When the Pentium 4 3.4GHz EE came out along with Prescott, Intel was able to take a few bragging rights away from AMD. Today, the answering shot from the other side is the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53. This launch isn't really bringing anything new to the table architecture-wise, but this is a processor with a large cache, high clock speed, and a 128bit memory interface (rather than the 64bits of the Athlon 64 series).

The FX-53 is an Opteron based processor running at 2.4GHz with 1MB of L2 cache. The FX-53 is only the second in the series of FX processors. The third (the FX-55) is due out near the end of the year.

Enthusiast or Just Expensive

This is really the biggest question that we need to answer. We already know that we are not going to recommend this part before the release of its socket 939 counterpart. We've spoken about the issue before, and our recent AMD CPU roadmap article shows the Athlon 64 FX-53 to be the very last Athlon 64 processor produced for socket 940. While this isn't exactly the end of the platform (Opteron CPUs will still be using socket 940), it will be the end of the desktop as a target market.

The upside is that moving to the new platform will allow us to find very fast RAM easily (since it will simply use current unbuffered DDR400 technology), and we should see improved performance from the same CPU.

So, since the Athlon 64 FX-53 processor won't change fundamentally between the two socket types, we should be able to get a very good idea of performance, and an idea of what this processor will actually be worth. The prices on these processors right now are very prohibitive, but before we go down that road, let's see exactly how the playing field looks.

The Test


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  • Guspaz - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    According to the test setup, they're using "ATI Catalyst 4.10"...

    That's 7 driver revisions in the future! There is no 4.10, the newest version is 4.3. Perhaps they mean 4.1, but nevertheless they're reporting an impossible driver revision.
  • msva123 - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    Anand, I think it is time to put your programming knowledge to use and begin work on an open source benchmark. The goals could include:

    1. Making the methodology of a benchmark open to the public, so that there is no question of integrity.

    2. Having a frequently updated database of benchmark scores, sorted by application, so that someone could enter in the applications they use most and have a benchmark chart custom generated for their typical usage.
  • athlon64boy - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    I love AMD, I am a big fan.

    But you know what irritates me. Is when these sites always benchmark the processors, they rarely close with the fact that AMD is a 64-bit capable processor. AMD can whip up on an Intel, even in todays 32 bit software. They fail to mention the 64 bit future.

    Someone would be dumb to go out and buy a Pentium 4. When the AThlon 64/FX line hasn't even shown its true potential .... yet.
  • Cybercat - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    GO AMD! :p So I'm a little biased, every hardware company has their fanboys. ;) Reply
  • CrystalBay - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    Drool...:)... Reply
  • truApostle - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    all your base are belong to us! Kudo's to AMD. It's about time that AMD start whooping ass on the evil~Intel camp. And although prices are high the AMD chip is still cheaper. And who even cares about price at this point. I think the purpose is to see who is extracting the most performance from their silicon. I mean shaZb0t, gimme a break already.

  • Regs - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    Man, when the only difference between a 3.4 EE and a 3.2EE is 3 tenths of a frame a second, you know these architectures and instruction sets reached their limit.

    Definitely just a bragging rights CPU. This is turning into a pissing contest.
  • dweigert - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    Ok, The Athlon FX brand is going Socket 939... But any Socket 940 board will be able to hold an Opteron 1XX processor with no problem. And guess what? These are NOT going away anytime soon. I think you do a disservice to people who chose the benefits of the platform. Reply
  • mcveigh - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    So, with a thousand dollar processor budget, what is the best chioce? Honestly, the best choice is to wait. It may seem like that's what we've said at the end of every single CPU or graphics review for the past few months, but the giant caution sign will soon be taken down


    whats around the corner?????????????????????
  • WooDaddy - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link


    Speeling errurs are awl ovur the plase!


    It was so annoying that I almost didn't pay attention to the results (I like the pretty pictures). You have AT LEAST one spelling error per page! If this were a newpaper, it would even get close to being published. Show us some AT pride in your articles and fix it! I know you can do better.

    Try it again....


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