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 - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    If you're going to compare an overclocked Opteron to the Pentium 4, shouldn't you at least use the fastest P4 available (3.2ghz vs 3.0) ? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    LOL, you mean Onlt = only? whilee = while and 22Hz = 222Mhz= Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    You fools! Onlt the HT-bus was overclocked not the memory bus! You guys need to educate about hammer systems. I sugest you get yourself and nf3 then you can see that you can overclock the HT bus and not the memory!! The test is very valid cause the 2Ghz is the real frequency whilee the 22Ghz is plain bus HTB speed and has nothing to do with the memory controller or memory bus speed. Reply
  • dvinnen - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    #39: You twit, I never said that the HT line had anything to do with the memory. It is used for the clock of the computer. THat was what they where ocing, not the memory.

    #44: I also dought there will be that mch difference in proformance between the dual channel and single channel. Just as the current athlon dosen't really beniffent from the extra bandwidth, I dought the Athlon64 will. And the fact that this is an ethuist website is exactly why they should be doing a preview of it.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    Can I please have benchmarks under linux compiled in 64-bit mode :). I disagree with your "we will have to wait for 64-bit windows" philosophy. :) Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    There is either a lot of AMD bias, ignorance, or both in this article. There is no way that the performance of an upcoming true Athlon64 can be compared to a current overclocked Opteron. The Athlon64 is going to be a socket 754 single channel DDR400 solution that will barely keep up with an Athlon XP 3200+ let alone a P4 3.2 GHz or upcoming Prescott 3.4 GHz. The author should have compared the overclocked Opteron in his article to an upcoming Athlon FX which is just a remarked socket 940 Opteron that runs dual channel DDR400 ECC registered memory. The only difference is in price - which seems funny that is is never mentioned in articles where AMD wins but when Intel wins it's all about COST!!! Athlon64 socket 754 is expected to be price competitive with current Athlon XP 3200+ since the Athlon64 will initially be marked either 3100+ or 3200+. However, Athlon FX is expected to sell anywhere from $700 - $900 USD or even more at launch. So once you buy the 6-layer motherboard, the ECC registered DDR400 memory, and the Athlon FX, you'll have paid almost twice as much for a system that is almost "faster than a P4 3.2 GHz in every way" as some Fudo person stated it on the inquirer.net. I'm collecting a compilation of all of these hype articles to send back to the authors after the real launch when the real truth is known. AMD has been promising that the 64-bit Hammer was going to be the next best thing to sliced bread for the last 3 years and that the Athlon64 was going to wipe Intel off the face of the earth for the past year or so and they still haven't delivered. Everyone who is waiting to get an Athlon FX better pre-order one pretty quick because there will probably only be about 10,000 available world-wide this year. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    Reply to #41

    It is nice to support Athlon 64, but dont tell people that it would recieve an 1 MB L2 cache, as AMD is already building 512 KB CPU's to ship on the launch date.

    And if gunmetal was a good DX9 benchmark, my FX 5200 would be a good R 9800 alternative, and you can see in other reviews that this is not so.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    And #39, you're stupid. They overclocked the FSB to get it to 2.0GHz while keeping the memory at DDR400. You can do that with modern boards and you can certainly do it with A64 boards or Opteron boards.

    Get a clue.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    #40, get a clue. The enthusiast edition of the Athlon 64 will have the exact same L2 cache as the Opteron (1MB). In fact, this same high-end Athlon 64 will have a higher clock speed (probably 2.2GHz) and will be identical to the Opteron. Therefore, this review is VERY useful.

    And no, you're wrong about Gunmetal, it's a very good DX9 benchmark.

    Based on these facts, this review gave the A64 exactly the credit it's due.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    A point that I think was overlooked in this review is that the Athlon 64 has a lot less L2 cache than the tested Opteron, about a P4 to Celeron difference. So you might be very dissapointed when you actually buy an Athlon 64, when you compare it to the review.

    Besides, the best score was made in an added benchmark, gun metal, that seems to use some kind of software rendering for 3d, a very unrealistic scenario. I think so because my Geforce FX 5200 scores almost the same as the tested Radeon 9800, as I have one of the tested CPU's.

    And another point of intrest is the video editing, that is hardly covered and does not even get its own part in the review, altrough this might be the only point where consumers actually use their full CPU power, as gaming is more a GPU thing, and anything above 60 fps does not make it more fun than just 60 fps. And it is also the only point where the Opteron seems to lack to most other CPU's.

    Based on my other points, I have to conclude that Athlon 64 got more credit here than it deserved.
    Reply

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