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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  • cHodAXUK - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Anand, Jason and Ross.. hell of a job guys, you have out done yourselves. As for the X2 4400+ preview results, holy shit is all I can say, better than I expected and those scores are WITHOUT the aid of an NCQ enabled drive. The cost is high, very high infact but the X2 just scales so much better than the equivelent Intel. All I want to see now is an X2 4400+ with the FSB overclocked to DDR500 speeds, I am really interested to see how much that extra 1gb/s+ of bandwidth helps a dual core setup. Perhaps that is something you can look into for us please Anand and Co? T.I.A. ;) Reply
  • Darth Farter - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link
    Current Intel Price List(3)

    Price in
    1,000 unit
    Performance Processors quantities

    64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP 3.33 GHz with 8 MB L3 cache $3692
    64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP 3.00 GHz with 8 MB L3 cache $1980
    64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP 2.83 GHz with 4 MB L3 cache $1177

    Value Processors

    64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP 3.66 GHz with 1 MB L2 cache $963
    64-bit Intel Xeon processor MP 3.16 GHz with 1 MB L2 cache $722

    Intel's not too shabby with pricing either... ;)

    btw Dual OPTERON vs 4way(?) XEON @ techreport
  • Groovester - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    65- Recommend you reread "A Look at AMD's Dual Core Architecture" page. The fact that AMD's Athlon64 and X2 memory controllers are on-die gives it a leg up on Intel's Pentium D's. On the X2, the communication between the two cores doesn't have to traverse the external FSB. Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    WHOODOGGIE!!! Reply
  • Quanticles - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    68 - he did the best he could, but the point is the same... lol. we're going to see some pretty amazing preformance from the real thing Reply
  • Son of a N00b - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    hit me up with one of these, four vid cards, some headphones and a 24' screen for hours of gaming bliss....w00t!

    anyway i can actually see also a game suddenly coming out written for dual core, with the developers pulling something outta their collective a$$'s....

    I'll wait for these to get a bit more refined though and the pwnage is clear that a dual core offers total uberness...

    good article anand...almost to complete lol...i actually have to save some time in my day to read em....gj!
  • fishbits - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    From the article: "Although the use of ECC memory and a workstation motherboard would inevitably mean that performance will be slower than what will be when the real Athlon 64 X2s launch, its close enough to get a good idea of the competitiveness of the Athlon 64 X2."

    Anand didn't "cripple" or "misrepresent" anything. He got as close as he could with the materials available to him, and made it clear that some liberties/extrapolation would be required.

    However, it does look promising that the X2 will perform even better than projected today. Just as Anand said up front.
  • KillerBob - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    You are right Griswold, and it was in these tests the Intel won the race;) Reply
  • Zebo - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Expect at least 15% more performance when real X2 is released.

    Anand crippled/misrepresented it by running a 175 in his tests... Which has ECC memory, 2T, and my guess is 3-3-3 (most all ECC ram is 3-3-3 since he does'nt say I must go with the odds).

    Talk about hamstringing a A64. Anands own tests show just how crippleing 2T is for A64 upwards of 10% alone less performance. I've shown 3-3-3 vs 2-2-2 to be signifigant in my mem matrix tread about 5% since A64's love low latency. ECC knocks out about 3-5% more performance due to extra wait state. Would the "real" X2 debuting at 18% faster be unfair?? I don't think so when paired with desktop memory.

    It's going to get REAL ugly on the desktop for Team Blue no matter how you slice the numbers when a real live X2 comes with un-buffered mem, LL and 1T since Intel already loses to a unadventurous server chip right now.
  • Fricardo - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    64 - I'd like to know the same. I definitely won't buy a processor for more than 250, no matter what the performance is. I'm sure they'll drop eventually, but I wonder if that'll happen before 939 is completely obsolete and I have to buy an M2 mobo anyways...

    Also, something I've been wondering: if dual core does have such an impressive effect on desktop performance and future programs will be multithreaded to take advantage of dual core, how come nobody ever talks about making multi-socket desktop boards? A dual-939 setup with a couple of $120 OC'd Winnie's would be just as fast as the X-2 and a heck of a lot cheaper. Or you could slap a couple of X-2's in there when they actually come out and have sick performance.

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