The Lineup - Athlon 64 X2

As we mentioned earlier, the Athlon 64 X2 isn't going to be officially launched until June.  While AMD is purposefully vague in their discussion of availability, it looks like their plans are for system builders and OEMs to offer Athlon 64 X2 systems in Q3 of this year and for retail availability to be in Q4 of this year. 

For AMD, the Athlon 64 4000+ was the last single core Athlon 64 that they will make; all model numbers after 4000+ will be dual core Athlon 64 X2s.  Starting at 4200+ and going up to 4800+, the Athlon 64 X2 continues AMD's trend of basing model numbers on clock speeds and cache sizes.  You can see the breakdown below:

For starters, the Athlon 64 X2's clock speeds aren't that low compared to the current single-core Athlon 64s.  The top of the line Athlon 64 FX-55 runs at 2.6GHz, only 200MHz faster than the Athlon 64 X2 4800+.  This is in stark contrast to Intel's desktop dual core offerings, which run between 2.8 and 3.2GHz, a full 600MHz drop from their fastest single core CPU. 

The other major difference between AMD and Intel's dual core desktop approach is in pricing. Let's take a look at the cost per core of the Athlon 64 X2:

We see that AMD's desktop pricing is much more reasonable than their dual core Opteron pricing, but then again, also remember that their desktop CPUs won't be in volume until later this year.  The second core never costs more than the first one, which is honestly the only way you can ensure good desktop adoption rates. 

That being said, let's compare it to Intel's pricing:

Because Intel is only shipping lower clocked dual core CPUs, Intel's chip prices are much lower - not to mention that Intel's manufacturing abilities far exceed those of AMD.  Percentage-wise, the Pentium D 3.2 commands a high premium for that second core, but the prices are overall quite reasonable.  The fastest Pentium D is still cheaper than the slowest Athlon 64 X2 4200+, and the slowest Pentium D is ridiculously cheap compared to AMD's dual core offerings. 

AMD's answer to Intel's aggressive pricing is two-fold. Eventually, all of AMD's CPUs will be dual core, and thus, prices will be driven back down to single core levels. But for now, AMD feels confident enough that their single core CPUs are fast enough to compete with Intel's low clocked Pentium Ds.  We put that exact thinking to the test in Part II of our Intel dual core preview and concluded that it really depends on what type of a user you are. If you tend to multitask a lot or run a lot of multithreaded applications, then a slower Intel dual core is what you need; otherwise, a faster single core AMD is your best bet. 

The Lineup - Opteron x75 Dual Core Server Performance: AMD’s Opteron x75 Series
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  • MDme - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    #92

    the difference between an opteron and an a64/fx is as follows:

    opteron - needs ECC memory cache is 1mb it is multiplier locked, COHERENT HT LINKS

    a64 - uses non-registered (non-ecc) memory (which is faster), cache 512k-1mb, multiplier locked

    a64fx - non-ecc memory, 1mb cache, unlocked.

    so opteron's are not a64/fx's but are quite similar. the main difference is the memory type and the COHERENT HT links

    therefore the X2 4400+ is really an opteron (dual core) running at 2.2 with dual 1mb cache but with the COHERENT HT link disabled that uses non-ECC ram.

    performance should therefore be almost identical between one DC opteron 2.2ghz and one A64 X2 4400+ (possibly the X2 will be faster 5%) due to the non-ECC memory which is faster.


    Reply
  • tygrus - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    If you use a Opteron 875 then label it as such in all diagrams. You can make a note that the Athlon64 X2 4400+ will perform similarly to the Opteron 875. The differences in MB and RAM will affect results and so a direct re-labelling should not be made.
    Good database, multimedia, data analysis should make good use of multi-core/multi-CPU systems. When I mention data analysis I'm talking about software like SAS 9.1.3 and SAP. Even SAS is only threaded for a few tasks and is a big hassel to pipeline one step into another.
    Reply
  • Some1ne - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Good article overall, although I question the validity of declaring that an Opteron 875 is roughly equivalent to an Athlon 64 4400+. I could be wrong, but surely there must be significant architectural differences between the server-class chip (top of the line server-class chip no less) and the desktop Athlon 64? If not then why the price premium for Opterons, and why don't manufacturers just find a way to kludge the Athlon64 to work in MP configurations as in theory if they are really equivalent when run at the same clock speed, it would be much more cost effective to use kludged Athlon 64's, and it would also let higher performance levels to be reached as the dual-core Athlon64's are slated to run at one clock increment higher than the fastest dual-core Opteron's? So anyways, is it *really* valid to treat an Opteron as being essentially equivalent to a similarly clocked Athlon64? As much as I love finally seeing Intel chips trounced pretty much across the board, it seems to me like the results could potentially be inaccurate given that an Opteron 875 was used and simply "labeled" as an Athlon64 4400+. Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    #89... seeing as how the Opty x75 and A64 X2 are based on functionally identical cores, thats not too likely at all. What DOES seem likely to me reading this article is that BIOS updates, and X2 support on 939 boards, is going to be a very interesting story to follow. It doesnt look like its too easy to get a solid AMD Dual Core BIOS if even Tyan is struggling, of all board mfts. May give a fiesty smaller board mft a chance to slam the bigboys and grab marketshare (such as ECS with the K7S5A). Reply
  • Jason Clark - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    saratoga, waah? There are similarities between C# and C++. While agree it's java'ish as well, it definitely has similarties to c++. One could say c# shaes similarities with c/c/c++.

    read away:

    http://www.mastercsharp.com/article.aspx?ArticleID...

    http://www.csharphelp.com/archives/archive138.html

    "C# is directly related to C and C++. This is not just an idea, this is real. As you recall C is a root for C++ and C++ is a superset of C. C and C++ shares several syntax, library and functionality." Quoted from above.

    L8r.




    Reply
  • Jep4444 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    I've spoken to a few people from XS who have Engineering Samples of the Athlon X2s and all im hearing is that arent nearly as good as the dual core Opterons, they were apparently rushed Reply
  • xtknight - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    #86 - the r_smp cvar was disabled in quake3 in a patch, for a reason i don't know. i confirmed this by having quake3 crash on my p4 HT CPU with that setting enabled. as for doom3, i'm not sure. i'm guessing it's not implemented well enough yet... Reply
  • Chuckles - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    #83:
    "Real gamers" may use a single core, but I have been hankering for duallies since I tried an older dual G4 to my newer single G4. Even on the crappy MaxBus, I could browse the web, chat, do "real work" and game, without having everything go to pot when a bolus of e-mail came in.
    When you buy a dualie of any type, you buy the ability to do other stuff while you computer working on its latest task. Remember that when you get lagged while Outlook downloads your latest spam.

    Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Why wern't there any SMP Tests done on Quake 3 engine, after all it is said to be multithreaded.

    Also, Carmack said during the devlopment of DOOM3 that the engine was going to support multiple processors, did this ever happen? Does anyone know what the command might be for D3 console to enable SMP, like it's cousin? How much truth is there to this?
    Reply
  • Nighteye2 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Add to all the arguments that we can potentially see programs taking advantage of this quite soon...without the effort required to implement full multi-threading, game functions could be assigned to use the other processor if it's available. For example, AI can be done by one core, while the other core does the rest of running the game.
    Reply

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