Imitation To Innovation: AMD's Best CPUs

The K8: AMD Moves To 64 Bits

K8 was the first x86 processor compatible with 64-bit addressing. The architecture had other advantages such as an integrated memory controller. AMD has released a veritable army of K8-based processors since then, but we’ll concentrate on the models intended for the mainstream: the Athlon 64s. In practice, the Opteron (the server version), Athlon 64 FX (high-end) and Turion 64 (for mobile PCs) are very closely related. In general, they differ only in the management of the memory controller and cache memory, plus the type of memory used.

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Code nameClawHammerOrleans
Date released20032006
Data bus64-bits64-bits
Address bus64-bits64-bits
Maximum memory1 TB1 TB
L1 cache64 KB + 64 KB64 KB + 64 KB
L2 cache1,024 KB (CPU frequency)512 KB (CPU frequency)
Clock frequency1,800-2,400 MHz1,800-2,600 MHz
memory controllerDDR-400, 1 channelDDR2-667, 2 channel
FSB800 MHz (HTT)1,000 MHz (HTT)
SIMDMMX, Enhanced 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2MMX, Enhanced 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE3
Fabrication process130 nm90 nm
Number of transistors105.9 million81.1 million
Power consumption89 W (TDP)62 W (TDP)
Voltage1.5 V1.25-1.4 V
Die surface area193 mm²103 mm²
ConnectorSocket 754Socket AM2

Athlon 64 processors still use a PR number to indicate their ranking in the product range and there are many different versions, which generally differ in terms of cache memory and/or fabrication process. We highlighted only two models, but there are a dozen or so different K8 versions for the standard Athlon 64 alone.

  • Ryun
    Nice article, thanks for another trip-down-memory-lane.
  • randomizer
    I swear I had a Clawhammer with 512MB L2 cache.
  • cpuTweaker
    Lackluster article...a lot of backround on the chips were left out, fact that make thier acomplishments truely impressive. To THG's credit, their was at least some mention of the impact Alpha had on some of the chip designs, but no where near being complete.

    Where the intel article seemed to overshadow intel's little victories, this article seems to gloss over AMD innovation (though i'll admit that i didn't recall the bit about the Intel chip, either the pentium or pentium pro, that gave incorrect values for mathmatical equations)

    Both articles really need alot more detail added. As i've actually ranted about the history i'm reffering to in the comments section of the intel article as well as many other's i won't re-hash it.
  • neiroatopelcc
    Despite not being terribly detailed, I still like these recaps. Good articles really, all of them. Now all we need is one on alpha, and on how the mac stuff went before it was called intel
  • neiroatopelcc
    Oh and on ati I suppose, seeing we've already had nvidia :9 ... or even matrox, 3dfx and others that have vanished in a combo article...

    This is like viasat history - only more specific and technical
  • AMD 386 SX @25 MHz was powering my first personal computer. The whole computer costed ~4000$ and it wasn't even top performance.
    AMD 486 @120 Mhz was making my friends that bought an early Pentium red with envy.

  • jj463rd
    I had several systems with the AMD 486 X5 processor at 133 Mhz.I also have 2 K6-2 systems,1 Athlon a Athlon 64 and a Phenom X4 9850 BE system.Actually most of my systems are Intel basedthough.When I first heard that AMD was in pretty big trouble I still wouldn't get a B2 Phenom but when they fixed the bug I decided to help them out by building the Phenom X4 9850BE system which runs very well.Plus I've just ordered some new ATI graphics cards too.
    Someone gave me a AMD K5 system.
    Thanks for the article.
  • Malovane
    Heh, owned one AMD processor of every line, starting with the 8086 and ending with the Phenom. Wasn't even intentional for the first decade, but I'm glad I did. Liked the article, though it could have gone into a bit more detail and back story.
  • Minerva
    I enjoy these articles as well, as I collect old hardware...
    I have quite a few chips from both makers, including the AMD 40MHz 386, and an Intel 386 & 387 33MHz cpu's, which are quite scarce...
  • NightLight
    I too collect old hardware Minerva, in fact, I still have a lot of them still in running order on a mainboard ! Good Review, I just loved to see that windows 3 series again :)Altough a little bit biased...