AM2: AMD Reinvents Itself

New Socket AM2 With DDR2

AMD now supports DDR2 memory; almost two years after Intel's switch to DDR2 for its complete range of desktop platforms, AMD is at last following suit. It's high time for the switch, too, because the market is already glutted with DDR2 memory.

AMD's solution has a big downside, however: in contrast to Intel's platform, the memory interface was integrated into the CPU, so there's more to the switch than just a change of chipset. The migration of the memory interface from the chipset Northbridge to the CPU has also produced a few problems:

  • The processor core needs changing
  • A new socket is required

All of this poses questions about why AMD waited until now to implement DDR2 technology. We see three possible theories:

  • DDR2 memory was initially very pricey, which would have made the AMD platform less attractive compared to Intel.
  • Memory manufacturers are only now able to offer DDR2 modules with sufficiently high speeds so that the platform does not suffer from a slump in performance.
  • The integration of the DDR2 memory interface in the CPU was not possible earlier due to costs or capacity bottlenecks.

What Does DDR2 Memory Offer?

In purely theoretical terms, the memory bandwidth of the available DDR2 modules is up to double that possible with regular DDR (now sometimes called DDR1). The DDR-400 module on Socket 939 processors, for instance, managed a theoretical 6.4 GB/sec. An AM2 processor with its DDR2 memory interface and a 400 MHz module (DDR2-800) should be able to hit a theoretical 12.8 GB/sec.

Overview of theoretically possible memory bandwidths of DDR and DDR2 memory at various speeds

If we compare the theoretical values with those achieved in practice, however, the old Socket 939 with DDR1 looks fantastic. At 6.2 GB/sec, the integrated memory interface was able to attain up to 97% of the theoretically possible bandwidth with the DDR1 memory modules. As we began testing, we assumed that if the new DDR2 memory interface even approached this efficiency level, the new processors using the AM2 socket would really take off.

  1. The AMD Generation Comes Of Age
  2. New Socket AM2 With DDR2
  3. Memory Speed: Socket AM2 Vs. Socket 939
  4. Write Performance
  5. Write Performance, Continued
  6. Write Performance, Continued
  7. Memory Speed: AMD Vs. Intel
  8. Memory Speed: AMD Vs. Intel, Continued
  9. The Divider Problem
  10. DDR2 SLI Memory: 10.3 GB Per Second
  11. Automatically Overclocking SLI Memory
  12. Automatically Overclocking SLI Memory, Continued
  13. All New AM2 Processors
  14. The New Socket AM2 With 940 Pins
  15. New Retention Module Requires New Heatsink
  16. Low Dissipation Guaranteed
  17. New Energy-efficient Processors
  18. Heatsinks: Things Gets Louder, Continued
  19. Features: Virtualization And TCPA
  20. Price Comparison: AMD More Expensive Than Intel
  21. Motherboards
  22. Gigabyte
  23. Epox
  24. The New nForce5 Chipset For AM2
  25. LAN Interface With 2 Gbit/s
  26. Test Setup
  27. Benchmarks And Settings
  28. Benchmarks Socket 939 Vs. Socket AM2
  29. Games - DirectX
  30. Games - DirectX, Continued
  31. Video
  32. Video, Continued
  33. Video, Continued
  34. Video, Continued
  35. Audio
  36. Applications
  37. Applications, Continued
  38. Applications, Continued
  39. Multitasking, Continued
  40. Synthetic Benchmarks
  41. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  42. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  43. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  44. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  45. Evaluating The Benchmark Scores
  46. Athlon 64 X2: Now Somewhat Slower
  47. Benchmarks AMD Vs. Intel
  48. Games - DirectX
  49. Games - DirectX, Continued
  50. Video, Continued
  51. Audio
  52. Applications
  53. Applications, Continued
  54. Multitasking
  55. Synthetic Benchmarks
  56. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  57. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  58. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  59. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  60. Synthetic Benchmarks, Continued
  61. AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 Vs. Intel Extreme Edition 965
  62. Conclusion: Good Energy Efficiency, But A Bad Value For Money
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