The Lineup - Athlon 64 X2

As we mentioned earlier, the Athlon 64 X2 isn't going to be officially launched until June.  While AMD is purposefully vague in their discussion of availability, it looks like their plans are for system builders and OEMs to offer Athlon 64 X2 systems in Q3 of this year and for retail availability to be in Q4 of this year. 

For AMD, the Athlon 64 4000+ was the last single core Athlon 64 that they will make; all model numbers after 4000+ will be dual core Athlon 64 X2s.  Starting at 4200+ and going up to 4800+, the Athlon 64 X2 continues AMD's trend of basing model numbers on clock speeds and cache sizes.  You can see the breakdown below:

For starters, the Athlon 64 X2's clock speeds aren't that low compared to the current single-core Athlon 64s.  The top of the line Athlon 64 FX-55 runs at 2.6GHz, only 200MHz faster than the Athlon 64 X2 4800+.  This is in stark contrast to Intel's desktop dual core offerings, which run between 2.8 and 3.2GHz, a full 600MHz drop from their fastest single core CPU. 

The other major difference between AMD and Intel's dual core desktop approach is in pricing. Let's take a look at the cost per core of the Athlon 64 X2:

We see that AMD's desktop pricing is much more reasonable than their dual core Opteron pricing, but then again, also remember that their desktop CPUs won't be in volume until later this year.  The second core never costs more than the first one, which is honestly the only way you can ensure good desktop adoption rates. 

That being said, let's compare it to Intel's pricing:

Because Intel is only shipping lower clocked dual core CPUs, Intel's chip prices are much lower - not to mention that Intel's manufacturing abilities far exceed those of AMD.  Percentage-wise, the Pentium D 3.2 commands a high premium for that second core, but the prices are overall quite reasonable.  The fastest Pentium D is still cheaper than the slowest Athlon 64 X2 4200+, and the slowest Pentium D is ridiculously cheap compared to AMD's dual core offerings. 

AMD's answer to Intel's aggressive pricing is two-fold. Eventually, all of AMD's CPUs will be dual core, and thus, prices will be driven back down to single core levels. But for now, AMD feels confident enough that their single core CPUs are fast enough to compete with Intel's low clocked Pentium Ds.  We put that exact thinking to the test in Part II of our Intel dual core preview and concluded that it really depends on what type of a user you are. If you tend to multitask a lot or run a lot of multithreaded applications, then a slower Intel dual core is what you need; otherwise, a faster single core AMD is your best bet. 

The Lineup - Opteron x75 Dual Core Server Performance: AMD’s Opteron x75 Series
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  • Jep4444 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    I don't like how you use the Opteron to give a rough estimation on the A64 X2 as their are other architectural changes between Opteron and A64

    That aside maybe AMD could bring out X2s using 256KB of cache per core to get slightly lower price points and atleast compete with the 830(3ghz)
    I doubt it'll be too bandwidth limited given AMD is selling Semprons with only 128KB of L2 cache
    Reply
  • KillerBob - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    It is usual to see that Anandtech favors the AMD, looks at the artificial tests, and not the real-world tests, where Intel wins out (as usual).

    In other tests itis pointed out the the PEE can be overclocked past 4GHz, in which case it'll kick everything's ass.
    Reply
  • KillerBob - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • dannybin1742 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    drool, i want one Reply
  • Doormat - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Typo P13: Intel's "975x" at bottom of page.

    The high price of the dual core opterons kinda puts me off. I was hoping for 2x the price of the single core, instead of 3.5x (I'm looking at 246 vs 270s). It looks like I'll be going single core (or just holding off) instead of dual core (at least until the end of the year and AMD gets price competition from Intel on the server DC front).

    The 3.5x doesn't even make sense from the yield standpoint. If AMD's yeilds are 70% (wild talking-out-of-my-ass guess, no real factual grounding in picking that number), then their dual core yields will only be 49% (70% for the first core, 70% for the second core). So out of a batch of 1000 chips, instead of 700 you only get 490. Thats 210 chips you need to make up for. If opterons have a Avg selling price of $500, then the "adjusted" selling price would be around $715, an increase of 43%, not 250%. Granted, if AMD's yields are higher, the numbers look better (from our perspective - lower prices), but if their yields are less, it looks really bad (if their yield was only 50%, they'd only get 25% yield on dual core, and would have to double price).

    I guess AMD is just trying to squeeze every dime they can out of this... hopefully that extra money goes to pay for Fab36 and more capacity.
    Reply
  • cbuchach - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Wow....Very impressive offering from AMD. I think the quote that sums it up best for me is: "you no longer have to make a performance decision between great overall performance or great media encoding performance, AMD delivers both with the Athlon 64 X2."

    I was very impressed with Intel dual core chips, but now I know that my next system will go back to be AMD-based. Overall the dual core Athlon64 should be killer.

    As for cost, yes it is expensive, but the performance is really phenomenal. I am sure that it too will come down.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    All hail teh X2! Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    All I can say is.....WHOODOGGIE!!!! Reply
  • Brian23 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    ME WANTY!!! Reply
  • jamawass - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    quote: Despite AMD's lead in getting dual core server/workstation CPUs out to market, Intel has very little reason to worry from a market penetration standpoint. We've seen that even with a multi-year performance advantage, it is very tough for AMD to steal any significant business away from Intel, and we expect that the same will continue to be the case with the dual core Opteron. It's unfortunate for AMD that all of their hard work will amount to very little compared to what Intel is able to ship, but that has always been reality when it comes to the AMD/Intel competition."
    This statement should be qualified. The Rendering market is much more adventurous than the standard server market(didn't they use winxp-64 beta running on opterons to render SWIII?) and will continue to rapidly adopt opterons.There're tangible benefits (faster rendering, lower energy costs=$$$) in moving to opteron for rendering farms. Also more oems like supermicro and broadcom have embraced AMD which should result in much more rapid market penetration than 2 yrs ago.
    Reply

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