C P4 (FSB800, HT enabled) and often looses to the T-Bred "2800+" (understandable since the T-Bred is running at 2.25 GHz). One can only wonder what an actual 2.0 or 2.2 GHz model could perform like upon release. Hopefully it'll be more deserving of the PR model than this is since it is lagging pretty far behind the 2.8C.

"We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.

More about : athlon64 preview xbitlabs

April 19, 2003 4:03:25 AM

Just checked that preview. (took a reeeally long time, BTW)

Quite interesting numbers. Looks good, but not so good after all. Of course, there are no 64-bit apps in there, but even by the end of the year, the 32-bit performance will probably still be the most important one. Also, this is a sample, and A64 won´t compete with "2.xC"s or "3.xC"s but with up to 4Ghz of Prescott... Hope they can do that.

We´ll get a better impression of x86-64 technology´s potential after Opteron is released, I guess, but I´m slightly disappointed at those numbers. Hopefully they´ll get those PR ratings right!

The IPC is still excellent, by the way. I wonder how big a boost 64-bit apps will really get in pratice...
April 19, 2003 4:10:27 AM

Just remember this is still with beta and engineering sample stuff, not to mention at a lower speed than what it should ship at in September (I've heard about 2ghz, maybe even 2.2 or 2.4). They still have hope.

You can help. Just send money to the bad motherboard relief fund, for those suckered into a KT166 and SDRAM with their new Athlon...
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April 19, 2003 4:26:18 AM

You´re right, of course...

But I still hope they don´t label a 2.0Ghz A64 a 4000+... it won´t perform that good! That 2800+ didn´t quite live up to its rating...

But I guess we should still keep an open mind. Their PR rating is bound to cause difficulties when architectural changes as big as those change the performance of processors across various tasks in different ways...
April 19, 2003 4:37:03 AM

Blegh, i would much rather see a preview with the nvidia or amd chipset
April 19, 2003 4:40:39 AM

I should have added that it was with the VIA chipset, too. Way to put it in about the worst possible light, X-bit. It's latency is very good then for a VIA chipset.

You can help. Just send money to the bad motherboard relief fund, for those suckered into a KT166 and SDRAM with their new Athlon...<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by mac404 on 04/19/03 00:42 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 19, 2003 5:06:08 AM

Actually if you think about it, the A64 is already looking successful. After all many people who will buy the A64 will most likely be gaming, which it seems this processor owns at. I guess the inquirers benchmarks were right, it did hit 16k easily even at such a low clockspeed.
April 19, 2003 5:29:14 AM

It took me forever to get through that one. That is one busy site.

Those SSE numbers from SiSoft Sandra show that without a much faster memory system, no CPU is going to keep up with the 875. If you normalize the Intel CPU's integer numbers the 2.53ghz = 5,118 per ghz, while the 2.8 = 7,369 per ghz. The Athlon 64 1.6ghz = 5,725 per ghz. Since the 2.53 and the Athlon 64 have a similar front side bus throughput, and come out with similar marks per ghz while the Intel systems have similar ghz yet differ in marks and front side bus. We must assume the SSE tests are very dependant on front side bus throughput. We will only know this when a dual memory controller Opteron is tested. Since it operates with a similar front side bus throughput as the 875.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
April 19, 2003 6:54:43 AM

Looks like it really will be a kick-ass processor for games though. I think especially once it goes to 1.8 or 2.0 gig...


<-----Insert witty sig line here.
April 19, 2003 6:57:37 AM

Yes, SIMD can be very taxing on the memory subsystem due to the sheer amount of data neccessary. But keep in mind to accomplish the same throughput using scalar (such as x87) instructions would take even more memory bandwidth. It's not surprising that we see the SSE/SSE2 component not provide a significant boost compared to the x87 component. The K7/K8's x87 component performs very well. We are, however, seeing that with SSE2, the clock-normalized performance of the P4 becomes much closer to that of the K8/K7.
Another thing to mention is that since the memory controller is on the CPU itself, the chipset xbitlabs chose is relatively irrelevent. Memory performance relies solely on how optimized the integrated memory controller is.

"We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.
April 19, 2003 7:24:15 AM

After looking around, I'm starting to think it's the p4 2.8ghz's hyper-threading that makes its score so high in SSE.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
April 19, 2003 11:13:25 AM

Sorry, but I try to read the article but seems unavailable. Is it a general issue? Maybe they take out because NDA?

Not sure AMD want that info goes public ...


Still looking for a <b>good online retailer</b> in Spain :frown:
April 19, 2003 12:40:08 PM

Update: Website seems to be working fine 13:45(GMT) although a tad slow. (I am however using a 56K connection)

<font color=purple>Ladies and Gentlemen, its...Hammer Time !</font color=purple>
April 19, 2003 3:29:07 PM

Hm... According to the benchmarks, the 2800+ at 1.6Ghz only handily defeats the 2.8C P4 in UT2K3. The AXP could already do that... and the 2800+ A64 doesn´t win in any other gaming benchmark. So I don´t think there´s nothing new here, right?... You can´t possibly represent gaming performance only with UT2K3 - not only because that would be too limited in scope, but because that would paint too good a picture for the Athlons. Like saying a 2.2Ghz P4 on DDR266 beats an Athlon 2800+ on nForce2 with Dual-DDR333 in mp3 audio-encoding - it <A HREF="http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20030217/cpu_charts-25...." target="_new">does!</A> That´s a bad representation of the 2.2Ghz, as an example. Not because it´s not true, but because the 2.2Ghz <i>doesn´t</i> beat the 2800+ in any other scenario at all (obviously, right?)

Once it scales to 2Ghz, though, it might be an excellent performer (considering perfect scaling). The Northwood won´t keep up with that because of design and thermal issues, but Prescott will be very capable of scaling beyond 4Ghz... That´s a 43% scale from current specs (Northwood/2.8Ghz to Prescott/4.0Ghz+), with an architectural improvement about which we have little info (more cache, improved branch prediction (supposedly), improved HT, and so on). A64 is expected to be capable of 2.0-2.25Ghz (at least), which is also about 41% scaling over that preview we saw... And while that was probably an up-to-date design, it might still be subject to change. It looks as if AMD will be able to compete well with Intel, I´d say, but it´s still hard to say anything else at this point... What do you guys think?

Hm... I was still a bit disappointed about the SSE2-implementation on A64. I thought that would give it more of a boost... So much for it, then. But it´ll still be interesting to see a 64-bit capable OS running an A64. The x86-64 implementation was the more exotic of the two anyway.
April 19, 2003 7:02:43 PM

Yup. I think the Athlon64 is a nice CPU. If it weren't for the irritating PR-rating, I think it could grow to be a nice success. Why the PR-rating bothers me? First of all, this '2800+' is generally not comparable to the 'old' 2800+, and two its performance in comparison to the AXP varies to much. I am getting more and more convinced AMD should really drop its PR-rating. Though that is a hard subject on this forum, if I recall correctly ...

Et voilà, my two cents ...

Greetz,
Bikeman

<i>Then again, that's just my opinion</i>
April 19, 2003 8:38:04 PM

My personal view on this:

-Now I've had it, I feel like I wanna punch AMD so hard for that 2800+ rating.

Now, I have to say, the per-clock jump, if some noticed, in the gaming department, rose significantly, from 20-35%! Amazing jump, very powerful. I wouldn't attribute more than 5% to the cache, because we've already seen the Barton's doubling of cache performance.
The integrated memory controller has proven itself worthy however. It proves that no matter how much you improve on a normal Northbridge, you will never reach the level of an integrated memory controller. I'd like to see Slvr's take on this.
The boost was tremendous per clock.
Sure there were those applications who rely on simple pure clock speed, those simply prove how monkey programmers can't even properly make some parallelism out of x86.

Additionally, who in the world is stopping AMD from bumping up the clock? Xbit reports that the extra two integer stages will help in clocking, so why is it so hard for AMD to bump the clock?

I was indeed surprised by the SSE2 performance. It is confusing to be honest. One must wonder if you used Dual Channel chipsets in the future, like the nForce, for the K8, will you get better results?
Also, no one commented on the ridiculously powerful bandwidth output of the Athlon 64. At 96%, you guarantee the near maximum possible. A P4 with Canterwood can't even reach 80%!

All I can say is that the CPU, if clocked at 2.2GHZ, WILL become the undisputed gaming machine. If the current system yeilded over 20% more performance per clock in games, imagine a higher clocked one, with the future workarounds AMD will do before releasing the Athlon 64.
All I hope is they don't do a suicide mission with the PR rating. It is ridiculous now, seriously, and I wish I could just punch the guy who is making them. It is truly getting me personally.

--
This post is brought to you by Eden, on a Via Eden, in the garden of Eden. :smile:
April 19, 2003 8:57:07 PM

Some important facts from the artical:

- Athlon 64 supports DDR400
- Memory latency = 96ns !! (Athlon XP = 165ns, P4 = 260ns)
- ALU performance in Athlon is 8% higher than that of the Athlon XP ALU
- Mp3 encoding with lame Athlon 64 suffers a complete failure becuase of it low clock frequency.
- Unreal Tournament benchmark: Athlon 64 (210fps),Athlon XP (197fps)

I reckon the Athlon 64 shows a lot of potential. Why are people getting upset with the PR rating ??!! THIS IS NOT THE FINAL RELEASE ! I'm sure AMD will adjust the PR rating 100 times before the final release anyway. The 1.6Ghz Athlon 64 in the review will most likely be marketed as a low end budget processor (probably replacing the Duron). AMD have hinted that Athlon 64 will be released around 2Ghz. This boost in clock frequency and couple of months of tweaking before the final release could make it a strong contender. But then again Prescott could blow it out the water ! I think I'll wait till Sep to get the <b>real</b> picture.

<font color=purple>Ladies and Gentlemen, its...Hammer Time !</font color=purple>
April 19, 2003 10:07:44 PM

Considering most of Prescott's enhancements have been already used on the NW, now remains the 1MB cache & the internal enhancements.
So overall, I don't expect Prescott to be insanely more powerful in IPC, however its clock speed will likely be killer.

AMD needs to realize, that clock speed is indeed, you can only go so far without upping the clock speed. Intel may have been right in the high clockrate.

--
This post is brought to you by Eden, on a Via Eden, in the garden of Eden. :smile:
April 19, 2003 10:19:32 PM

Yes, this will become quite a machine if the clock is upped to 2.0 or 2.25 Ghz. But once you think that prescott will have better (not devastating, but better, no doubt) IPC and will be very scalable (90nm) up to 4Ghz or more, then this dispute will become interesting...
Quote:
Considering most of Prescott's enhancements have been already used on the NW

This I don´t quite understand. When you say "prescott enhancements", I naturally assume things that are NOT on Northwood... like the things you mentioned. So what is it that has already been used? The FSB, I guess?
April 19, 2003 10:46:11 PM

We do not know much about Prescott at this time anyway. Only the following facts are definate about Prescott right now:

- 800Mhz bus
- 1MB L2 cache
- SSE3 (13 new instructions)
- 0.09 micron process

We do not know the precise details of the core modifications that Intel will make to the CPU. With the extra space they save using the new .09 process Intel will have lot more extra die space to play with which they will put to good use.

I have a lot of faith when <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/cpu/showdoc.html?i=1810&p=23" target="_new">Anandtech</A> say:

<i>"The true benefits of both the 800MHz FSB and Hyper Threading will be realized with Prescott later this year as the processor will push higher frequencies and contain Hyper Threading specific architectural improvements that should improve performance even more."</i>


<font color=purple>Ladies and Gentlemen, its...Hammer Time !</font color=purple>
April 19, 2003 11:36:43 PM

Yup, these are the enhancements majorly. SSE3 however (dunno if that is what it should be called, extra extensions for HT) is not gonna be a big deal like SSE2.
I do recall also some cache architecture enhancements or size, for the Trace Cache, and perhaps some other things.

--
This post is brought to you by Eden, on a Via Eden, in the garden of Eden. :smile:
April 20, 2003 2:07:56 AM

Studying the results it looks as though the A64 1.6ghz would need to be 15-20% faster in clock to keep up with the p4 2.8ghz, AMD said the A64 would be 15% faster in 64 bit mode so this pr rating is probably the final one it is just that we need a 64bit o.s. to see the A64 is all its glory. Also the 1.6ghz will certainly be the slowest model released (if released at all), the fastest being 2/2.2 ghz (600mhz faster than xbit model), whereas intel will have 3.2ghz p4 at best(400mhz faster than xbit model), thus the performance gap will close and AMD will almost certainly gain performance crown (as long as roadmaps dont change), especially if msoft release 64bit windows.
April 20, 2003 2:50:06 AM

I was just curious... I read the HardOCP article about Cantwood and on the gaming benchmarks with the 9700 Pro the video card was the bottleneck... can anyone explain to me why that isn't the case in the X-Bit article? Both were both @ 640x800.
April 20, 2003 3:04:42 AM

Lower resolutions put less stress on the video card and more stress on the cpu, thats why he did it at 640x480, he didnt want the video card having anything to do with performance
April 20, 2003 3:51:24 AM

I know that... but HardOCP said they did that as well.
April 20, 2003 4:05:21 AM

Quote:
After looking around, I'm starting to think it's the p4 2.8ghz's hyper-threading that makes its score so high in SSE.


This is very doubtful as even one SSE instruction takes up the entire FP calculation resource on the P4 and Athlon for a single clock. I don't see how allowing multiple threads to run would possibly speed this up because the instruction to operation ratio is 1:4 (i.e. for one instruction fetched and decoded, 4 operations need to be carried out). SMT is ultimately to circumvent the bottlenecks for decoding instructions and other things such as data dependencies and memory latency. With such a streaming nature, I doubt SIMD benefits much, if any, from SMT.

"We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.
April 20, 2003 5:48:40 AM

It may seem doubtful but the benchmarks speak for themselves. Most likely the SiSoft multi-media benchmarks are comprised of many separate tasks that when executed in order produce dependences that are elevated by hyper-threading.

Integer
14221 (<A HREF="http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/image/10594" target="_new">HT 3.06</A>) - 12292 (<A HREF="http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/image/10597" target="_new">NHT 3.06</A>) = 1929 / 12292 = 15% improvement
Floating Point
21916 (<A HREF="http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/image/10594" target="_new">HT 3.06</A>) - 15618 (<A HREF="http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/image/10597" target="_new">NHT 3.06</A>) = 6298 / 15618 = 40% improvement

Although not the same benchmark results (or for that matter not sure if it is the same benchmark), the analogy should still hold.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
April 20, 2003 12:13:26 PM

I dug up <A HREF="http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/20021114/p4_306ht-16.h..." target="_new">Tomshardware's</A> benchmark using Sandra 2002 (one of the few sites that even bother to use Sandra as a benchmark anymore). The improvement seen from HT was 16.75% for SSE/SSE2 FP. I'm not sure exactly why this would be. But it is a substancial improvement nonetheless.

"We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.
April 20, 2003 1:23:28 PM

Quote:
AMD said the A64 would be 15% faster in 64 bit mode so this pr rating is probably the final one it is just that we need a 64bit o.s. to see the A64 is all its glory.

Ha, AMD got you there. How can 64-bit faster when there are no 64-bit programs/games available? And even if you have the 64-bit version of UT2003 and compare the fps to the 32-bit version on the same Athlon64, the difference in speed will hardly be more than 5%, if at all...

The Athlon64 needs initially to be strong at 32-bit, a year later when more programs and games are available as 32/64-bit ports, then the Athlon64 can show it's 64-bit potential if it has one. But 64-bit is not going to be important this year...

If the Athlon64 can't keep up with the x86 performance of a 3.4 Prescott than the Athlon64 will fail miserably!
April 20, 2003 1:35:46 PM

Hammer clock speed issues, cause for concern or will AMD able to scale it higher ??

<A HREF="http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=9045" target="_new">Link</A>

<font color=purple>Ladies and Gentlemen, its...Hammer Time !</font color=purple>
April 20, 2003 2:07:34 PM

Is it just an impression I have, or is that actually a reliably-looking article from the Inquirer? :wink:

Seriously, though ... If this thing is going to happen to Opteron, what would it mean for the A64? I guess that for the server market the lower clockspeed isn't that much of a problem. Maybe in server-applications the Hammer core takes bigger advantage of it's beeter branch-prediction and on-die memory-controller. But for the desktop a higher clockspeed is necessary, as seen in the first article discussed in this thread Though if we suppose the A64 does come out at 2.0 GHz, and we extrapolate the result from the benchies done bij XBitLabs, it should be able to compete with the fastest P4 at that moment. On the other hand, if there are true problems scaling the Hammer core, then the future doesn't look very bright for AMD ...

Greetz,
Bikeman

<i>Then again, that's just my opinion</i>
April 20, 2003 2:12:09 PM

"But 64-bit is not going to be important this year..."

good point, i suppose 64bit is pointless thing to mention until software is available.


"the difference in speed will hardly be more than 5%, if at all"

AMD said it would be 15% faster in 64bit, mind you Nvidia said gf fx would be fastest thing ever and Intel said willy p4 would be fast, but i trust AMD more.

also check this out; http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=9046

it raises some good points.
April 20, 2003 9:54:20 PM

This is more to do with Opteron but could also mean something for the Athlon64.

Came across this website and found some heatsinks for the Opteron. If you click on the link and look at products J023C and J023H it states they are certified for AMD Opteron processor up to 2.0~3.0 GHz !!!

Does this mean AMD reckon they can get Opteron to 3Ghz ? (which is quite probable) or even more significant already have samples running >2Ghz...I dont know if this is a typo or just shoddy info.

<A HREF="http://www.genesysrack.com.tw/1u_accessories.htm" target="_new">http://www.genesysrack.com.tw/1u_accessories.htm&lt;/A>

<font color=purple>Ladies and Gentlemen, its...Hammer Time !</font color=purple>
April 21, 2003 12:36:03 AM

Just check out Thermaltake, they already have a WHOLE range of A64 and Opteron HSFs, with all info in there. They include a retention mechanism similar to Pentium 4s as well!

--
This post is brought to you by Eden, on a Via Eden, in the garden of Eden. :smile:
April 21, 2003 1:06:49 AM

The best is Windows.net is so much faster on a P4 due to Highly optimization of tread sheduling and SMP support and a big improvement for NUMA systemes like I2.Ms made is choice INTEL like they have allwyase do wich make them rich also.Some Madison bencmark are out please add 50% more power in Itanium ligne last stop before Dual core SMP Itanium.

According to intel the clock speed will go around 2.4 relate to speed that were 90NM start.Not the 2.5 give by most or still belief in this figure.(do i have say 2.3GHZ or less) good yiled will be reach only at 1.8GHZ to 2.1GHZ over this speed AMD will have to deal with low price.

I have see some support for PAE 36 bit addresing.



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