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Review: AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 and Model 4000+ CPUs

by Tarinder Sandhu on 19 October 2004, 00:00


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We'll take a look at premier AMD Athlon 64 processors with the aid of a brief table.

CPU AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 AMD Athlon 64 4000+ AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 AMD Athlon 64 3800+ AMD Athlon 64 3700+
Clock speed 2.6GHz 2.4GHz 2.4GHz 2.4GHz 2.4GHz
L1 cache 128kb 128kb 128kb 128kb 128kb
L2 cache 1024kb 1024kb 1024kb 512kb 1024kb
Memory controllers 2 2 2 2 1
Memory bandwidth 6.4GB/s 6.4GB/s 6.4GB/s 6.4GB/s 3.2GB/s
Memory support DDR400 dual-channel DDR400 dual-channel DDR400 dual-channel DDR400 dual-channel DDR400 single-channel
FSB 2.6GHz (core speed) 2.4GHz (core speed) 2.4GHz (core speed) 2.4GHz (core speed) 2.4GHz (core speed)
Transistor count 105.9m 105.9m 105.9m 105.9m 70m
nm process 130nm 130nm 130nm 130nm 130nm
OS support 32/64-bit 32/64-bit 32/64-bit 32/64-bit 32/64-bit
Form factor Socket-939 Socket-939 Socket-939 Socket-939 Socket-754
Operating voltage ~1.5v ~1.5v ~1.5v ~1.5v ~1.5v
Thermal power 104W 89W 89W 89W 89W

A lot of similar numbers that need sifting through. AMD has designated the FX processor to be the performance standard bearer. If recent history is anything to go by, AMD and its partners will begin to phase out the present FX processor (FX-53) when the next iteration is launched. That process also makes implicit sense when we consider the remarkable similarity between Model 4000+ and current FX-53. Indeed, the only marked difference is in the '53's unlocked multiplier. Every other facet, it seems, is identical. Both new processors are based on the established 'Clawhammer' core, too.

The recent introduction of 90nm Winchester core-based Athlon 64s caused quite a stir in enthusiast circles. Initial web reports indicated prodigious overclocking potential, so much so that proven 130nm Athlon 64s were eschewed in favour of their immature counterparts. AMD's decision to stick with a 130nm manufacturing process for both the FX-55 and Model 4000+ is a safe play. The firm knows that 2.6GHz, the FX-55's clock speed, is within its 130nm manufacturing compass, but its 90nm is still in its infancy. I'd expect to see the next iteration of power Athlon 64 processors take the know-how obtained from Winchester production and apply it to the probable FX-57.

Today is also an exciting day for AMD in an indirect way. Intel has been attracting a lot of attention of late, due mainly to its forward-thinking Alderwood/Grantsdale chipsets that utilise, amongst other notables, new DDR2 memory and PCI-Express protocols. NVIDIA, purveyors of the nForce2/3 range of chipsets is today launching a PCI-Express-compatible chipset named, wait for it...., nForce4 in both S939 and S754 form factors. I'm skimming over it here, but Ryszard took a detailed look at it here. From what I can gather, NVIDIA's ploy of using PCIe and regular DDR1 seems to be a wise one.

Coming back to FX-55 for a moment, 2.6GHz of Athlon 64 power is a scary thought. Previous benchmarks have shown just how potent the Clawhammer core is, and that potentcy doesn't account for improvements in performance when (God, when?) all 64-bit operating systems finally hit the ground running. AMD performance predictions are further sweetened by the news that Intel's has removed the much-anticipated 4GHz Prescott from its roadmap, leaving only a 3.4GHz Extreme Edition to do battle with AMD's finest. That and the upcoming 1066MHz FSB 3.46GHz Hush Hush Edition.