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

Summary: An Uncertain 64 Bit Future For AMD, Continued

A look at the platforms currently available for both of the Athlon 64 CPUs reveals that Nvidia still has a few kinks to iron out with its NForce-3 chipset. For one thing, the HyperTransport AGP tunnel runs at a slowed-down speed and for another, the network chip has a few glitches. Right now the VIA K8T800 chipset provides a better basis and is available for both Socket 754 (Athlon 64) as well as for Socket 940 (Athlon 64 FX-51). Users need not worry : both chipsets are included in our comprehensive benchmark charts. One off-putting aspect of the Athlon 64 FX-51 is the absolute necessity of using pricey and rare special memory (DDR400 registered). AMD or the mainboard manufacturer could offer a decent bundle here. Corsair and Kingston offer such modules.

Technically, the same goes for the two Athlon 64s as for the Opteron : AMD didn’t go to any great efforts to integrate the 64 bit expansion into its existing x86 concept. The Hammer architecture doesn’t offer any real changes in core design or instruction handling under 32 bit compared with the old Athlon Barton core. Rather, the optimization is geared for higher clock speeds of 2.4 GHz and more. The 12-step pipeline combined with SOI technology creates potential for higher frequencies. Look out for the Athlon 64 FX-53 with a 2.4 GHz clock speed.

The combination of the dual L2 cache and integrated memory controller raises performance in many applications enormously. The progressive Hammer architecture can only display to the full its advantages over Intel’s Netburst in dual, or better, quad CPU operation. Looking ahead : The Athlon 64 FX-53 works at 2.4 GHz. The record holder in heat loss is currently the P4 Extreme with almost 94 watts, while the Athlon 64 FX-51 heats up the surroundings with 89 watts.

A brief word on transistor numbers : due to the 2 MB L3 cache there is an increase on the P4 EE to 178 million - 105.9 million on the Athlon 64. For PC seniors : The Intel Pentium 100 from 1994 had 3.3 million transistors and heat loss of about 12 watts.

A few reflections on pure 64 bit operation : No one currently needs this extension for pure office applications. AMD would have been better advised to go for a hardcore 3D gaming bundle in its targeted marketing. The cult game Doom III (or Half Life II) for 64 bits, with the corresponding speed advantages, now that would have been some advertisement. Dyed-in-the-wool game freaks would have invested sums of 2,500 euros and more in a new computer to experience this pleasure. Merely looking to the installed hardware foundation, on the other hand, brings no benefits. The software has to be completely readjusted to achieve speed advantages in applications running under Windows XP 64. Whether the manufacturer will do this any time soon is rather doubtful.

CPU History
  1. A New World Order: The Athlon 64 FX And Athlon 64 Vs. The P4 Extreme
  2. A New World Order: The Athlon 64 FX And Athlon 64 Vs. The P4 Extreme, Continued
  3. A New World Order: The Athlon 64 FX And Athlon 64 Vs. The P4 Extreme, Continued
  4. Four Different CPUs With One Design
  5. Four Different CPUs With One Design, Continued
  6. Chipsets & Mainboards: Socket 754 Vs. Socket 940
  7. Chipsets & Mainboards: Socket 754 Vs. Socket 940, Continued
  8. Video 10 To Download: Athlon 64 FX-51 Vs. Athlon 64 Vs. P4 3.2 Extreme
  9. Athlon XP-64 Core: 95 Percent Athlon
  10. Athlon XP-64 Core: 95 Percent Athlon, Continued
  11. HyperTransport: A High-speed Bus Without Detours
  12. Socket 462 Gets Replaced: Sockets 745 And 940/939
  13. Fab30 Dresden Yield: 73 Athlon 64 CPUs Per Wafer!
  14. All AMD And Intel Processors At A Glance
  15. Rough Going - Hardware In The Test Panel
  16. Asus P4C800-E Deluxe: Board Revision 1.02, BIOS 1011 Beta 006
  17. Asus SK8N: Board Revision 1.03, BIOS 1003 Beta 003 (NVIDIA Settings)
  18. MSI MS-9130: Board Revision 1.0, BIOS 1.0BD
  19. General Hardware: Now More Hard Drive Performance
  20. AMD Test Platforms At A Glance
  21. Test Configuration And Special Features
  22. Sysmark 2002: Why Use Obsolete Applications?
  23. Benchmarks Under Windows XP - UPDATED
  24. SPECviewperf 7.1
  25. OpenGL Games: Serious Sam
  26. OpenGL Games: Wolfenstein Enemy Territory
  27. Synthetic: 3D Mark 2001 SE
  28. Games: Comanche 4
  29. Games: Unreal Tournament 2003
  30. Games: Splinter Cell
  31. Games: Warcraft III - The Frozen Throne
  32. Synthetic: 3D Mark 2003
  33. Game: X2 - The Threat Rolling
  34. Game: Gun Metal
  35. Games: AquaMark3
  36. MPEG Encoding: Main Concept MPEG Encoder
  37. MPEG-Encoding: Pinnacle Studio 8.8
  38. MPEG-Encoding: Xmpeg & Divx 5.1 Pro
  39. MPEG-Encoding: Windows Media Encoder 9
  40. MPEG-Encoding: MS Movie Maker 2
  41. Magix MP3 Maker 2004 Diamond
  42. Lame MP3 Encoder
  43. Steinberg Nuendo 2
  44. Sysmark 2002
  45. Winrar 3.2
  46. Newtek Lightwave 7.5
  47. Cinema 4D XL 8.1
  48. Seti@home 3.03
  49. 3D Studio Max 5.1
  50. Mathematica 5
  51. PC Mark 2002 Pro
  52. SiSoft Sandra Max 3
  53. Heat Protection: Now From AMD, Too
  54. Summary: The P4 3.2 EE Wins 32 Times, The Athlon 64 FX-51 15 Times - An Uncertain 64 Bit Future For AMD
  55. Summary: An Uncertain 64 Bit Future For AMD, Continued
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