THE TOPICS of Athlon 64 performance, launch positioning, and scaling have been hotly debated lately, with little help coming from Sunnyvale itself. Rumors of multiple processor sockets, AthlonXP potentially being transported to the Socket 754 platform, and repeated 64-bit Elvis sightings have all confused and interested the hardware community of late. At this point, it appears that AMD's plan is to introduce two Athlon 64 processors in late September — a consumer-level, Socket 754 pin version (debuting at 2 GHz, or 3200+) and a high-end, 940-pin version called Athlon FX-51, which will essentially be a re-badged Opteron. This Opteron look-alike will only be available in limited quantities through the end of the year, will run at 2.2 GHz, and, intriguingly, appears to not have a model rating or a formal GHz number attached to it at all. The major difference between the two processors is their memory controllers—Socket 754 processors use a single-channel DDR design, which 940-pin processors use a dual-channel, 128-bit system. Neither CPU will be dual-capable, despite earlier reports to the contrary. The 940-pin CPU, like Opteron, will require registered DDR, though its not yet clear if this is a board function (and thus may change) or a CPU requirement.
Performance on the 3200+ Athlon 64 and how it will compare to the AthlonXP and P4 3.2 GHz is still anyone's guess, but from what we've seen the 940-pin Athlon 64 is going to give the P4 one hell of a hard time, even blowing it out of the water on several tests that were formerly P4 stalwarts. Of course, nothing is official until launch date, but from the looks of things Intel does indeed have something to worry about come next month—and this is in 32-bit code, not 64.
View: The full story
News source: The Inq