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

    #38, Huh how heck are we forgetting something NO ONE KNOWS? Has Intel ever really givin an absolute upper limit to the Prescott clocks throughout the year? Last time I heard Tejas would takeover after 4.2Ghz.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    LOL, you all who think that intel is the winner here, just continue to believe so, but don't tell anyone.

    If Prescott was so great we should have seen "leaked" benchmarks by now. I saw benchmarks of the Clawhammer more than a year ago.

    AMD can not outperform intel because they'll get problems with their supply. That's one of the main reasons AMD don't want to release a cpu that will beat all intel offerings. Imagine what will happen if everyone wants an AMD.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    #35, Dude just frigging be quiet as I seriously hope you aren't saying crap like that in public.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    You guys are forgetting Prescott is capable of 4.6 GHz, and it'll have the price advantage.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    So what's the difference between 32bit with 64bit extensions, and 64bit with 32bit compatible mode.

  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    #29, Didn't Intel reps at IDF make comments to the tune of a 3.2Ghz P4EE offering up better overall performance than a 3.2Ghz Prescott? How heck is Prescott going to change things when it's debutting at 3.4Ghz and going to be up against an FX51 and A64 3400+ (possibly even FX55)?!!?? What part of that shows Intel sailing through 2004 when Prescott is expected to max out at around 4Ghz and A64 hasn't even gone through a die shrink and is already performance competitive with it from the initial 130nm A64 releases??!?
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Athlon64 isnt running in 32bit compatibility mode. It's still a 32-bit processor with 64-bit extensions, not the other way around. Pure 64-bit processors will trounce it in 64-bit apps.

    Just keeping up with Intel isn't enough, they needed to take the performance crown without any doubt to really gain back marketshare, right now this is just good enough to tread water, especially considering their pricing. How the next year plays out will be interesting though.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link


    Wait till next year when the bugs of 64-bit drivers/software come onto your system. It will be Windows 95 all over again. AMD64 is an expensive disappointment.

  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    amiga owns you.
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    For everyone saying that the Athlon64 was NOT the so-called AMD Killer, I just have one question:

    How can you say a 64-bit processor running in 32-bit compatibility mode that keeps up with the best Intel processor, the P4EE, disappointing? Me, I'm waiting for some more 64-bit programs to judge the strength of the Athlon 64. The fact that the Athlon 64 can keep up and sometime pass Intel in 32 bits is awesome.

    BTW, I'm not an AMD fanboy. I have both AMD and Intel processors. But I find the Intel zealots are trying to discredit this processor by insisting on only looking at half the picture. Just my opinion.

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