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


View All Comments

  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    Hey Wes, I've got some minor nitpicking to do. The graphs look great, but there's no unit labels on them. I know what the labels should be, but when you're presenting data you should always be sure to include labels for everything on the plot. Otherwise, you run into the possibility of misrepresenting data. Please make sure that all the graphs on future previews/reviews have their units labeled and perhaps even "bigger is better/shorter is faster"-like comments. Just addressing a pet peeve of mine. Aside from that, great article! Thanks. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    This is not exactly related but for future motherboards/chipsets using this upcoming processor please use a RD2 PC Geiger ( that you may provide us with information about the PCI bus frequency - important for overclocking. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    #25. Ive tried both intel and AMD solutions for my personal machines at home. 10 times out of 10, AMd's have little quirks with them. the ride the bleeding edge.

    The company is losing money and cant continue to dump into R&D much longer, while INTEL's stock doubled in price in the last 4 months and is still rated a five star buy buy buy. Markets dont lie. The money is betting against AMD and in the fast moving techincal processor market where R&D is the most important aspect in the business model, AMD is losing. They just dont have the cash or assets to compete. The only thing they are good for is controlling The price Intel charges.
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    hey #25 amd cant even get a cpu to the 3 ghz range. They had to create a virtual 3200+. the reason is an athalon runnig at 3 ghz is a FIRE HAZARD. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    #24, that's funny! I didn't think that Intel fanboys still read AMD articles because in the end Intel is always better right?

    So why waste your time reading the article if you already know what is best? Do you feel threatened that you won't have the best CPU anymore?

    Go and cry to momy.

    Personally, I found this article very educational because I had my mind set on buying an Intel 2.4C CPU and overclocking to 1000 FSB with DDR 500 but now I'll wait a couple more weeks to see how the Athlon64 turns out and how overclockable it is.

    I'd also like to thank AnandTech for increasing the number of articles produced in the last week. If this continues then I'll become a regular visitor.
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    Face it. Intel makes the far superior Processor. That have the money to dump into R&D. This is a sign of the end for AMD. The farther they seperate themselves from the maintream, the more they lose.

    Who cares if they have some loyal geeks they worship them.

    The real money is made by INTEL in the (Say it with me) BUSINESS market.

    Their is a reason why dell wont touch an AMD

    Its called UNRELIABLE
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    "Apparantly" socket 940 uses Registered dimms only, the boards do have overclocking options and DO overclock quite well.
    If you wait till QTR1 2004 you will be able to find socket 939 boards that do everything the 940 boards do, but can do this with Unbuffered Dimms also.

    So if you want to upgrade but don't want to swap your standard PC3200 wait till early 2004 before you buy.
  • MS - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link


    Which settings are you using in the GunMetal Benchmarks? I cannot replicate your results there and I am wondering whether I am doing something wrong ..

  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    #20, 99% of gamers don't care about workstation benchmarks either :) Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, September 05, 2003 - link

    #19, no one runs Quake 3 in Linux. 99% of gamers use Windows, it would be a complete waste of time to do Linux Quake 3 benchmarks. Reply

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