As we look toward the introductions on September 23rd, some things are starting to become clearer about Athlon64. Announcements from AMD and word-of-mouth all point to the performance of Athlon64 and Opteron being very close if not identical. We also are hearing rumors from the Inquirer and elsewhere that the 754-pin Athlon64 will likely be introduced initially at 2.0GHz, with a revised (and more realistic) Performance Rating that will place it somewhere around 3200+, which is the current highest PR of the top Barton. However, no one has really done much in answering how the Athlon64 will perform compared to current Athlon and Pentium 4 CPUs. While the delay of Microsoft’s 64-bit Windows XP still will not allow us to test 64-bit Athlon64 performance, we do have the tools at hand to give a good idea of what to expect from 32-bit Athlon64 performance when it is introduced in the next few weeks.

When Anand Shimpi first tested Opteron in April, there were only server-based boards available for testing. The single-CPU nVidia nForce3, which has real AGP 8X and Enthusiast-level overclocking options, would not be released for a couple of months. With nForce3 for Opteron now available in the market, and the expectation of a 2.0GHz Athlon64 introduction, we went back to our nVidia nForce3 reference board with an Opteron capable of running 200FSB to see where Athlon64 might land.

With the AGP/PCI lock and FSB overclocking of the nForce3, we were able to reach a stable 2.0Ghz (222x9) at default voltage with our 1.8 Opteron, even though we were running 2GB (512MBx4) of Dual-Channel ECC memory. With full support of AGP 8X, we were also able to use our standard ATI Radeon 9800 PRO for benchmarking.

With the nForce 3 running Opteron at 2.0Ghz with a Radeon 9800 PRO, we had the platform to give our readers a decent preview of Athlon64 performance. So how will Athlon64 likely compare to the best Pentium 4 CPU’s and current Barton processors?


nVidia nForce3 Chipset
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  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    Not to worry, there will soon be more competition for Opteron in the form of Low Voltage (and price) Itaniums, Prescotts, and even 800 MHz FSB Nocona XEONs. It's going to be very fun in the next year or so. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    Am I the only one concerned that each test platform seems to use different amounts of system memory? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    1 OF 2 things will have to happen. Either MS reduces their prices to compete with Linux or Linux will start charging/more for their OS. Open source is great and cheap right now which is why it is popular, but someone will try to commercialize it. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    Fortunately in the next few years many folks will be switching to Linux both 32 and 64-bit just to get away from Windoze and all the stability and security issues with virtually every version of Windoze, bar none. This will be good news for AMD and the Opteron/A64 which both run very well on Linux and 64-bit Linux is available to all right now.

    Once the software companies wake up and smell the coffee and pull their heads out of Microsofts's butthole, they'll start releasing apps for Linux that look and feel like those for Windoze. This will facilitate a relatively painless transition for millions of folks who would switch to Linux immediately if they could import all of their existing apps files without headaches. Thankfully with enterprise and World governments switching to Linux, there is a clear financial incentive for software makers to get their act together and fill customer needs. The World will be a much better place when consumers have the ability to purchase a quality O/S and software apps and at this stage of the game Linux is a clear winner over any Windoze O/S for stability, performance and security.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    Well when the P4 first came out it was slower than the P3, and costed around $1200-1500. You expect a new series processor to be dirt cheap? Yeah right.

    Prescott is what, a P4 with 20w more heat dissapation and 1MB cache and several (currently) useless instructions? OK, it has some other secret features. How long though can the 2x ALU stay 2x? They will run at 6.8ghz, and getting them to work at higher speeds will be 2x as hard as the rest of the processor (and it's now supposively going to be 4x?).

    Of course, I guess everyone forgot, this is just a preview, not the acutal thing, so why get so worked up over it?.

    Whether the desktop version is great or not, the more Opterons you run together only get better, with the Xeon you get less in return from going 2 to 4.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    What is the reason that overclocked Opteron 244 is used instead of the real Opteron 246 that is available in retail? What is the reason to use 2 Gig of memory and compare it to a system that uses 512 MB memory? If memory doesn't matter in those bechmarks then why 2x256 isn't used?
    Why not to compare to Pentium 3.2 which is the top Intel desktop chip instead of 3.0 GHz?
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    Why on earth are the benchmark results in FLASH?
    Thats just really annoying.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    This benchmark is pretty funny, it leaves a lot to be desired from todays reviewers. Not that I think the athlon64 isn't a very good improvement, but the results they are showing do not match any other results people have seen, reminds me of the Hardocp reviews. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    Just for your information number 49, the 2.0GHz CPU anandtech tested won't be the fastest CPU AMD releases on the 23rd, so comparing it to a 3.2GHz CPU would actually have been unfair. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    That's not anand hahahah :p Reply

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