Skip to main content

Generation Change: Eight Motherboards For The Athlon 64

Athlon64: All Quiet On The Cool & Quiet Front

It's a shame, really: while AMD was the first to come up with the idea of offering a power management system for desktop CPUs similar to those for mobile processors, basically no one in Taiwan seems to see a reason to support this laudable move. Of course, by Taiwan we mean the motherboard manufacturers who mainly do business from the island of Formosa.

You'll recall that in the heyday of the Pentium III Intel was already hawking its around one gigahertz of computing performance as sufficient to enable applications like speech recognition. Today we're at more than 3 GHz, and the much touted speech recognition still doesn't function like we want it to. AMD and Intel continue their constant battle for new performance records.

Fundamentally that's nothing to complain about, as things like HDTV decoding and the like need a truckload of power. It's the way they're going about it that seems shortsighted to us. More speed, more thermal loss, who cares.

AMD was the first to recognize the sign of the times by integrating a technology that's worked for years, namely PowerNow!, into the Athlon64. That finally enables a reduction in the power consumption and thus the thermal loss of modern processors should there ever be lull in activity. And who would have predicted that most users in fact have so little to do that the electricity gobbled up is largely converted into heat, which in turn has to be conveyed from inside the PC to outside so as not to overheat other components like the hard drive a process which in turn requires fans, which suck up even more electricity.

Six of the eight mainboards in this test do not support Cool & Quiet to date, even though its implementation shouldn't pose a problem for the world's best known manufacturers.