It was only a matter of time
before the Athlon64 and DDR2 paired up. Multi-core processors require memory
bandwidth than traditional DDR memory cannot handle, and in order to keep the high
performance Athlon64 architecture going adopting DDR2 was a necessary step.
For users, the new socket AM2 Athlon64 signals a shift in
both the Athlon64 architecture, and in upgrade paths. With the 940-pin socket
AM2 processor, several other key components of a system have also had to be
upgraded by default; including the motherboard and memory requirements, and
heatsink. With dual videocard SLI capabilities married to virtually all high end
motherboard platforms, a new power supply is likely to be on the list as well.
In the previous pages of this review, PCSTATS showed you
the two new processors that AMD has unleashed on the world; the socket AM2
Athlon64 X2 5000+ and the socket AM2 Athlon64 FX-62.
The Athlon64 X2 5000+ retails for $773 CDN ($696 US, £396 GBP) and the
flagship Athlon64 FX-62 goes for $1147 CDN ($1031 US, £547 GBP). Both
processors are available as of this moment.
The AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+ as its name indicates is the
newest mainstream part. The dual core processor is built on AMD's 90 nanometer
manufacturing processes with SOI technology. Each core is clocked at a brisk 2.6
GHz and features 128KB L1 and 512KB L2 cache per core. The smaller cache size
does not put the Athlon64 X2 5000+ at much disadvantage, and as you could see in
the benchmarks it often performed on par with the more expensive socket 939
The AMD Athlon64 FX-62 simply
beams awesomeness and is the fastest desktop processor in the computer industry
to date that PCSTATS has tested. Like the X2 5000+, the Athlon64 FX-62 is also
built at AMD's Fab30 Dresden manufacturing plant on 90 nanometer SOI technology.
The two processing cores are running at a blistering 2.8
GHz and come fully loaded with 1MB L2 cache per core. A feature that hardcore
enthusiasts will love is that the Athlon64 FX-62 comes fully multiplier
unlocked, and is the easiest overclocking processor available. Make no mistake
about it, the Athlon64 FX-62 has absolutely no rivals in performance or
AMD's chipset and motherboard manufacturing partners have
loads of socket AM2 peripherals ready and you can find quite a few socket AM2
motherboards on the market already. Easily the most impressive are the new
nVIDIA based nForce 500 series motherboards. Not satisfied at rehashing the
nForce4, nVIDIA's new nForce 500 series chipsets dramatically
improve on what the nForce4 lacked. DualLink technology is great news for
enthusiasts who are running on high bandwidth networks, FirstPacket allows
educated users to prioritize packets for gaming/VoIP and LinkBoost promises to
improve bandwidth between the key subsystems like PCI Express and HyperTransport
between CPU and Northbridge!
Memory latency timings affect how quickly the system
memory gets data to and from the processor and the other devices. Throughout its
lifetime the Athlon64 is known to benefit from lower timings, with DDR2, timings
are much higher than DDR memory ever provided. It will be interesting to see how
AMD is able to improve on its current processors using a memory standard that is
not tuned for it.
As the benchmarks demonstrated, the only rival for AMD's Athlon64
X2 5000+ and Athlon64 FX-62 are its own processors from the Socket 939
generation. Intel's best simply doesn't have the power to even be in the same
league, although the emerging Intel 'Conroe' core is rumored to put up stiff
competition. AMD's 90 nanometer manufacturing has matured nicely and we were
pleasantly surprised with an overclock of 2.92 GHz from the socket AM2 Athlon64
X2 5000+ and 3.08 GHz from the socket AM2 Athlon64 FX-62.
Despite all this computing power, the socket AM2 AMD
Athlon64 X2 5000+ and FX-62 both use less power than current Intel processos.
AMD is also set to release low wattage socket AM2 Athlon64's shortly which will
use even less power.
The socket AM2 Athlon64 X2 5000+ and Athlon64 FX-62 have
no rivals and if you want a top of the line system, it'll use either one of
these processors. With all the new settings DDR2 brings to the table,
enthusiasts and tweakers will be busy having fun for a very long time.
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