It was an unexpected addition to the meeting; apparently the call had just been made prior to my arrival. I was standing in front of two systems running AMD "Hammer" processors, clocked at 800MHz, in both 32-bit and 64-bit OSes. Granted the demos that AMD was running involved nothing more than a simple web server and a ball bouncing around the screen, but coming off of the strong launch and execution of the Athlon XP we all had high hopes for this next-generation chip.

Many will remember the aforementioned demo, as it happened almost two years ago just outside the convention center at the Intel Developer Forum; AMD always had a way of crashing the party it seemed. It was at that show that we proclaimed AMD as stealing the show from Intel, criticizing the CPU giant for giving us a fairly lackluster showing at IDF that year.

The AMD from IDF had promised us a chip by the end of the year and given that we had all forgotten about the horribly executed K5 and mediocre K6 deployments, why were we to believe that they would do otherwise? Everyone expected AMD to deliver on their word because prior to Hammer, it was Intel that was coming up short on promises. A series of competitive paper launches in the early days of the Athlon and a poor performing, overpriced Pentium 4 plagued Intel and tarnished their reputation in the community.

Fast forward to almost two years and the Hammer is just finally being released on the desktop as the Athlon 64 and the Athlon 64 FX. AMD has lost a lot of face in the community and in the industry as a whole, but can the 64 elevate them back to a position of leadership?

We've covered the Athlon 64 and its server-brother, the Opteron, in great detail already so be sure to check out our previous coverage for even more information before continuing on here.

AMD Opteron Coverage - Part 1: Intro to Opteron/K8 Architecture
AMD Opteron Coverage - Part 2: Enterprise Performance
AMD Opteron Coverage - Part 3: The First Servers Arrive
AMD Opteron Coverage - Part 4: Desktop Performance
AMD Athlon 64 Preview: nForce3 at 2.0GHz

An Early Christmas present from AMD: More Registers
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  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Anyone know how the new AMD CPU compares to the Apple G5? I am not an Mac-Apple guy, but my in-laws are, and I'd like to be in the know in case we get into a friendly "discussion" about the Windows and Mac platforms. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    #58 Fanbois? lol Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    This review appears to be in the same general lines as the rest of the Opteron/Pentium comparisons; I'm pleased that AMD has managed to shore up their shortcomings, but the price point is what's keeping me away from going directly from a pre-XP AMD Athlon to Athlon64. If I spend $400+ on a processor, it better be the king of the hill for the next year at least, or at least the mobo should be upgradeable to compensate for CPU obsolesence.
    And I'm surprised no one's figured out how to unlock Opteron multipliers yet, since that's basically the heart of the early-day AXP overclocking scene... Bridge blowing, soldering, "wire mods", etc. Shame, shame on you overclocking enthusiasts for not throwing everything into unlocking the hottest new processor (figuratively, not literally; Prescott and P4EE take that award at 103W and 150W, respectively). :P Talk about good wholesome fun, take an Opteron at 3.4GHz (using multipliers) and slap that Zalman Cu-7000 thing on it; a Pen-what?

    #58: No, there are dumber fanboys than Intel fanboys, trust me. Just visit Something Awful. :/
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    intel fanbois rank among the top percentile of dumbest fanboi's on the internet. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Is AMD actually planning on selling these versions of the 64? They and the hardware will be obsolete the day they are purchased. THe two biggest advantages the chip has can't even be used yet. The new mobos can't handle any more Ram than the current Pentium boards, I thought being able to use more ram was one of the selling points of the 64? Although that point seems to be moot anyway until a new 64 bit os is out. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    #36 You're right dude. Intel indeed said that prescott 3.2 GHz can't touch the performance of the 3.2 GHz P4EE. Logical actually, since prescott has no extra L3 cache, and a longer pipeline. The only benefits are: larger L1 cache, larger L2 cache and SSE-3 (only needed for sysmark-2004 LOL!, and other intel benchmarketing partners) Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Anagram for Intel Fanboy - INANE BOTFLY
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    THG review: triple-guaranteed bullshit. Anandtech review: Infidel profane pagan loutish review. Ace's Hardware review: For great justice!11 Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    original pentium 66 was pants got beat by a 486
    original pentium 4 was just as bad
    give it 6 months for the chip to mature. hopefully the athlon64 is a success cause if amd go bust we all pay double for cpus
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    There's some confusion on using the term 32bit and x86 here. I believe what was mean in response to what #32 said, is that A64 runs x86 natively the same way a XP does with no emulation, (as was outlined in previous Anandtech articles) just by disabling half of the 64-bit registers. So it had better run at least as well as the Athlon XP/P4 or there is something seriously wrong... not something to brag about.

    #50, For an Intel fanboy you sure don't know your history. Using 386 would be more appropriate as that was the change from 16-bit to 32-bit... and things have not fundamentally changed in the instruction set since then.
    Reply

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