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Athlon64 Motherboards And Chips Compared

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the just-us-oranges dept.

AMD 205

An anonymous reader writes "Just noticed that OverclockersClub has a new article (free, no reg, blah blah blah) that describes the AMD64 processors. The article talks about the differences in each processor and compares them as well as puts everything in a nice easy to read chart. Pretty nice article if you aren't familiar with all the new tech." Makes a good match for Johnny-boy's submission. He writes "HardwareZone has a 46 page article out that compares many of the Athlon64 motherboards out on the market now. If you are planning to get that Socket-754 motherboard, maybe this article is worth a look."

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Don't get socket 754 (5, Interesting)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086225)

Now really isn't the time to get an Athlon.

The 939 pin athlons are just around the corner, which is the migration path of most of the athlon sets.

754 series sets will still only have a single channel 128 bit pathway. It's not worth it.

Wait until the 939 pin, and get dual channel memory transfer in a non-FX Athlon64. Even if you're only getting half the cache (1 meg vs 512kb) on the 939 pin versions, chances are you will be able to overclock it more because it's a smaller die space.

46 pages... I wanted a motherboard review, not a dissertation :)

Re:Don't get socket 754 (5, Insightful)

lakeland (218447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086235)

And lemme guess, just around the corner from 939 pin athlons is ...

C'mon, we all know that the week we buy the latest gizmo it will be obsolete.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086350)

Ever notice exactly how many companies have been losing several million dollars a year and proclaiming that they will be profitable soon.. and these same companies proclaim the same announcement year after year.. and yet are just marginally unprofitable? And then did you notice that these companies are using the excuse of unprofitability to ship YOUR jobs offshore? And then did you try to ADD the salaries of the corporate leaders (including the CEO) to the company's revenue and realize that these very same companies could have been profitable SEVERAL YEARS AGO if the corporate leaders weren't being paid millions upon millions of dollars a year? Next time you read a press release about a company on the verge of profitability, do the math and you might very well be surprised how many companies fit the situation I just described! I can count a handful of well-known tech companies that are exact matches.


Now, I'm not pro-egalitarian and against capitalism, but I don't think any one person could ever be worth 100,000 times the average worker pay, especially when the company they control is losing money and shipping talent overseas. How these corporate leaders sleep at night without the urge to commit suicide is beyond me. I recommend that you to boycott these companies, both in your investments and patronage, as these companies are sucking the long-term vitality out of the economy to make one or two white men rich. Pathetic.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086420)

> How these corporate leaders sleep at night without the urge to commit suicide is beyond me.

See 6 zeros after my bank balance would be a pretty effective suicide deterrent for me. ;-)


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086553)

Actually, it would be homicide bait - please kill me if I ever put millions of dollars into a bank account.

In that case, you are very lucky because: (1)

Phekko (619272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086769)

I have been requested by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company to contact you for assistance in resolving a matter... ;)


Vihai (668734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086886)

Actually, putting 6 zeroes after my negative bank account would be anything except a deterrent for suicide :)

Re:Don't get socket 754 (2, Informative)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086524)

The difference is that, because my computer uses all the same standards as bleeding-edge 32-bit equipment, I can upgrade all the parts and make it un-obsolete. With Athlon64s, however, it's much less clear that you'll be able to do that. That's all we're saying. Even moreso than when buying a regular computer, be aware that your Athlon64-based one may become difficult, expensive, or simply impossible to upgrade. And it may happen very soon after you buy it.

If you're willing to live with the increased risk, fine, go for it. If I felt any need to upgrade my computer, I'd probably fall into the group that's willing to risk true obsolescence. But a lot of people want as much security as possible, and those people should probably stay in the Land of 32-bit Words.

Re:Don't get socket 754 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086899)

> be aware that your Athlon64-based one may become difficult, expensive, or simply
> impossible to upgrade. And it may happen very soon after you buy it.
> If you're willing to live with the increased risk, fine, go for it.

I seem to be able to make each PC I build last 4 or 5 years, so I don't care what happens after I build it. Why upgrade when even a year later the same powered CPU or Motherboard is available for less than half price and "better" ones are available for the same price?

Re:Don't get socket 754 (3, Insightful)

eyempack (239017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086243)

Unfortunately it never seems the "right time" to buy any chip. You buy a specific chip then they change the die size and you have a coffee heating device as a chip, or they update the core, or they bump up the speeds. It all comes down to if it's mission critical at this point and if you need a machine right now. And as far as bang for your buck, depending on the applications you are running AMD still keeps the lead...well sometimes

Re:Don't get socket 754 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086301)

Unfortunately it never seems the "right time" to buy any chip.

Now is a great time to buy the Athlon 2000 XP (plus or minus a few hundred mghz depending on needs) as they are great performers for the price, and at roughly $50 for the cpu you cant go wrong.

Re:Don't get socket 754 (4, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086262)

Humm I suppose I can't break off a pin to make my 940 Athon a 939 now can I? :)

Feeling lucky? (2, Funny)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086832)

Which one?

Re:Don't get socket 754 (4, Funny)

vollmerk (740066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086270)

Everything always gets outdated... I'm still holding out on getting a car. I figure I'll wait for one of those quantum teleporters...

Re:Don't get socket 754 (4, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086328)

I used to worry about sockets and the future.

Then I noticed that I never swap CPUs out anyway. Motherboards are cheap enough, I swap an entire motherboard with its CPU. In fact, usually I swap out entire computers.

Since we use all our computers, I usually build a complete new computer, get it working, swap it for the older one, and keep the older one handy for a while as a hot spare in case something goes wrong with the new one. Then later I find a good home for the older computer.

(Now that I'm buying Lian Li aluminum cases, I'll probably start swapping motherboards into cheaper steel cases, and putting new motherboards into the Lian Li case.)

But anyway, I might get a socket 754 motherboard and chip. It will outperform any computer I currently own, and it should have adequate horsepower to play Half-Life 2 and Doom 3.


Re:Don't get socket 754 (3, Insightful)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086801)

Have you never built a computer for someone, and put some of your known-good components into the machine, whilst upgrading at the same time?

I find this to be the single most efficient way to keep on top of technological evolution.
Someone wants a PC from me, they get a KT400 and AthlonXP, I get an Athlon64 and mobo to replace it. RAM, video and HDDs stay here until I need faster parts, or in the case of HDDs, they get dumped for being too small.

Re:Don't get socket 754 (1)

Fat Jedi Kid (745321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086346)

You youngin's with your pins and zif sockets back in my day we had to solder the chips onto breadboards. Using the heat from friction coming off of our fathers leather hitting our hands.

Re:Don't get socket 754 (4, Informative)

Sivar (316343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086375)

Socket 745 Athlons have a single 64-bit memory bus, not a 128-bit memory bus. (probably just a typo)

In any case, it is important to remember: Athlons are not Pentium IVs. Athlons do not have the performance hit that P4s have with lower bandwidth. Currently, very few applications care whether you have single or dual channel memory--the performance difference is in the low single digits. After Athlon64s significantly ramp up in clock speed, we wil begin to see a greater advantage of having more bandwidth, but not before.

Also, I wanted to note that currect 512K Athlon64s DO NOT have a smaller die space. They are more or less 1MB chips with half the cache disabled. Future revisions will actually cut out the cache, but for the time being AMD needed to market a cheaper Athlon64, and didn't have the time or money to modify manufacturing equipment to manufacture a third completely different die. That said, die space doesn't directly have anything to do with how overclockable a chip is.

Re:Don't get socket 754 (1)

JBv (25001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086734)

I only buy hardware when I *really* need it. If I can wait for the next generation of components, then I really don't need an upgrade.

When I find that my CPU is underpowerd for my usage, I buy a new CPU, motherboard and memory and re-use as much of the older PC components as possible.

My 900Mhz Duron is doing q3a and ET just fine with it's 512 of PC133 and 3 hard drives (3+2+15 Gb) in lvm. The 3+2 Gb drive was recently replaced by an 80Gb drive (no lvm), because I *needed* the extra space for my data and I was no loger trusting the older drives.

HA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086226)


First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086228)

Frist Psot!

YOU ARE TEH MASSIVE FAIL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086240)

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No, asshole, you fail it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086251)

goatse.cx doesn't exist anymore. assclown.

Comparison to a G5? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086239)

Gotta make G5 buyers stop and think hey?


Re:Comparison to a G5? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086250)

Umm no.

G5 has OS X.

AMD64 has no real good OS choice. Unless you need it for scientific programming and data processing stick with 32 bit architecture or your G5.

Re:Comparison to a G5? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086269)

thats a bit unfair... windows 2000/xp are great and linux is pretty cool nowadays also... (writing this on MacOS 10.3 tho)

i have a winxp box at work and my mac at home both kick arse

my 2 cents

Re:Comparison to a G5? (2, Informative)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086279)

OS X is 32-bit. Nice try.

Re:Comparison to a G5? (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086537)

So the G5 has a 32 bit OS, which is obviously far better than the Athlon 64 having a 32 bit OS ;)

Not to mention that an Athlon 64, even in 32 bit mode, runs circles around a G5. But wait, at some point in the undefined future, there'll be some miracle IBM compiler and 64 bit OS for the G5, which makes it all faster. Just y'all wait and see. Unlike the Athlon 64, which, uh, is also waiting for a 64 bit compiler and OS to make it all faster.

Sometimes the logic of Mac fans is a bit too strange for me to follow.

Here's another idea: if a Mac is all you need, good for you. By all means, stick to your Mac. I'm genuinely glad that you found your dream computer.

But for some of us a Mac just doesn't fit the needs. E.g.,:

- Games. Yes, I know that you can buy a whole 20 games for the Mac, some of them almost 10 years old (e.g., Fallout), and some of them Solitaire clones that you can download for free in the Windows world. But some of us, you know, need more games than that.

- Price. Yes, the dual G5 is a nice computer, but the price I've paid to build my Athlon 64 3200+ computer, including a shiny new ATI Radeon 9800 _XT_, was a _third_ of that. Or half the price of a single processor 1600 MHz G5 with 9800 _Pro_. On account of keeping my old case, hard drives, RAM, PSU, etc.

And if I'm to add the price of buying all my old software again for a "switch", the price comparison is getting even more disastrous for the Mac.

So basically all I'm saying is: the right tool for the right job. For some of us the Mac is just _not_ the right tool. Our choice is simply "Pentium 4 or Athlon 64".

Re:Comparison to a G5? (3, Insightful)

Cesare Ferrari (667973) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086691)

Athlon 64 runs rings around a G5? Really? Have you got both to demonstrate this, or is this from reading reviews on the web?

I write DSP code, and i've got some very impressive results from a G5 when running code which previously gave less than exciting results on a G4. The G5 really is a class act.

I've not tested the code on an Athlon 64, but only on an Athlon XP 2500. DSP code tends to be FPU or memory bound, sometimes both in different parts of the algorithm so it is pretty good at giving a machine a proper workout.

My XP 2500 is running roughly at 2Ghz, and compared to a G5 at 2Ghz the Athlon takes around 50 to 100% longer to run the same tests. That's comparing a G5/gcc 3.3 build against a x86/VC7 build. Neither is the best compiler for the platform, but both are pretty useful, and possibly typical for currently released software.

I'd be very interested in running this build on an Athlon 64 - that'll still be a 32 bit test, but it would be interesting for me to see the benefits of the on chip memory interface. Rebuilding for 64 bits might take a while since the code is large (and ugly). Anyone with a spare 5 minutes willing to run a binary for me?

Re:Comparison to a G5? (2, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086713)

Except that the Athlon XP-2500 isn't an Athlon64. It's a budget chip - it's around 65GBP here in the UK (probably $65 in the US, grumble grumble). I don't think you'd get very much of a G5 for that.
Just because they run at the same frequency doesn't mean you can compare their performance.

Re:Comparison to a G5? (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086725)

Which was pretty much what you were trying to say. Just ignore me, I'll go back to dozing while I wait for the IT department to install my bloody software.

Re:Comparison to a G5? (1)

Cesare Ferrari (667973) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086753)

Ok :-) Still looking for an Athlon 64 to try. None of my friends have (yet) taken the plunge.

Re:Comparison to a G5? (1)

Cesare Ferrari (667973) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086748)

I'm quite aware that the XP isn't an Athlon 64. I'm also quite aware of the prices of processors (and how much I paid for them when they were released). I'm not entirely sure how the price of a processor affects it's performance though - maybe you can help me out with that one.

Also, I can compare the performance of processors at the same frequency. I can even compare the performance of processors at completely different frequencies as well. That's what i'm doing. It's called benchmarking.

My question remains, anyone willing to run a test harness on an Athlon 64 for me? I'd be interested to see how my code runs on it.

Re:Comparison to a G5? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086950)

Add some 20 percent for clock speed, 15 for better L1/L2/memory bandwidth and then some 10 if you're using vector instructions. 10 more for not being register starved if you happen to have 64-bit OS.

They'll stop and think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086253)

...just long enough to come up with some fantastic 'benchmarks' that demonstrate the awesome power of the G5 ;)

Re:Comparison to a G5? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086299)

/me exposes anus to troll and "winks" back at him

GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086245)


Well..... (5, Interesting)

agent dero (680753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086249)

I was actually looking into Athlon 64's today; and i'm not seeing the price benefit compared to a PowerMac G5.

Right now, there's no GREAT 64 bit OS out there (linux, forget XP 64bit) I think we should treat Athlon64 like MacOS 10.0 (sorry, i'm a mac guy) for early adopters only

Give it another 6 months, then it'll be a great server/workstation solution

Re:Well..... (3, Insightful)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086324)

Well, Athlon64 does give you kick-ass performance. And it does so even if you run it in 32bit-mode. How is that different from G5? MacOS X is a 32bit OS as well. If you want to straight comparison of G5 on MacOS X (64bit CPU on 32bit OS), comparison to A64 on 32bit Linux of Windows would be suitable. Of course, you can run 100% 64bit system in Linux for example.

Re:Well..... (4, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086343)

And I was actually looking into buying some oranges today, but I'm not seeing the price benefit compared to applesauce.

Or, to put it less obliquely, that's a strange comparison. A PowerMac G5 is for someone who wants a Mac. An Athlon64 motherboard is for... well, not someone who wants a mac.

Hope this helps.

P.S. The Athlon64 actually offers great price/performance in plain old 32-bit mode. It gets even better in 64-bit mode, but there's no reason to wait for ready availability of 64-bit software. Just as there's no reason to hold off on buying a G5 for a fully 64-bit MacOS.


Re:Well..... (4, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086548)

I'll give you a price benefit all right. I've built an Athlon 64 system, with a Radeon 9800 XT and 512 MB DDR400 RAM. I did keep most of my old computer components, like hard drives, DVD drive, etc.

It was less than _half_ the price of an 1600 MHz G5 Mac with a Radeon 9800 Pro (i.e. previous generation), 512 DDR 333 RAM (yep, slower), a smaller hard drive, etc.

Even after changing the Mac's DVD writer to a DVD/CDR drive, it still stayed more than twice as expensive, and offering far less horse power. Go figure.

And if I'm to factor in the cost of buying all my software again, if I were to "switch"... well, you get the idea.

So there you go. Maybe you can't see it, but half the cost for _more_ power, sure looks like enough of a price advantage to me.

Re:Well..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086735)

Ahhh.. so now your earlier post [slashdot.org] to this story makes sense!

Penis envy. You have a crappy cheap-ass homebrewed computer instead of a nice shiny G5.. never mind, someday you'll be able to afford one instead of making do.

Re:Well..... (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086804)

This "crappy cheap-ass homebrewed computer" can run more than an order of magnitude more games than that "shiny G5". So no, thanks. I don't need, nor want a G5.

But, hey... I know that some finer points, like "a computer is only useful if it runs the software _I_ want to run", are lost on most Mac fans.

Re:Well..... (1)

markus_baertschi (259069) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086707)

While there is no production quality 64bit OS for the AMD 64 ready today, there is a whole bunch coming up.

In three years, when it's time againt to buy something new, I prefer to have an AMD 64 as my second computer than a Pentium. The AMD 64 will allow me to run leading-edge stuff, while the Pentium will not. If, for whatever reason, the 64bit stuff is not important, it will make a fine 32bit machine also.

The AMD 64 CPU's give me a 64bit option today I don't have with any Pentium. The interesting part is that this option comes with no price or performance penalty, quite to the contrary, price/performance tends to be better in the AMD camp.


Re:Well..... (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086932)

Give it another 6 months, then it'll be a great server/workstation solution

Not if enough early adopters don't adopt RIGHT NOW. If you warn everyone off buying the technology today, who'll be your early adopters? Somebody's got to show up to prove there's a market, otherwise AMD64 will be just like Itanium or Alpha -- a good idea that never really caught on. Obviously, it's going to get better over time as the technology matures. And maybe the smart thing for some people is to wait for that maturity. But AMD needs customers today, and if you want to be able to be their customer today, SOME people are going to need to support them now.

Re:Well..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086981)

Right now, there's no GREAT 64 bit OS out there (linux, forget XP 64bit) I think we should treat Athlon64 like MacOS 10.0 (sorry, i'm a mac guy) for early adopters only

Well, the exact same 64 bit processor will be great as soon as the shiny 64 bit OS comes out. MacOS 10.0... you'd had to have gotten a different one, ne?

Mind you, it's a lot harder to patch a processor, but I think my point is still valid.

Sometimes I wish I were stupid... (2, Insightful)

jeeves99 (187755) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086254)

... then I'd have an excuse not to spend an hour reading this 46 page beast.

Am I the only one who is a little perplexed at the complexity of the AMD cpu roadmap? The constant barrage of codenames and pin settings is really becoming trying. A more solidified upgrade path with a set numbers of goals would be much appreciated.

Re:Sometimes I wish I were stupid... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086317)

Am I the only one who is a little perplexed at the complexity of the AMD cpu roadmap?

Yes, it is just you.. You are an idiot who needs to go back to school and learn your shit right next time.

Re:Sometimes I wish I were stupid... (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086362)

AMD's roadmap is simple: faster processors as soon as possible.

All you have to do is worry about how much computational power you want and how much money you want to spend on a CPU and motherboard.

Let's face it, if you hope to see an appreciable speed bump when you upgrade, buying a first-generation chip and plugging it into a first-generation motherboard with the expectation that you'll get that big speed bump when you plug in a second- or third-generation chip a couple of year's down the line is the wrong way to go about it. Yes, the new CPU will have a faster clock speed but the rest of the motherboard will be two years out of date.

Take my AMD Athlon motherboard as an example. When I bought it a couple of years back, together with an 1200MHz CPU (then the second fastest chip in the range), it had all the latest bells and whistles. But today, its support for USB 1.1, DDR2700 RAM and even PATA RAID make in far inferior to the vast number of motherboards out there that support USB 2.0, DDR3200 and 3500 RAM and SATA RAID, not to mention IEEE 1394 (FireWire), Gigabit Ethernet, better POST reporting, etc.(I won't even start to debate the performance benefits of newer nForce2 Ultra chipsets over their older counterparts.)

To match the features of the latest AMD Athlon/Athlon XP motherboards with my older motherboard I would have to add in at least two, maybe three or four, PCI cards. This would work, but it would be an inelegant (taking up valuable PCI slots), costly (PCI cards aren't free) and inefficient (PCI cards require drivers, configuration, etc) solution. Far better and cheaper to upgrade the motherboard along with the CPU in one go, allowing me to put the older motherboard and CPU combination into another machine/my spares box/the charity bin.

Seriously, when buying a motherboard and CPU, look past the upgrade path. It's a serious red herring, even for PC enthusiasts such as ourselves.

Re:Sometimes I wish I were stupid... (1)

Sivar (316343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086381)

I find it entertaining that you sometimes wish you were stupid, then immediately proclaim that you don't understand something. ;-)

Seriously though, Anandtech has a decent explanation of AMDs rather creative roadmap here [anandtech.com] .

Speed for speed's sake (4, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086261)

Back a few years ago, these speed increases really meant something. It meant the difference between waiting for the OS to finish some task and being able to use the computer without much noticeable latency. These days, the difference just isn't as staggering.

I will admit, though, that if you use KDE/Linux there are some things that could definitely use a speed-up like switching between apps and loading the GUI shell. However, beyond that, modern operating systems work just fine with today's processors.

The argument to this is always "what if you're doing serious number crunching or graphical rendering?", but the answer to that is that there are dedicated DSPs out there that can perform those computations much more efficiently than the CPU. Relying on the CPU to give good Quake framerates is like relying on your auto-body shop to soup up your ricer. Yes, there are some increases in performance, but the real horsepower behind these things lies in the video card and engine, not in the CPU and rice spoiler.

I'm all for improvements in chip technology, but software lags so far behind the capabilities of modern CPUs that it's preposterous to climb on the upgrade cycle, regardless of the circumstances.

Please, don't feed the trolls and karma whores... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086275)

This guy's a troll/karma whore. Don't mod him up please. Spend your mod points on someone more worthy of them.

Tired old flamebait argument (3, Insightful)

Powercntrl (458442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086407)

There are still many tasks for which there isn't enough computing power for. Factoring large prime numbers, encoding/editing video, rendering 3D graphics, applying audio filters, etc...

Every time a newer/faster/better CPU comes out, someone says it is not needed for the majority of computing users. While that may be true currently, who would want to tolerate using a 386SX/16 today just because current 32-bit X86 proccessors are really just souped up 386s?

If you're happy with your old processor, keep using it. No one is going to take it away from you. Chances are, you'll start to see the benefit from more powerful processors and applications that take advantage of what they can do and you'll upgrade just as you probably have in the past. You're not still using an abacus are you?

Re:Tired old flamebait argument (1)

inburito (89603) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086685)

There are still many tasks for which there isn't enough computing power for. Factoring large prime numbers, encoding/editing video, rendering 3D graphics, applying audio filters, etc...

That is probably something you do not need any computing power for as it can be done in constant time.

Re:Speed for speed's sake (4, Interesting)

Sivar (316343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086417)

I have to disagree.
First of all, games are not necessarily limited only by the video card. Certainly if you run the latest games in the highest resolution with 8x AA, your video card will be the bottleneck, but often times only these extreme situations make that true.

Morrowind, for example, doesn't really care much about your video card. If you have a Geforce 3, it is happy. It does, however, care about your CPU. If your CPU is not god incarnate, your frame rate will be limited, particularly in some of the more dynamic scenes. The fastest CPU at the time of release, the P4 2.53GHz, could not muster much of a frame rate regardless of video card.

Any 2D game will be CPU limited as well. Baldur's Gate 2 still chugs on some of the extremely large fights even on my AthlonXP 2500+.

In Starcraft, I assure you that my carrier attack will slow your frame rate regardless of your CPU. ;-)

Other than in video games, I am currently transcoding a Babylon 5 video from MPEG-2 to DivX (using Xvid) on my laptop. It is an Athlon64 3200+--the fastest laptop processor money can buy (well, strictly for video transcoding, the highest end Pentium IVs are actually slightly faster) and it takes about 6 hours for a 2hr movie, 3 hours for an episode. If I had a 20GHz Athlon64 it would still take forever.

To come to a point, yes, modern operating systems do tend to run fine on modern fast processors (with the possible exception of WindowsXP and anything running KDE or Gnome2 ::ducks::), but there exists quite a bit more software than old games and operating systems.

A few other examples:

- There isn't a computer on the planet fast enough to install Gentoo Linux quickly.

- FreeBSD's make world will be noticeable non-instantaneous for many GHz to come.

- Waiting for Visual C++ in Windows to compile... Well, anything at all, is not instantaneous even on an 8-way Xeon.

- Waiting for Regedit in Windows to search for a certain key or value will NEVER be fast on ANY computer. I don't know what search algorithm Microsoft chose for that thing, but it's damn slow for searching through just 10 or so megabytes of data.

- Anything ever written with SWING in Java. It was slow in 1996 and it's slow now. To avoid flames, I love Java as a language, but SWING is slower than a dead slug stuck in frozen molasses.

The opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the poster.

Re:Speed for speed's sake (1)

Powercntrl (458442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086526)

Other than in video games, I am currently transcoding a Babylon 5 video from MPEG-2 to DivX (using Xvid) on my laptop. It is an Athlon64 3200+--the fastest laptop processor money can buy (well, strictly for video transcoding, the highest end Pentium IVs are actually slightly faster) and it takes about 6 hours for a 2hr movie, 3 hours for an episode. If I had a 20GHz Athlon64 it would still take forever.

One question, why does it take so long for your rig to convert MPEG2 to Xvid? I have an Athlon XP2000+ system running WinXP and using FlaskMPEG 0.6preview2 and the latest Xvid binaries from Nic [dnsalias.com] , I get an average of 22FPS encoding rate. Considering film is 23.976FPS, I am getting almost realtime encoding speeds. Even doing a two-pass encode and adding the time it takes to do the audio afterwards (usually about 20mins per hour) would only make a 2 hour movie take a little over 5 hours or so.

Not trying to flame, just curious why your encoding speeds are so slow...

Re:Speed for speed's sake (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086568)

"Anything ever written with SWING in Java. It was slow in 1996 and it's slow now. To avoid flames, I love Java as a language, but SWING is slower than a dead slug stuck in frozen molasses."

That's funny.

I wrote a very complex Swing GUI in 1999, complete with highly customized look and feel, font anti-aliasing, and overkill use of graphics. Guess what? It ran perfectly ok on a 400 MHz K6-II with a TNT graphics card. Go figure.

Yes, Swing is _not_ newbie friendly. If you're clueless, Swing gives you enough rope to hang yourself, _and_ the guns to shoot yourself in both feet.

However, any half-competent Swing programmer should be able to get perfectly adequate performance out of it. Anyone who can't get it to work fast enough on an Athlon 3200+, no offense, but is one of those clueless burger-flippers who shouldn't have got hired as a programmer to start with.

Re:Speed for speed's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086742)

Gee, you're a real prize asshole aren't you!

Re:Speed for speed's sake (1)

root:DavidOgg (133514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086869)

he's right. Java is heavily criticised not because it deserves it, but it's just the in thing to do.

Off-topic, about Swing (2, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086906)

Indeed. The full name is Moraelin F Asshole. F stands for "Flaming" ;)

But now seriously, it's not even about _my_ GUI. I know of other teams which have programmed Swing GUIs too. E.g., there's one big Swing-based enterprise front-end being built two floors up from my office.

I can't recall any of them having _Swing_ related performance problems. Performance problems with the database or the EJB back end, yes. "Swing is too slow" problems, no.

A Swing GUI may take milliseconds for the whole form to be painted, instead of micro-seconds for a native Windows GUI. But that's still orders of magnitude below what the user even starts to notice. And even further below what the user will call "slow".

Don't get me wrong. I'm _not_ a fan of Swing. It does have issues. As I've said, it is _not_ newbie friendly.

E.g., for a language (Java) whose claim to glory included automatic-dealocation via a garbage collector... Swing sure brings back precisely memory leaks and the need to de-allocate stuff manually. (Yes, those listeners.)

It also does require some expertise and some work to get that performance out there. E.g., if you add items one by one to a combo box, and they're lots of items, be prepared to spend _minutes_ before that loop completes. On the other hand, adding them all together, finishes in milliseconds. Better yet, write your own Model class for that combo box(sein' as Swing _is_ MVC based.) That'll work even faster.

So, to wrap it up, yes, Swing needs you to _work_ and _read_ to get a good program done. But then that's what programming is all about. And if you do your homework, yes, you don't need an Athlon 3200+ (nor a G5) to get adequate performance with Swing.

I'd expect anyone who's paid to code to a framework -- regardless of whether it's Swing, EJB, Struts, MFC, .Net or whatever -- to actually spend some time _learning_ what they're supposed to do. Learn the patterns (a.k.a. best practices) _and_ the anti-patterns (a.k.a. worst practices) _and_ spend some time thinking how and why and which apply to your actuall problem (a.k.a. design.) _Then_ jump into coding.

Programming is _not_ about randomly banging on a keyboard, and hoping that it'll eventually work.

It's not _that_ unreasonable a wish, is it?

Re:Speed for speed's sake (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086994)

It is just a shame that nobody ever published how to make swing fast. And the fact that many developers still think that swing is threadsafe don't help.

Re:Speed for speed's sake (3, Funny)

bluewee (677282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086433)

Just you wait till MS releases longhorn and your processor of today screatches to a halt...

Re:Speed for speed's sake (4, Insightful)

jmv (93421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086454)

Actually, current DSPs aren't *that* fast. With x86 CPUs that have a *theoretical* performance in the order of 10 gflops, the DSPs have lost ground. Not only that, but they're much more complicated to program. Believe me, I'm doing all kinds of audio processing and if you give me a CPU that's 10x faster, I'll make use of it in a minute. There's still so many things you can't do right now with audio (even more true with video) because it would be too slow.

Applications for more speed (1)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086517)

Better real-time realistic physics for games (including on-the-fly synthesis of human-like motions for characters), better AI for game characters, real-time video processing/editing, even better real-time sound synthesis, faster compiling, higher-level languages for more productive programmers, voice synthesis and recognition, robot motion control (walking), natural language processing, next-generation smarter desktop interfaces, useful computer vision, AI (as in, a computer that passes the turing test).

There are still plenty of cool applications for general-purpose processors that require more speed. Then once these things can be done by themselves, you'll want to do them all at once. And there are always the crazy applications that nobody's come up with yet.

CPU speed still matters (2, Interesting)

poszi (698272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086532)

Back a few years ago, these speed increases really meant something.

There are still a lot of situations where faster CPU is great. I do scientific calculations for my work and, surprise, the faster the CPU, the quicker you get the results. Actually, cheap commodity PCs made a revolution in my field, where you no longer need an access to a terribly expensive supercomputer to do reasonable simulations.

I've got also a digital camera and image manipulation is very CPU intensive. Unsharp mask on a 6Mpixel file takes several seconds and if you need to aply it to hundreds of images, you can do the math. CPU is also important in ogg encoding, program compilation and just anything that takes 100% CPU if you check top.

Re:Speed for speed's sake (1)

secondsun (195377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086883)

No, this isn't interesting it is a troll, but I will bite.

I have a Radeon AIW 7500, I want to play Savage, but the 7500 makes it look like shit. So I want a new video card and can buy a 8x AGP one, but my motherboard is only 4x. So I am already upgrading two components, why note spend a little more and get a new proc and mobo and make everything faster?

I am sure many who upgrade are in this circle. Their computer works fine, but when they need to upgrade one part they may need to upgrade others to get it to work fully.

(Yes I know there isn't much diferenc between 4x and 8x in performance but it was the most easily identifiable example on hand).

Another article (5, Informative)

ValourX (677178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086272)

I wrote an AMD64 article a while ago... something a little simpler, for those not so technically-minded:

AMD 64 Explained [thejemreport.com]

Someone said above that there are no good AMD64 OSes... bullshit... SuSE 9.0 AMD64 is more than usable, and FreeBSD 5.2 AMD64 is almost perfect; in fact I'm typing this from Mozilla Firebird on FreeBSD 5.2-RELEASE AMD64 right now.


Re:Another article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086290)

Any good user apps for 64 bit linux? Didn't think so. I ran some DEC 64 bit systems running RedHat for a while the only thing they were good for was scientific code.

Re:Another article (3, Informative)

ValourX (677178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086313)

Almost the entire FreeBSD ports tree works just fine on AMD64, although some programs have to be compiled with -fPIC.

OpenOffice doesn't work yet because Java doesn't compile yet, but this will be fixed very soon as Sun is working on porting Solaris and Java to AMD64 right now. KDE, GNOME, and all associated programs work just fine in FreeBSD/AMD64. Grip, XMMS, Mozilla, Evolution, Bluefish... they all work perfectly.


Re:Another article (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086316)

Whether they work or whether they work faster or better are two different things.

Re:Another article (1)

ValourX (677178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086336)

I don't have any data on if they work any faster, but each program certainly compiles faster in 64-bit mode than in 32-bit mode. Noticeably faster. I have numbers to prove it, but I'm waiting to publish all my data in an article sometime soon.


Re:Another article (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086348)

That's a very nice report. I was just looking for a quick definition of HyperTransport and you've cleared it up nicely for me! One thing you might want to change is where it says that the AMD64 range always has 1024kb cache. That's no longer true with the Socket 754 AMD64 3000+, which has the same clock speed as the 3200+ but only half the cache.

Re:Another article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086842)

I've got the Windows64 beta, but no 64 to run it on. Woe is me.

Would someone mind telling me the difference... (5, Interesting)

double-oh three (688874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086273)

Would someone mind telling me the difference between the 939 pin and the 940 pin? What difference can that one pin make?

Re:Would someone mind telling me the difference... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086285)

It means that you can effectively double the number of functions that the CPU is capable of.

If pin 939 (they number from 0-939) is off, the rest of the CPU pins act like a normal CPU, but when it is turned on, all the pins behave in 64-bit Ath64_SNM mode which is basically a 64 bit enhanced mode with extra featuresets designed for streaming data (not necessarily from the Internet).

Re:Would someone mind telling me the difference... (4, Informative)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086331)

939 = Single-CPU only. 512KB of L2-cache, 128bit mem-controller

940 = 1-8 CPU's. 1MB of L2-cache, 128bit mem-controller.

Re:Would someone mind telling me the difference... (4, Funny)

Imperator (17614) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086710)

Wow, the 941-pin socket must be really something!

Cheers, :)

Re:Would someone mind telling me the difference... (3, Informative)

The One KEA (707661) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086355)

The 939pin processors, which will be sold in single and dual-channel variants, will not require registered memory like the Opteron does. This means that they will be able to operate much faster and be much more overclockable.

Re:Would someone mind telling me the difference... (4, Informative)

Sivar (316343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086361)

Socket 939 will allow motherboard manufacturers to easily make 4-layer designs.
In English: Cheaper motherboards for the dual channel Athlon64s.

Athlons are efficient with their use of memory bandwidth, so current Athlon64s don't really care about the second memory channel much at the moment. It has a minimal effect on performance. However, since processor technology moves more quickly than memory technology, future 3+GHz processors will start to see a significant benefit from the added bandwidth. Of course, by then, DDR2 will be readily available so we'll just have to see how it all turns out.

Athlon64 Motherboards And Chips Compared (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086276)

Let's see the Motherboards are about 8 inches square but the chips are much smaller ...

!opteron == no dual proc (2, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086289)

As much as I love AMD, I would recommend against the Athlon64 chipsets, unless you *must* have a 64 bit chip. What is interesting, however, are the Opteron chips, where you can easily buy a nice dual proc mobo [tyan.com] that has some nice features. Of course, this will cost you ...and the price hasn't dropped in the past couple of months, too much :-(

Of course, 754 is being deprecated and all that, but I thought I'd put a word in for what I'd buy... if it weren't so damn expensive. *sigh* Will we ever have dual athlon64 goodness?

Re:!opteron == no dual proc (4, Insightful)

runderwo (609077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086325)

As much as I love AMD, I would recommend against the Athlon64 chipsets, unless you *must* have a 64 bit chip.
Why? They are much faster at running even 32-bit code than Athlons. They dissipate less power. They have safety features built in to prevent overheating, and power throttling built in to prevent less wasted energy when idle.

Perhaps the only reason not to move to the AMD 64 platform is the entry price, currently. The early adopters will take care of knocking that down for the rest of us.

Re:!opteron == no dual proc (1)

The One KEA (707661) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086367)

Not even the entry price is that much of an issue now; the release of the Clawhammer-based Athlon 64 3000+ for the sale price of only $215 significantly lowers the barrier to entry. Sure, all the necessary parts for a completely new system may still run all the way up to approx. $850, but having a low-spec processor like the 3000+ available only helps AMD"s product adoption.

Re:!opteron == no dual proc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086358)

Will we ever have dual athlon64 goodness?
It's only been a year. Give it time & let this pin issue settle. I for one am still waiting for the 8 way processor setups promised back in 2003. I'm betting the release for the 8 processor Athlon 64 wil coincide with the release of Duke Nukem Forever, seeing as the Athlon 64 8 way will be bare minimum. Along with a Geforce Dust Buster Edition or a Radeon 1xE^1000.

Are the apps there? (2, Interesting)

leftie_hater (744932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086310)

Are there any apps that are 64 bits? Is there any reason at all to go 64bit?

Re:Are the apps there? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086334)

Of course.
Starfox 64
Mario Cart 64
Random Nintendo Franchise 64
Oh wait... for the computer then no.

Re:Are the apps there? (1)

leftie_hater (744932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086540)

So the next version from Microsoft will be Windows 64?

Re:Are the apps there? (4, Informative)

ValourX (677178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086347)

Most open-source projects are now in the process of, or have completed AMD64 compatibility. I'm typing this from Mozilla Firebird on AMD64 FreeBSD 5.2-RELEASE. I have a whole bunch of programs from the Ports system that work perfectly... the ones that aren't ported yet are the proprietary clones, like the Flash plugin, GAIM, and Java. Opera doesn't work in 64-bit mode yet either, neither does TextMaker.


Re:Are the apps there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086383)

Firebird 64 rocks.

Seriously Firebird on any platform is superior.

Re:Are the apps there? (2, Interesting)

viralburn (606633) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086365)

Are there any apps that are 64 bits? Is there any reason at all to go 64bit?
The Far Cry game engine [amd.com] is being optimized for athlon 64.

Re:Are the apps there? (1)

SD-VI (688382) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086387)

Even if you ignore 64-bitosity (64-bittiness?)-- others have already pointed out valid reasons not to do so, so I won't go there-- the A64 is quite fast even in 32-bit operation. I see it as more of a neat feature than a hook, but then again I've never had to use more than 2GB of RAM in a 32-bit system.

Re:Are the apps there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086403)

I have had to use more than 2 GB RAM in a 32 bit system. Since the Alphas were discontinued we've been using 32 bit architecture to run some scientific models and we've had to tweak the kernels quite a bit and still had limited success. The AMD64 is going to be a boost to all of us in the low cost scientific computing world.

No 64bit Linux OS??? (4, Interesting)

_Pinky_ (75643) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086394)

If I do recall there is a gentoo live CD out right now.. In fact the gentoo page has a Athlon 64 faq out here: [gentoo.org]
http://dev.gentoo.org/~brad_mssw/amd64-tech-note s. html
Now, like all new technologies, there maybe certains apps that don't work, compilations errors, and other problems... But how will they be fixed unless people try it, and send back bug reports?

Actually, there are a number of them already... (2, Informative)

sangfroid (63845) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086877)

For example:

I've been using Gentoo's amd64 stuff for a little while on my new Shuttle Box [shuttle.com] . Things are generally good although there are still a lot of packages that are masked. KDE is also problematic which may be a turn-off for some people.

A colleague just got a new dual-opteron Workstation [pogolinux.com] from Pogo [pogolinux.com] and is running SuSE 9.0 pro for amd64 and is rather happy -- just about everything plays nicely.

Multimedia has significant problems on both systems. No flash player for 64-bit, mplayer and related multimedia requiring 32-bit codecs. Nvidia amd 64 drivers [nvidia.com] require some patching if they work at all, at least as of last wednesday.

Otherwise quite happy with all of these. Mandrake claims to have multimedia stuff working properly (see above link for info) but wants to eat my partition table so I haven't checked it out yet.

"Now you'll see why they call me the Velour Fog" --Zapp Brannigan, 25-star General & Cpt.

So basically... (-1, Troll)

City Jim 3000 (726294) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086422)

  • No point in getting the Athlon 64 because it isn't that different from the XP. Will also be obsolete way before the x86-64 instruction set is put to good use.
  • Early FX series are for the adventurous. Seems nice but will also be obsolete before we have Windows XP x86-64
  • Opteron is what I want but can't afford

aut0tr0ll is teh sp0kE!? (-1)

CHECKTHEGOATS (735227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086439)

Hello master.


This is a joint venture that will be mutually advantageous to both parties involved.

1 MKB of L2 cache! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8086478)

According to the side by side comparasion chart there's 1 megakilobyte of L2 cache on the 64-FX! With a gig of memory on die, no wonder it's so expensive.

Athlon64 Coming Along Slowly (4, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086565)

I wish I'd done more research on hardware compatibility, particularly motherboards, because installing 64-bit Linux has been a bitch. I'm only now getting to the point where I can have a fully-working installation without having to add in redundant devices to compensate for onboard chipsets that AMD64 Linux distros couldn't work with.

Nvidia Nforce drivers only got released in the last month so my onboard LAN on my ASUS SK8N works. Mandrake 9.2 RC1 recognizes my Promise onboard SATA RAID controller, but SuSE doesn't, and even then the driver in Mandrake is an 0.83 release.

I haven't played with the Fedora Core release candidate test version for Athlon 64 yet.

IMO, If you want to run 64-bit Native Linux on AMD64 without a lot of headaches and weeping, wait another 6 months until the distros and drivers have solidified more. In 6 months, you'll probably be able to get a CPU a generation or two higher than you can today, but for the same money, and you'll be able to install AMD64 native Linux much more easily... It's win-win.

- Greg

Re:Athlon64 Coming Along Slowly (3, Informative)

The One KEA (707661) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086578)

The Ethernet/LAN driver issue is no longer a major problem - if you can find a distro which bundles a 2.4.23/2.6.0 or later kernel, it will include the new forcedeth driver, which is a clean-room reverse-engineered driver for NVIDIA Ethernet devices. It works very well, and I've seen lots of positive feedback.

Right now, though, you're probably right about the immaturity of 64bit Linux distros - IMO Gentoo is the one distro that is most likely to mature soonest on the AMD64 platform.

Why the big fuss over 64? (3, Funny)

386spart (725207) | more than 10 years ago | (#8086857)

Commodore already did it in the 80s!
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