AMD's Athlon 64 Has Arrived: the Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 (and Intel's P4 Extreme)

Four Different CPUs With One Design

The mandatory requirements for highly complex chip production - to make as many CPU variations as possible for various market segments from a single processor design - also apply to the Hammer core from AMD. Only with this method is it possible to keep the ASP (average selling price) high and guarantee adequate profit in the overall results. In principle, besides the Opteron workstation and server versions, there are presently two desktop processors: the Athlon 64 for the mass market and the Athlon 64 FX as the top model, initially in limited numbers.

In addition, the mobile version of the Athlon 64 is coming in October so that well-known manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard, for example, can offer the first 64 bit notebooks. A special role is in store for the Athlon 64 FX. Some mainboard manufacturers are planning to offer the top model FX-51 in a bundle with an NForce-3 or K8T800 board. After all, AMD is having its own difficulties, particularly with this model, and only a few samples were distributed worldwide to the press before the launch date. In Europe, approximately a dozen samples were passed out among well-known representatives of the trade press. In addition, the situation for board manufacturers can't be foreseen. Industry insiders expect that soon Intel will drastically lower the prices of the P4. Nevertheless, it isn't clear in this connection when and to what extent AMD will be able to ship the Athlon 64 FX in any volume worth mentioning - consequently, FXes bought as a bundle for a high price could prove to be a disaster. It is more likely that in the current situation, a wait-and-see policy is the best strategy.

Here, the reasons that motivate end customers are quite clear. In their circle of friends, a 64 bit CPU is a guarantee for prestige and attention. In Athlon freak communities, having an Athlon 64 is almost the same as being raised to nobility. Nevertheless, expectations are very high that the desktop Athlon 64 will appear on the market after a delay of at least one year. And in this time, Intel has had a lot of time to prepare adequate counter potential. Actually, one has to say that it is much too much time. Nowhere has the grapevine been so alive in the past 18 months as when it involves philosophizing about technical details and performance of the new processors.

Intel Pentium 4 3.2 Extreme Edition