Both AMD and Intel appear to be playing release date games with their latest dual core processors.

Intel's affordable dual core desktop solution, the new Pentium D, officially launched in the middle of last month, but has yet to be seen in the channel.

AMD appears to be joining in on Intel's game and is lifting their NDA on Athlon 64 X2 performance today, instead of waiting until June as they had originally planned. Note that the timing of today's article doesn't mean that there's any change in the Athlon 64 X2 release or shipping schedule. The CPUs still won't be available until Q3 or Q4 of this year, but AMD appears to want to get performance numbers out there as soon as possible; given the impressive performance that we had previewed in our first article, it's not much of a surprise from AMD.

In our first AMD dual core article, we simulated the performance of an Athlon 64 X2 4400+ using an Opteron x75 CPU. This time around, we have two chips from AMD, both officially Athlon 64 X2 processors, to give you a better feel for the actual dual core Socket-939 performance that you'll be seeing later this year.

We've already discussed the pricing and lineup of AMD's Athlon 64 X2 line, but as a quick refresher, here are the tables from our original review:

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 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz, a full 600MHz drop from their fastest single core CPU. 

Today, we'll be taking a look at two CPUs in particular: the top of the line Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and the entry-level Athlon 64 X2 4200+. Both are Socket-939 CPUs and will, when released, work in all Socket-939 motherboards with a BIOS update. For today's article, all tests were run on an ASUS nForce4 SLI motherboard with no changes other than a BIOS update to enable support for the Athlon 64 X2 processors. For the Intel CPUs, we used Intel's own 955X board.  All systems were configured with 1GB of memory and used the same Seagate 120GB PATA HDD and ATI Radeon X850 XT video card.  We used the latest Catalyst 5.4 drivers.  The AMD system used DDR400 with 2-2-2-5/1T timings, while the Intel system used DDR2-667 with 4-4-4-15 timings.

We've talked quite a bit about the impact of dual core on the desktop, but to keep things to the point, if you're interested in knowing a bit more, please take a look back at the following topics:
- The Intangible Dual Core
- Scheduling and Responsiveness
- Characterizing Dual Core Performance
- Dual Core System Impressions
The benchmarks used in this article (including the multitasking tests) are identical to those used in our first AMD dual core article.

Power Consumption: Athlon 64 vs. Athlon 64 X2


View All Comments

  • xsilver - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    #33 ..agreed..
    If anything I think AT is more biased towards AMD, not intel

    and #32, there is a well known fact that in scientific testing, if you already have a bias towards one outcome (read: amd fanboi) then your results will subconciously show what you set out to say.... that's why in real scientific tests, also known as a "double blind" test, the testers dont know what they are testing and the subejects dont know what they are using this case the subjects are the cpu's so they cant talk :P
  • wien - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    #32 Wow... just. wow. Reply
  • crisagatie - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    This is another Inteltech bullshit. After X2 beating Intel hands down in all tests and benchmarks, these guys put up a bag of their own tests (multitasking scenarios) toped by Intel in every single one. Then they say the results are "a mixed bag", with Intel and AMD performing equally...

    You, Anandtech guys, read the reviews all over the Internet! And try believing: Intel sucks! X2 is by far the best performer (even X2 4200+), being at the same time a cheaper option to Intel D 840 and EE.
  • Viditor - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    As to availability, I note from the Dell site that the EE 840 isn't available till June 15th either...

    For applications, I noted in Tech Report's review that they did some very good graphs illustrating results on a thread-basis, and they included the dual Xeon 3.4GHz. It appears that for rendering workstations, the 4800+ blows the doors off of the dual Xeon, at a fraction of the price...
    This just caused me to contact a friend who put a big hold on 12 new workstations he was ordering!
  • Samus - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Anand, did you happen to do any overclocking with the X2? If so, were the results simular to typical single-core 90nm?

    I'm sure there is some headroom and 2.6GHz can be achieved with the X2, which would make it untouchable if it scales accordingly.
  • Zebo - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    #20 dude uncool. there is kids here besides I could'nt fiqure out your point anyway? Did you hate it or love it? Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    #27 your dead wrong.....

    I"m a f*cking idiot :)
  • RadeonGuy - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    #20 your a idiot Reply
  • DeftNinja - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    ^ Probably because you are a cunt. Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Scratch my comments about no power consumption tests. How did I miss them? *scratches head* ????? Reply

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