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 - Thursday, September 25, 2003 - link

    The Athlon64 FX doesn't have a multiplier lock either, but we never saw any results from that. Also I don't think a chip overclocking well means it's designed for "higher clock speeds".
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 25, 2003 - link

    toms just revised their review, "Update Sept 24,2003: Unfortunately we have made a mistake in the original article: In addition to the official P4 EE 3.2GHz we had included benchmark scores of the P4 Extreme 3.4GHz and 3.6GHz. These values were planned for a future THG article and were not intended to be included here. We would like to apologize especially to those readers who misinterpreted our charts. The two bars of the P4 Extreme 3.4GHz and 3.6GHz have now been removed. However, this issue does not affect our conclusion as we have only compared the official P4 3.2GHz EE to all other test candidates in our original article. For your information: The press sample of the P4 Extreme provided by Intel does not have a multiplier lock and is already designed for higher clock speeds. "
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 25, 2003 - link

    I also question why toms have a review to overclock P4 3.2 EE to 3.6 to win every performance chart. Is it fair to AMD? I like Intel CPU but I also like fair review.
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 25, 2003 - link

    AMD needs to almost give this thing away so that it can sell well thus attracting a flood of 64 big developers. I think they should even do this to the detriment of their profit margins because if this doesnt sell well then all the software wont be developed. Its kinda like the chicken and the egg here and I think AMD should take a beating now in terms of $ to get this thing out and get 64 bit in the hands of the people. If everyone has it the software will follow.
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 25, 2003 - link

    Logic dictates that people whom use the term "fanboy" are mentally disturbed persons whom feel the need to categorize others into a certain group to make themselves feel better. On a side note though I think the Athlon64 3200+ is winner given its current availability, price, and performance. I’m just curious as to how far AMD hopes to scale the processor for the remainder of the year as though I already know there will be a 3400+ release in short time, I am wondering if there will be a 3600+ release in anticipation of Prescott. I’m also curious as to how quickly AMD will transition it to 90nm as I’m thinking one of the main reasons AMD hasn’t really made full effort in mass producing K8 processors are the manufacturing costs at 130nm. Either way it’s nice to see such a chip out, especially at the price it is being quoted for (though it seems some people are having fits that they can’t buy A64s for $100).
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 25, 2003 - link

    I think Intel is faring pretty well considering that AMD has reduced latency four fold with its integrated memory controller, incresed transistor performance by %30 with SOI, and doubled cache to 1MB. I think Intel will only close the gap with the upcomng Prescott but will pull ahead with LGA 775 Prescott and Grantsdale with PCI Express. Fanboys, save your speeches. Argue with logic.
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - link

    When is somebody going to come up with "folding" for people. We could use all the extra time people have on their hands debating what chip is better, to access their brain power to come up with cures for world hunger, A.I.D.S and introducing fanboys to fangirls. That being said, I appreciate all your opinions in helping me decide what chip to buy. Taking in to account the proccesing power I need for work and play, I have decided to buy an Xbox and a typewriter and forgo the 64 or P4EE.
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - link

    THIS FANBOY CRAP HAS TO STOP HOW NERDY CAN U BE??i am glad i am not so much into computers as most of u ;) if one of these companies go out of business u see the survivor amd or intel making poor performing cpu's sold for $$$$ with a "take it of leave it" attitude...QUIT THE FANBOY CRAP truth is these companies don't give a shite about you only that little friend in your pocket that holds ur money
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - link

    The PM people believe that since they see the current situation in that Intel pays everyone not to use AMD, and that makes them a niche market. It's not due to AMD being slower or more error prone. Let's face it, Intel is bigger and has more to deal with, but as I've said before, they also can waste millions, perhaps a billion or so on Itanium and it's going nowhere. Perhaps it will now, but it's pretty stupid to see why. Sure it doesn't suffer from x86 legacy code. But look at what it took to get there, redoing software, apps, hardware, and a huge 400mm die. The Alpha people look to turn it into something, but that's alpha that made it something, otherwise it sucks.

    It's pretty stupid to argue here that the P4 3.2 ghz is faster or the emergency (good one :) ) edition is, the Xenon or even Itanium architecture with the cpus sharing a FSB and memory via a hub or northbridge architecture sucks compared to the hyper transport architecture the Opteron uses, and no amount of clock speed or memory speed is going to change that.

    I wonder if Intel can now use it's own Itaniums instead of Alphas to run it's chip production line.
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - link

    #91, That would be an expected outcome when half the tests are media/encoding benchmarks which are optimized for HT/SSE2. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just a simple note.

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