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AMD Athlon64 FX-62 and X2 5000+ Socket AM2 Processors Reviewed

AMD Athlon64 FX-62 and X2 5000+ Socket AM2 Processors Reviewed  - PCSTATS
Abstract: AMD Athlon64 FX-62 and Athlon64 X2-5000+ are both dual core, support DDR-2 667/800 MHz RAM, virtualization, and install into a new 940-pin socket called 'AM2'.
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD May 24 2006   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD Athlon64 FX-62 / X2 5000+

nVIDIA, the AMD chipset market leader

The new nVidia socket AM2 supporting chipsets include the nForce 590 SLI for enthusiast class users, the nForce 570 SLI for high end gamers, nForce 570 Ultra for mainstream gamers and the nForce 550 for the rest of the mainstream market.

Make no mistake, nVIDIA did not simply re-brand its highly successful nForce4 chipset line, the new nForce 500 series adds many completely new features into the mix. Intel users will have to wait to the fall before the nForce 5 Intel Edition is set to strike. Take a quick look at the chart below to see how all four nForce 500-series chipsets stack up to one another; much of the differences reside with the number of PCI Express lanes available.

nVidia nForce 500 Series Chipset Feature Breakdown
nVidia nForce 590 SLI nVidia nForce 570 SLI nVidia nForce 570 Ultra nVidia nForce 550
CPU 940-pin Socket AM2 940-pin Socket AM2 940-pin Socket AM2 940-pin Socket AM2
nVida SLI Support Yes, (2 x16) Yes (1 x16, 2 x8) - -
nVidia LinkBoost Yes - - -
nVidia FirstPacket Yes Yes Yes Yes
nVidia DualNet Yes Yes Yes -
Native Gigabit Ethernet 2 2 2 1
Teaming Yes Yes Yes -
TCP/IP Acceleration Yes Yes Yes -
nVidia MediaShield Storage Yes Yes Yes Yes
SATA/IDE HDD 6/2 6/2 6/2 4/2
SATA Speed 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s
RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 0, 1, 0+1, 5 0, 1, 0+1, 5 0, 1, 0+1
nVidia nTune Utility Yes Yes Yes Yes
PCI Express Lanes 46 lanes 28 lanes 20 lanes 20 lanes
USB Ports 10 10 10 10
PCI Slots 5 5 5 5
Audio High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia)

We'll start at the bottom with the nVidia nForce 550 MCP and work our way up. The nForce 550 MCP supports socket AM2 Athlon64 and Sempron CPU's. The chipset will support a single PCI Express x16 videocard, four PCI Express x1 slots and up to five PCI bus mastering slots. There is only one IDE channel for optical devices, and four Serial ATA 2.0 connectors for storage devices (RAID 0, 1, 0+1 inclusive). The nForce 550 designed for affordable motherboards, and so it comes with the industry standard integrated Gigabit Ethernet network connection, support for Intel's 7.1 channel Azalia high definition audio codec, and 10 USB 2.0 devices. nVIDIA's nTune 5.0 Smart performance tuning can also be applied.

Moving up to the nVidia nForce 570 SLI and 570 Ultra chipsets, the feature set very similar to that of the nForce 550 MCP. Both are single chip solutions with 16 PCI Express lanes devoted to the videocard sub system, however the nForce 570 Ultra only supports one videocard while the nForce 570 SLI supports two. The PCI Express x16 bus is split into two when SLI is configured so each videocard gets eight PCI Express lanes. There are an additional four PCI Express x1 slots and five PCI slots for expansion purposes. Both chipsets have dual Gigabit Ethernet which includes nVidia's DualNet technology as well as its FirstPacket technology that allows packet prioritizing. There is one IDE channel, six SATAII connections (RAID modes 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 inclusive), and similar USB and audio options as will all other nForce 500-series chipsets.

The high end nVidia nForce 590 SLI has so many features that nVidia has to use two different chipsets. ;-) To achieve SLI, the nVidia C51XE Northbridge supports a PCI Express x16 videocard while the MCP55XE supports a second PCI Express x16 videocard. It's the MCP55XE where most of the action happens, it also supports two Gigabit Ethernet connection that can take advantage of nVidia's new networking technologies like DualNet, Teaming and FirstPacket. The IDE, SATA, audio and USB features are identical to those of the nForce 570 SLI.

Now I know you're thinking that the nForce 590 SLI's MCP55XE chipset looks a lot like the nForce 570 SLI but there's more. The nForce 590 supports automatic overclocking as well as nVIDIA's LinkBoost technology, neither is supported by the lower end models. Automatic overclocking is pretty straight forward, the motherboard automatically overclocks the system depending on load but it's LinkBoost that's more interesting. When the nForce 590 SLI chipset detects GeForce 7900GTX or higher videocards installed, it will automatically increase HyperTransport and PCI Express x16 bandwidth by 25%. This may not do much for current generation videocards but future generation nVIDIA videocards will definitely benefit from the added bandwidth!

We've already covered Enhanced Performance Profiles (EPP) for DDR-2 memory, though we should mention that all nForce 500-series chipsets support the feature with compatible memory. Nividia are pushing a what it calls "SLI Ready" memory forward to indicate compatibility with EPP enabled BIOSes, but I suspect the vendor neutral EPP name will win out in the long run as the idea is certainly a good one. To recap, EPP takes over where the Serial Presence Detect (SPD) EEPROM leaves off and allows the motherboard to dynamically adjust memory timings and voltages for improved overall performance.

With automatic motherboard overclocking already a hit in the retail market, EPP compatibility adds memory tuning to the performance mix. EPP will appeal more to the novice or moderate overclocker who does not know or like to muck around with memory timing adjustments. Enthusiasts can still override EPP's performance profiles by setting memory timings manually in the BIOS however.

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Contents of Article: AMD Athlon64 FX-62 / X2 5000+
 Pg 1.  AMD Athlon64 FX-62 and X2 5000+ Socket AM2 Processors Reviewed
 Pg 2.  Complete Socket AM2 CPU Family
 Pg 3.  Behind the Heatspreader - Common AM2 CPU Features
 Pg 4.  AMD Virtulization Technology
 Pg 5.  Performance-Per-Watt Metrics
 Pg 6.  Socket AM2 System Power Draw
 Pg 7.  Hello DDR-2, the AM2's Memory of Choice
 Pg 8.  VIA / SIS Chipsets for Socket AM2
 Pg 9.  — nVIDIA, the AMD chipset market leader
 Pg 10.  Socket AM2 Heatsinks and Retention Frame
 Pg 11.  Overclocking the Athlon64 X2 5000+ and FX-62!
 Pg 12.  Flagship AMD Athlon64 FX-62 Overclocking
 Pg 13.  Prelude to Benchmarks - Test System Configuration
 Pg 14.  Pure 32-bit Benchmarks: SYSMark 2004
 Pg 15.  Pure 32 bit Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra 2005
 Pg 16.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: Maya Render Test, Super Pi
 Pg 17.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: PCMark05
 Pg 18.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: 3DMark05
 Pg 19.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: 3DMark06
 Pg 20.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: Doom 3
 Pg 21.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: Quake 4
 Pg 22.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: FarCry
 Pg 23.  Pure 32-Bit Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 24.  64 Bit Benchmarks: ScienceMark 2.
 Pg 25.  64 Bit Benchmarks: Mini-GZip, DiVX Encoding
 Pg 26.  Multi-Threaded Benchmarks: 3DMark05
 Pg 27.  Multi-Threaded Benchmarks: Doom 3
 Pg 28.  Multi-Threaded Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 29.  Welcome to the family Socket AM2!

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