To say that AMD has been uncharacteristically quiet lately would be an understatement of epic proportions. The company that had been so vocal about their K8 architecture in the past will hardly say anything at all about future products, extending even to its forthcoming AM2 platform. In just two months AMD is scheduled to officially unveil its first DDR2 platform (Socket-AM2), but we've heard virtually nothing about performance expectations.

Back in January we sought to discover for ourselves what AMD's Socket-AM2 platform would have in store for end users. You'll remember that when Intel made the shift to DDR2 it basically yielded no tangible performance improvement, and we were all quite afraid that the same would be true of AM2. When we finally tested the AM2 samples that were available at the time, performance was absolutely dismal. Not only could AMD's AM2 not outperform currently shipping Socket-939 platforms, but due to serious issues with the chip's memory controller performance was significantly lower.

Given that AMD was supposed to launch in June at Computex, the fact that AM2 was performing so poorly just five months before launch was cause for worry. Despite our worries, we elected not to publish benchmark results and to give AMD more time to fix the problems. We're not interested in creating mass panic by testing a product that's clearly premature.

In February we tried once more, this time with a new spin of the AM2 silicon, but performance continued to be lower than Socket-939. Luckily for AMD, the performance had improved significantly, so it was slower than Socket-939 but not as much as before.

The next revision of the AM2 silicon we received sometime in March, and this one finally added support for DDR2-800, which is what AM2 will launch with supposedly at Computex. With the launch only three months out, we expected performance to be at final shipping levels, and we were left disappointed once more. Even with DDR2-800 at the best timings we could manage back then, Socket-AM2 was unable to outperform Socket-939 at DDR-400.

That brings us to today; we're now in the month of April, with less than two months before AMD's official unveiling of its Socket-AM2 platform at Computex in June, and yes we have a brand new spin of AM2 silicon here to test. We should note that it's not all AMD that's been holding AM2 performance behind. The motherboard makers have of course gone through their fair share of board revisions, not to mention the various chipset revisions that have changed performance as well. Regardless, according to internal AMD documents, AM2 CPUs are going to start being sold to distributors starting next month, leaving very little time for significant changes to the CPU to impact performance. We feel that now is as good of a time to preview AM2 performance and put things into perspective as we're likely to get before the official launch.

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  • Shintai - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    If your logic applies, then he wont know anything about Conroe until he got it at home and working. So get over it, even the ES samples out in the wild kicks AMD so hard. The only question was if AM2 would bring extra performance to compete against Conroe, and it surely didn´t. Conroe prices also leaves AMD in the utter dust along with performance. 300$ Conroe E6600 chip or a 1200$ FX62? And the E6600 will be faster in most situations. You gotta be some extreme hardcore fanboi not to go Conroe. Reply
  • bob661 - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    quote:

    So get over it,
    There's nothing to get over, asswipe. You nor he knows for sure how Conroe performs, period! You can fanboi me all you want. Facts are facts. When they ship and there are 3rd party benchmarks on 3rd party machines tested, then we'll all know for sure how they'll perform. Puff, puff, pass man, puff, puff pass.
    Reply
  • Shintai - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    http://vic.expreview.com/read.php?1">http://vic.expreview.com/read.php?1
    http://vic.expreview.com/read.php?2">http://vic.expreview.com/read.php?2
    http://vic.expreview.com/read.php?3">http://vic.expreview.com/read.php?3
    http://vic.expreview.com/read.php?4">http://vic.expreview.com/read.php?4

    Now cry me a river again and keep whining over something new.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    That's the crappiest website ever! I think a modem is hosting it. Plus it's retarded how the pictures shrink after they're loaded. Reply
  • Furen - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    I wouldn't compare the pricing quite yet. AMD's AM2 pricing is for May 5th while Conroe's is for launch day... whenever that happens (and before you say June/July, Intel itself said that it would launch as close to the beginning of Q3 as possible but did not commit to an early Q3 launch).

    Another thing, I have yet to see an E6600 being tested in "most situations", so until I see so, I'll say that your assumption that this is true is a bit irresponsible and fanboyish. Especially so if you consider that neither of the two CPUs (AM2 K8s and Conroes) can be bought quite yet, so convincing someone that one is a better deal is a bit premature. Personally, I think that AMD is going to get its ass handed to it by Conroe but I wouldn't go our of my way to swear it.
    Reply
  • redbone75 - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    Wow. Only twenty posts until someone put up something about Conroe performance. In case you haven't been reading AM2 news or even read the article, AM2 is supposed to launch in June and here we are in April with a preview that, for the most part, is pretty disappointing for anyone that had high hopes for a Conroe challenger. This is just like when Intel migrated to DDR2: it wasn't really necessary but it will give AMD experience for when they can really use it. However, I'm thinking it won't take AMD as long to see more noticeable performance gains with DDR2 than Intel. Regarding Conroe, any way you call it the chip is going to kick some serious @$$, especially if Intel doesn't have any problems ramping up the clock speed. Also, Conroe is still several months away, so unlike AMD, Intel still has some time to tweak the chip for even more performance for its scheduled launch time (won't say date because there is none yet), so who is to say that the current performance claims are bogus. Even if they are now, which I seriously doubt, there just might be enough time for Intel to live up to the hype anyway. Reply
  • MrKaz - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    I'm not sure,
    but I think anandtech tested it at 533Mhz again, or
    the processor is locked at 533Mhz.

    Why did anandtech do the test only at 800Mhz?
    Why didn’t test 533Mhz and 667Mhz DDR2 modules?

    Because looking at those numbers:
    -DDR2 533 will achive less bandwidth than DDR400?
    -The latency of DDR2 is lower than DDR1?!?!
    -Is the processor already full, so doesn’t need more bandwidth, and only at (theorical) 4GHz and beyond will use it?
    Reply
  • defter - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    quote:

    The latency of DDR2 is lower than DDR1?!?!


    At higher speeds yes. Of course 3-4-3 @ 400MHz (DDR2-800) will offer lower latency than 2-2-2 @ 200MHz (DDR1-400).
    Reply
  • Calin - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    DDR2-800 at 4-4-4 should be equivalent to DDR-400 at 2-2-2. Also, DDR2-800 at 6-6-6 would be the same (latency-wise) as DDR-400 at 3-3-3. Reply
  • Furen - Monday, April 10, 2006 - link

    Not quite, DDR2-800 at 4-4-4 is the equivalent of DDR-400 at 4-4-4 because the memory cells run at 200MHz on both modules. Like I said above, though, module latency is not the only factor affecting the total latency, so perhaps DDR2 memory controllers help mitigate this huge latency hit. One of the main reasons why DRAM manufacturers love DDR2 is because their yields are much higher than they are on higher-clocked, aggresively-timed DDR1 due to the higher prefetch (lower operating clock) and the looser timings. Reply

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