Both AMD and Intel appear to be playing release date games with their latest dual core processors.

Intel's affordable dual core desktop solution, the new Pentium D, officially launched in the middle of last month, but has yet to be seen in the channel.

AMD appears to be joining in on Intel's game and is lifting their NDA on Athlon 64 X2 performance today, instead of waiting until June as they had originally planned. Note that the timing of today's article doesn't mean that there's any change in the Athlon 64 X2 release or shipping schedule. The CPUs still won't be available until Q3 or Q4 of this year, but AMD appears to want to get performance numbers out there as soon as possible; given the impressive performance that we had previewed in our first article, it's not much of a surprise from AMD.

In our first AMD dual core article, we simulated the performance of an Athlon 64 X2 4400+ using an Opteron x75 CPU. This time around, we have two chips from AMD, both officially Athlon 64 X2 processors, to give you a better feel for the actual dual core Socket-939 performance that you'll be seeing later this year.

We've already discussed the pricing and lineup of AMD's Athlon 64 X2 line, but as a quick refresher, here are the tables from our original review:

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 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz, a full 600MHz drop from their fastest single core CPU. 

Today, we'll be taking a look at two CPUs in particular: the top of the line Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and the entry-level Athlon 64 X2 4200+. Both are Socket-939 CPUs and will, when released, work in all Socket-939 motherboards with a BIOS update. For today's article, all tests were run on an ASUS nForce4 SLI motherboard with no changes other than a BIOS update to enable support for the Athlon 64 X2 processors. For the Intel CPUs, we used Intel's own 955X board.  All systems were configured with 1GB of memory and used the same Seagate 120GB PATA HDD and ATI Radeon X850 XT video card.  We used the latest Catalyst 5.4 drivers.  The AMD system used DDR400 with 2-2-2-5/1T timings, while the Intel system used DDR2-667 with 4-4-4-15 timings.

We've talked quite a bit about the impact of dual core on the desktop, but to keep things to the point, if you're interested in knowing a bit more, please take a look back at the following topics:
- The Intangible Dual Core
- Scheduling and Responsiveness
- Characterizing Dual Core Performance
- Dual Core System Impressions
The benchmarks used in this article (including the multitasking tests) are identical to those used in our first AMD dual core article.

Power Consumption: Athlon 64 vs. Athlon 64 X2
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  • FlakPanzer - Monday, June 20, 2005 - link

    This looks very promising, my next rig is definately going to have one of these fine AMD X2 processors. Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - link

    anand, thanks for the preliminary overclocking results. me and my DFI compadres are very eager to see how this chip overclocks and hope you add an overclocking page section as soon as you receive a production X2. Reply
  • gamara - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    Would be interesting to also see if DC had any affect on SLI performance. Not sure if the driver work of splitting the duties for 2 video cards would be streamlined with a second core on the processor.

    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - link

    #88 are you talking about the PD 3.0GHZ 356US or the PD 2.8GHZ 241US? The 3.2GHZ 530US is the worst price/performance DC in Intel's arsenal it cost more then twice as much as a single core and then some.

    Just like how the 4600+ and 4800+ are now costing more then twice the single core versions.

    I don't understand why people are going to assume the motherboard is expensive. Why must you have the flagship 955X motherboard?

    The lanuch pricing of the 955X is 50US, which is the same as the price of the 925X when it was launched.

    There is also the 945P chipset to consider which also supports Dual Core and is a less expensive alternative price at 38US which is only 1 dollar more then what the i915P chipset cost at launch.

    Since the chipsets base pricing match what the 925X and 915P were at launch we should logically assume that pricing of these chipsets will be similar to what i915 and i925 were at launch.

    Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - link

    Oh yeah baby 100th post... how often do you get that honor? even if you have to cehat to get it *cough* post 99 Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - link

    lalala ala al ala ala ala Reply
  • philthedrill - Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - link

    #97, are you being serious? Read my post on #81.

    Performance drops with HT when there are memory bandwidth intensive apps due to the shared data TLB. The shared FSB also hurts Intel, and it only gets worse as you scale up with more processors.

    Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - link

    Since the advent of HT on P4, AMD has been at a great disadvantage in multitasking scenarios and I thought dualcore would end that. Well, I guess P4 is just better at that. Really ironic, when AMD has touted K8 as being designed from ground up for DC and Intel just slapping two cores together - LOL.

    Nontheless AMD is still doing great with X2 chips, and I too can't wait to get one, since I think we all multitask non-stop, even if we don't realize it (AV, Antispyware, SETI, FAH, Word, IE, Firefox, Opera, Acrobat, ACDsee, Photoshop, Outlook, BT, eMule, ... and the we open a game on top of that). Just yesterday my A64 3200+ S754 / 1 GB RAM gave me real trouble with gazlion windows open, while writing my graduation paper. Had to restart the bastard, grrr.
    Reply
  • Son of a N00b - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    TY for including OC results...

    maybe a whole 'nother article on this?
    Reply
  • Quanticles - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    i think if ppl want AMD's prices to come down, then we should all pitch in and build a new fab for them Reply

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