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
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  • Ender17 - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Anand, have you tried overclocking these X2 chips? Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Very poor (pre)review IMO. Not nearly enough multi-tasking tests, and NO overclocking tests for some strange reason. And what about power consumption tests? Observations on heat output?

    And I agree with #18, the Q3 or Q4 statement with no explanation is odd and getting annoying.

    Hothardware and Thetechreport have much better preview articles.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    dougSF30

    AMD is playing a bit of a word game with regards to availability. When they say available in June, they mean that through select system system builders the Athlon 64 X2 will be available in June. Across the board availability (as in you'll actually be able to buy an Athlon 64 X2 CPU alone) will be Q3/Q4 - that is directly from AMD to my inbox. It's just that availability in June sounds a lot better, much like Intel saying that availability in May sounds good - both companies appear to be playing the same word game ;)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Ahkorishaan - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    NIce review Anand, I've more or less chosen the 4400+ X2 as my next processor from my XP 2100+. She's getting venerable now, pushing 3 years old now. Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    I just creamed my pants. Who the F*ck wants an 820 Pentium D with you can have a freaking "X2" F*ck yeah! thats Xtreme muther F*cker!

    Its like that "America F*ck Yeah!" song from America World Police.......

    "Wal-Mart, F*ck yeah! Taco Bell, F*ck yeah! X2, F*ck yeah! Pentium D..............(Distant) fuck yeah?"

    wow this is the most F*cks I've seen in a single Anand post, or thread for that matter.

    F*ck it. I'm all for setting records :)
    Reply
  • Da3dalus - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    When the time comes, an X2 shall be a nice upgrade from my current s754 3200+ :) Reply
  • dougSF30 - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    What's with the opening bias?

    (1) AMD, unlike Intel and the 840EE, does not claim to have launched the X2. Providing a performance preview != paper launch.

    (2) AMD states in writing that the X2 will be available in June. Not "Q3 or Q4". This is the second time Anandtech has made these "late this year" comments which contradict AMD's official stated position, with no explanation.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Thanks Anand:)

    DrMrLordX, if you really think it's poorly priced consider this. the lowest end San Deigo, aka the "value" line in that series, a 2.2 is $350. Adding another core is only 50% more money inside 4400.

    Don't even start looking at dual opteron 248's which cost $1000 just for processors, not to mention expensive ECC and mobos pluys it's slower.

    I see real value in the 4400 and I'm a huge proponet of $70 wonderchips like XP mobiles.

    This is a workstation chip with a cheaper than workstation price.
    Reply
  • Ender17 - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Great article BTW. AT is my fav review site. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Zebo

    2-2-2-5/1T

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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