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 - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    #43 is a bit 486 DX style with 20 stages of pipeline up his crápperhole.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Dude the Athlon64 is a 32bit processor?
    Hey everyone...the p4 is a 16bit cpu with 32bit extensions.

    Your an idiot #36. And this is coming from an Intel fanboy, so you really know your in the wrong.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Price is more important for AMD because they've had their successes mainly on the price/performance front. If they are truly trying to match Intel on price, that advantage is essentially gone and it'll be an even harder battle to gain marketshare.

    Oh and some of you fanboys mustve missed the PM forum. What the industry sees is completely different from what fanboys see.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Maybe if the intel & AMD both ran at the EXACT same clock it'd be fairer eh?

    I'd like to see more on the Opteron as I'm going to order 6 of them in November, thank the gods it's not my money.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    er... nm the above, I got it mixed up.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    FYI, in the LAME 3.93 MP3 encoding 32-bit vs 64-bit benchmark, you claim that 64-bit is 34% quicker when actually the graph shows it as 2/3.07*100 = 65% quicker.
  • dvinnen - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Haha, this thread makes me laugh.

    1) The only thing Intel has that can toach FX-51 is the XeonMP, errrr, P4:EE. This processor doesn't start shipping for 2 to 3 months. I can understand including it in the review, but there should be some sort of disclaimer stating that this is a sample and may or not be reflective of the final product. The EE's also will only be released to the OEMs, so expect to have to pay VooDoo or AlienWare there outragous prices if you want one.

    2) The Intel fanboys ADMITT defeat. They are already rationlizing it by saying wait for Prescott to come out. All prescott is is a p4 clocked to 3.4 ghz with "improved hyperthreading." "The 11 new intruction sets" won't make any difference for a year or so (kind of like 64 bit goodness that you are bashing). But I guess the added bonus that you can heat a small house with it is something that AMD can't provide.

    And I wish people would stop complaing about the price. All new processors cost this much when they are first released. They'll come down, but not to the price of XPs for a while to come. The mobo costs will also drop drastcaly (past nForce2 prices?) over the comeing months beause of no north bridge and only a 6 layer PCB.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    64bit with 32bit compatibility would be what Itanium does. AMD64 is still native x86 with the ability to use 64-bit registers, thats why it can still run 32-bit programs as fast/faster than current CPUs.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    #40 is a 64-bit moron.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link


    The Prescott is the next generation in the pentium family. It's not like it's a P4 with an increased multiplyer. AMD is in trouble when the Prescott comes rolling around.

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