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AMD Athlon 64 6000+ Launched And Tested

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the kicking-the-tires-lighting-the-fires dept.

AMD 156

Spinnerbait writes "AMD officially launched their next speed bump in the Athlon 64 product line, in the form of a new 3GHz part branded the Athlon 64 6000+. This new dual-core Athlon 64 sports 1MB of on-chip cache per core and is designed for AMD's Socket AM2 platform. This chip is still built on AMD's 90nm fab node and is comprised of some 227 million transistors. It also carries a thermal power profile of about 125Watts. Unfortunately, in all the benchmarks seen here, it was still unable to catch Intel's Core 2 Duo E6700 chip at 2.66GHz."

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But hey... (3, Funny)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081354)

At least it uses more power!

Re:But hey... (4, Funny)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081498)

So they're about 2 years behind Intel on this? Prescott topped out around 135W IIRC, so AMD has 10W more to go...

Burn karma, burn.
-nB

Re:But hey... (1)

octopus72 (936841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082464)

For two processor cores having 1Mb cache each, it isn't that much (Prescott was single core).
Wonder why they still stick to P4 performance scheme, as that processor family is a history. Are they planning to improve on existing K8 design? Else they won't be able to catch-up with Intel in performance, especially as Intel has now maybe solved current leakage problem (and AMD usually lags behind Intel in production process). Currently they only have advantage in merging with ATI GPU tech as they're planning to produce combo GPU/CPU - it isn't clear whether it will be for low-end ultra-cheap machines or will it compete with mainstream gaming machines.

Re:But hey... (5, Informative)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083280)

The X2 names are double the clock speed (in MHz) for 1MB cache parts, 200 less than that for 512kB cache parts, and 400 less for the 256kB cache part. It seems they've stopped looking at them as Intel cpu performance equivalence numbers. The single-core chips still seem to be named pretty much arbitrarily.

Complete list:
3000MHz dual-core 1MB = 3000x2 = 6000
2800MHz dual-core 1MB = 2800x2 = 5600
2800MHz dual-core 512kB = 2800x2 - 200 = 5400
2600MHz dual-core 1MB = 2600x2 = 5200
2600MHz dual-core 512kB = 2600x2 - 200 = 5000
2500MHz dual-core 512kB = 2500x2 - 200 = 4800
2400MHz dual-core 1MB = 2400x2 = 4800
2400MHz dual-core 512kB = 2400x2 - 200 = 4600
2300MHz dual-core 512kB = 2300x2 - 200 = 4400
2200MHz dual-core 1MB = 2200x2 = 4400
2200MHz dual-core 512kB = 2200x2 - 200 = 4200
2100MHz dual-core 512kB = 2100x2 - 200 = 4000
2000MHz dual-core 1MB = 2000x2 = 4000
2000MHz dual-core 512kB = 2000x2 - 200 = 3800
2000MHz dual-core 256kB = 2000x2 - 400 = 3600
1900MHz dual-core 512kB = 1900x2 - 200 = 3600

Re:But hey... (4, Funny)

moranar (632206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081598)

Nah, with cool n' quiet we'll be able to run it at half of its power and clock speed. Like an Athlon 3000, for example, only more expensive.

DOS (5, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081380)

I've always wanted to try running DOS on a processor with 1MB of L2 cache...there's just something retro wicked about running an OS where the entire base memory fits in on-die cache.

I have to wonder if qemu and the kernel's kvm will allow me to dedicate an entire core to a DOS image.

Re:DOS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18081408)

HAHA, you are CRAZY like a FOX!!

Re:DOS (4, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081722)

I have to wonder if qemu and the kernel's kvm will allow me to dedicate an entire core to a DOS image.

Or you could just boot off of a DOS formatted USB key. I remember hearing that the Athlon64 would run all OS's down to DOS 2, I believe.

Re:DOS (3, Funny)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082378)

I'd hate to be part of that QA department...

Re:DOS (1)

Xanius (955737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082630)

With that much power being given to DOS the QA guy just might have to call to his manager and say, uh sir, the OS has become sentient.

Re:DOS (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083714)

The day glorified program loaders (DOS isn't really much of an OS) become sentient is the day that... um... it is the day that programs get loaded without requesting them first.. or something. Seriously, I can't think of anything frightening about that scenerio. I mean, most DOS installations don't even have internet access. What is it going to do, infect all those floppy disks you use so often and spread around your basement?

On a similar note... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18081764)

I want to see what happens when you add two really big numbers (my hypothesis is that addition breaks down when you get into numbers bigger then about a trillion, in such a way that the result of adding two numbers tends towards the result of multiplication) Will an AMD processor allow me to do this?

Re:On a similar note... (1)

KingEomer (795285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081990)

What? Do you mean using some sort of BigInteger-like library? Otherwise adding two big numbers is a single operation (assuming they're already in registers).

Re:On a similar note... (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082044)

Heh, who needs a 64 bit processor to try that? Python works fine

>>> 1000000000000000+1000000000000000
2000000000000000L
>>>

1 quadrillion + 1 quadrillion = 2 quadrillion. Have a nice day. :)

Re:On a similar note... (0, Offtopic)

binner1 (516856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083748)

But I use Ruby you insensitive clod!

irb(main):001:0> 1000000000000000+1000000000000000
=> 2000000000000000

Guess I should get that cup of coffee now, eh?
-Ben

Re:DOS (3, Funny)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083598)

Dude! Totally! And then you can run Wordperfect 5 at blazing speeds!

There's retro... there's wicked... and then there's DOS.

-matthew

Re:DOS (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084520)

...And then there's Duke3D at extremely high VESA resolutions. :-)

Re:DOS (3, Informative)

Rick17JJ (744063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083910)

My AMD 64 3800+ has FreeDOS [freedos.org] on the 2nd partition of my 1st hard drive. It is formatted as a FAT-16 partition. It is one of the choices on the GRUB boot menu [wikipedia.org] . I only boot up DOS every once in a while, but it does run on my AMD 64 computer. About a year ago or so ago I had IBM PC DOS 2000 installed on the 1st partion which also ran well. I later reformatted that partition as NTFS and installed Windows 2000 on my first partition instead. I still have FreeDOS on the 2nd partition. I have Slackware Linux installed on my 3rd partition and in that case I have 32-bit version of Linux running on a 64-bit computer. On a logical partition I have the AMD-64 version of Kubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) Linux [kubuntu.org] which is what I like best and use most of the time.

An easier way to run an old DOS program under Linux or Windows would be to just use the free DOSBox [sourceforge.net] program. In the past, I also used VMWare and had PC DOS 2000 installed on one the the virtual machines. With VMWare I was able to run Linux, Windows and DOS all at once.

Low power chips too (5, Informative)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081418)

In the full announcement [yahoo.com] they also mention new 45W single-core desktop processors: Athlon 64 3500+ for $88, and 3800+ for $93.

Re:Low power chips too (2, Interesting)

D3m0n0fTh3Fall (1022795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081458)

The review mentions this on the last page anyway. I too would be more interested in these low power chips. The ultra low power X2 would have to be the most interesting proposition for a home server... 35 Watts or something?

Re:Low power chips too (2, Informative)

Curien (267780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081552)

Yeah, if you can find them.

A few months ago, I decided to build a fanless desktop.* The socket AM2 had recently debuted, so I decided to buy one of them and pair it with one of the new low-power Semprons. It took days just to /find/ someone who actually claimed to be able to get their hands on one. When I finally ordered one, the order got delayed -- first by one week, then by two. I think it finally arrived three weeks after I ordered it. And I'm lucky, I think. My supplier was in Germany; I don't think American suppliers had /any/ low-power chips at all.

* It mostly worked -- I can use the computer normally for days on end no problem. When I decided to rip some DVDs, it overheated. Oh well -- the CPU fan is barely noticeable anyway.

Re:Low power chips too (1)

pioneerX (830117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083510)

You need to find a motherboard with good manual fan control in the BIOS (e.g. Asus A8R) that can specify start + ramp temperatures for the CPU fan. I have one of those ridiculously huge tower heatsinks sitting on an undervolted 2.4GHz X2 - the fan doesn't spin until after several minutes of full load.

Re:Low power chips too (1)

egghat (73643) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084360)

According to heise [heise.de] the new 45 watt versions are the followups to the old 65 watts EE version (not the 35 watts EE SFF versions). While the EE SFF were essentially unavailable, the "normal" EE versions were available. At least here in Germany.

Bye egghat.

cool (2, Interesting)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081422)

I would still buy this over intel's processor, my god, that thing has alot of pins

Re:cool (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081540)

Here's [cpu-collection.de] a processor that only has 16 pins...

Re:cool (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18085004)

I don't get it. You would still buy a worse performing processor because it's from AMD? I would only do it if it was cheaper.

Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1, Insightful)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081424)

What is the point of releasing a new iteration of an existing platform to bump up speed and still not catch up with the competitions products?

Wouldn't they have been better served re-routing this R&D effort/money into something which would put them back on top of either the price or performance curves?

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18081574)

I think the answer is timeliness. I suppose your question was really rhetorical though, huh?

I'd like to get my fingers on one of these, though, too.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (5, Insightful)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081612)

Better served? Yes, of course. Possible in the short term? No!

Both manufacturers hurry out minor iterations of their existing processor set while readying the next generation; it's a stop-loss tactic, since they can pop something like this out in the engineering equivalent of an afternoon, and it masks the fact that they're falling behind. Rather like the Pentium IV QRSTTurboMach5's that were coming out almost weekly back when Athlon was pantsing Intel. Intel knew they sucked just as much as we did -- but not releasing them would have terminated their share price.

Besides -- your average Dell buyer only sees "New Release", not benchmarks.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081792)

Not only that but there are a lot of people with AM2 motherboards that might like to do a simple upgrade without buying a new motherboard. Not to mention that Dell, Gateway, and HP probably have a nice supply of AM2 motherboards and system that they can now sell with a faster CPU.
I am still ever hopeful to see what AMD does at 45nm.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081880)

Yeah, 45nm will be cool, but you aren't seeing such dies anytime soon. If you meant 65nm... guess we'll have to wait 6 months or so till the first Barcelona.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083180)

Your right 45nm is Intels next jump.
Hopefully it will not just be a jump to 65nm but the new vector unit I read about as well.
Of course I will need a new motherboard for that one...
Oh well the truth is my current system is way fast enough as it is.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (2, Informative)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082194)

Not sure why you would be in any hurry to upgrade if you're just worried about your mainboard. AM3 processors will work in AM2 sockets.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

Noonian Soong (1016626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083248)

But even for those people, the move to Intel wouldn't be a bad idea. For the price of the 6000+ you can easily get a E6600 and a good board and maybe even save some money. The performance is almost the same and the power consumption is far lower.
I really hope AMD will come up with something good soon, since in my opinion, at the moment the only market segment where AMD is worth considering, is the low price segment, where they are still competing against the Pentium D. But I doubt AMD does make a lot of money by just selling processors below 100 $. So hopefully they will release something that is able to compete with Intel, because this competition is necessary for the customer as well for the jobs at AMD (I would hate to see those nice fabs in Dresden being unused).

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

ABoerma (941672) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081860)

But is your average Dell buyer going to buy a lone CPU without the rest of the Dell?

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082740)

The average Dell buyer barely knows how to turn the computer on.

Normal people do not upgrade their CPUs. They just buy new computers.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (3, Insightful)

Buddy_DoQ (922706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081724)

If you're an enthusiast with an existing AMD rig, why not just plop in a new CPU rather than a full Intel combo upgrade? If I was AM2 rather than 939, I myself would be down on this in a heartbeat. From the looks of things, overall it's about on par with Intel's bang-per-buck chips (E6600/E6700), sounds like a good move to me!

Realistically, there's so much transition going on right now, DX10 cards, new operating systems, multiple cores, I think it's best to let this storm even out for another 6-12 months before considering a full upgrade. So for now, plop in that new CPU or GPU, if need be, and have fun!

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (2, Insightful)

Lord Crc (151920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081996)

If I was AM2 rather than 939, I myself would be down on this in a heartbeat.

I also got a 939 rig, and I haven't quite understood the whole AM2 move from AMD. From what I've seen so far, AM2 doesn't bring a whole lot of improvements to the table, but what it does is equalize the upgrade costs between an AMD system and an Intel system. And in these days, that's hurting AMD bad I suspect.

If AMD needs some easy cash, why not release something for the 939 system? A reasonably priced, speedy dual core for instance? All I can get from my local shops is the X2 3800, which while dirt cheap, is the slowest X2. Why not sell the 4800 you had for not quite as little? I'd buy that as a intermediate upgrade.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (2, Informative)

LousyPhreak (550591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082116)

939=DDR Ram
AM2=DDR2 Ram

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

Lord Crc (151920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082448)

939=DDR Ram
AM2=DDR2 Ram


That's part of my point, but I fail to see yours. I was talking about taking one of the beefier X2's they had for the 939 and ship it cheap.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

Xichekolas (908635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082842)

IIRC, DDR2 can actually be slower in some configurations than DDR, because of increased latency.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083302)

Somehow I doubt they would have been prevented from making Socket 939 motherboards that supported DDR2. I had Socket A motherboards in both the DDR and regular SDR variety. A new chipset to support it and they'd be set to go. Then regardless of if you have a 939 mobo with DDR or with DDR2, you still have access to the same processors.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

Methuseus (468642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083810)

You have to remember that Socket A chips used a northbridge chip as the memory controller. In order to change memory type for the 64 line of processors they need to change transistors on the CPU itself because that's where the memory interface logic is found. IIRC DDR2 also uses more signal pins, or at least differently configured ones, than DDR. And also the two memory types have different power requirements which may affect the CPU interface as well.

Memory controller is on die. (3, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084116)

Somehow I doubt they would have been prevented from making Socket 939 motherboards that supported DDR2


It does.
With Athlons, the memory controller are on the northbridge (just like Intel's). You can put whatever memory on the mother board, as long you put the correct north bridge.
So that's why you have both SDR and DDR Socket A mother boards.

A new chipset to support it and they'd be set to go.


That's not how is works with Athlon 64s : They have on die memory controller. The type of memory you can connect to the mother board is directly determined by the type of processor. And until recently each type of processor has it's own connector :

Single Channel DDR : Socket 754
Dual Channel DDR : Socket 939
Dual Channel DDR2 : Socket AM2

Only from now on will you have mutually compatible AM2/AM2+/AM3 mother board, which will use mechanically compatible connectors and the limitation will be only be the memory controllers on the chips (AM3 processors have both DDR2 and DDR3 and can got in all 3 motherboard. AM2 chips only have DDR2 and only go in AM2/2+ MB).

On Athlon 64 motherboard, the nortbridge is nothing more than a controller in charge of peripherals and their busses and doesn't touch the memory at all. It's completly agnostic of the memory and only speaks "Hypertransport" to the CPU. It is mutually interchangeable with all mother board. And in fact you can find the exact same VIA KT880 AGP chipset on mother board from 754 all the way up to AM2, regardless of the memory.

You can make different king of motherboard with the same chipset.
But 939 Processor can only connect to DDR memory, so you're stuck with it.

(On the otherhand, we could imagine building PCI-e nForce6 motherboards for Socket 754 CPUs and AGP KT880 mother board for AM3 connectors. But no company curently bothers.)

As a side note, that's one of the reason why Athlon64 have a smaller cache :
- Unlike Intels they're not limited by the bus speed for memory transfers. They have access to memory at full speed.
- Memory access is direct, without having first to be processed by north bridge and latency is much lower.
Of course now that DDR2 (and even more DDR3) have higher latency, these advantages don't shine any more.

To see it by yourself can look at the trace on the mother board. On regular mother board, the north bridge is in the middle and has trace both to the memory and to the CPU. The CPU is only linked to the northbridge.
On athlon64 mother board, the traces go from the memory to the CPU. The north bridge is only connected to the CPU.

In fact now that the AM2/2+/3 familiy has been declared upward compatible, you may start to see the same kind of compatibility that we had back with the Slot-1 connector which could be used with the first Pentium IIs all the way up to the latest Pentium II Tualatins (given one uses the correct slotket).
And this what exactly this is all about : AMD *does want* a stable socket so they can attract potential chip makers that will be interested in making specialized coprocessors that will remain compatible thru all upgrades from AM2 to AM3.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (2, Insightful)

Lazarus_Bitmap (593726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081754)

It might not be the performance champ, but they've also priced it cheaper. So it provides options, and options are always a good thing.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081780)

By that logic, Intel shouldn't have launched any chips at all between 2001 and 2005...

Sometimes you release a product when the schedule dictates in order to keep your existing customers happy.

Manufacturing != R&D (3, Insightful)

grimJester (890090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081848)

The percentage of chips able to run at a given frequency rises as they tweak the process to make manufacturing more efficient. This is not a new factory, process or design. They make them already. Why not sell them?

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082560)

It's fab turn. In order to actually catch up to Intel and possibly pass them they need to go to 45nm
process parts and at least up the on-die cache memory (The MAIN reason Core Duos outpace AMD's parts
is due to process size differences and the lower on-die memory that results from the same...). A new
architecture would seriously do it, but the other things are more likely to bring them something.

If you're wondering, they taped these things out probably 6 or so months ago and they finally
passed all the conformance, etc. on them. It takes a bit of time to see "new" R&D come out
of a company doing chips.

Re:Question for the AMD fans/afficianados (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083036)

What is the point of releasing a new iteration of an existing platform to bump up speed and still not catch up with the competitions products?

Uh, if you're behind, then it is even more imperative that you continue releasing parts that keep you competitive. If you were in 2nd place in a stock car race, would you refrain from pulling a tight inside turn because it would only close the gap with 1st, not actually allow you to overtake?

Wouldn't they have been better served re-routing this R&D effort/money into something which would put them back on top of either the price or performance curves?

"Better" implies either-or, which is incorrect. Obviously AMD knows they need to do something to try to get back on top, and have claimed they have that thing in the upcoming Barcelona chip. Designing such a thing takes years. So if they did 'either-or', they would have been working entirely on Barcelona for the past couple years, and in the meantime would have released zero incremental speed upgrades. Which would be disastrous for their competitive standings. So they do the obvious thing: Work on both. A design team works on the new chip, while the product development team works on squeezing more MHz out of the existing design.

Similarly, it isn't like Intel was sitting on their asses for four years while K8 kicked the Pentium 4's sorry ass around. They didn't keep releasing Pentium 4 + 200MHz because they thought that would get them the lead back. They did it because they had to keep selling parts while the multi-year effort to get their new PPro-ancestry designs was going on. In the short term, though, Pentium 4 + 200 MHz was what they could do to try to keep pace, so they did it.

Speed Bump? (4, Funny)

blcamp (211756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081530)

AMD officially launched their next speed bump in the Athlon 64 product line
"Speed bump"? You mean it's supposed to keep my computer slow(er)?

Re:Speed Bump? (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083238)

"Speed bump"? You mean it's supposed to keep my computer slow(er)?

Is that what those are for? I thought it was so that you knew you were going fast enough when you caught air off the bump. If you're going too slow, it's not a bump, right?

Unfortunately? (4, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081658)

"Unfortunately, in all the benchmarks seen here, it was still unable to catch Intel's Core 2 Duo E6700 chip at 2.66GHz."

What's unfortunate about it? It's just a fact.

Re:Unfortunately? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18081822)

Actually, wouldn't you want AMD to answer with something a bit more competitive, raising the bar for Intel again at these processor speeds? Competition is good for the consumer, big time...

Re:Unfortunately? (3, Interesting)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081832)

It's unfortunate to AMD and those who would support AMD. The customer gets a hotter, more power hungry processor, that is probably just as, if not more, expensive than a cooler, slower GHz rated Intel processor that outperforms the Athlon.

Re:Unfortunately? (2, Informative)

gmack (197796) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083306)

It's unfortunate to AMD and those who would support AMD. The customer gets a hotter, more power hungry processor, that is probably just as, if not more, expensive than a cooler, slower GHz rated Intel processor that outperforms the Athlon.

The AMD processors are cheaper than the Intel chips and the difference becomes even more noticeable when you throw in the difference in motherboard costs. I was pricing this out the other week when I wanted to upgrade. I considered a core2 but then looked at the total cost and when with an AMD x2 instead.

Re:Unfortunately? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081922)

It is unfortunate obviously for AMD.

But in the aggregate, it is unfortunate because the announcement of a new processor release suggests a hope of pushing the highest achievable performance up, and it is unfortunate that a new product does not fulfill such a hope. This is an industry-wide, vendor neutral way of expressing how it is unfortunate.

But, ultimately, it's probably because the writer is an AMD fanboy and really would like to claim some victory over Intel above and beyond what existing products could theoretically provide.

Re:Unfortunately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18082506)

"fan-boy" - Get over it... That term is so over-used and ridiculous.

No, again, I'm sure the "writer" was saying it was "unfortunate" because competition is good for the consumer. If it were competitive with at least an E6700, then Intel would have something to look over their shoulder about a bit more... but they don't, which is "unfortunate".

Re:Unfortunately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083022)

Yah but you can sense the bitterness on how when AMD bought ATI everyone was thinking they would release the drivers open sourced to the community; but since they haven't there hasn't been as much ass kissing of AMD/ATI lately because of some of the 'computer jihadist' around here.

Re:Unfortunately? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083726)

What is stopping him. Just do what Apple Users have been doing for Years. Make their own benchmarks and show how it beats their competitors.

It is trivial... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18085146)

AMD still does maintain a stronger memory architecture, stream numbers out of AMD platform systems are much higher than comparable intel.

Of course, this processor does nothing to widen that gap or anything..

Re:Unfortunately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18082112)

We like the free market. We like when the fight is more even, as it drives down prices. That's makes it unfortunate. The poster could be a fanboy (like I think you're implying), but that's why I find it Unfortunate.

Re:Unfortunately? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082348)

Facts cannot be unfortunate in your world?

Re:Unfortunately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18082460)

I didn't know that this story was an editorial.

Re:Unfortunately? (1)

JazzLad (935151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082642)

Aren't they all?

Re:Unfortunately? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082434)

What's unfortunate about it? It's just a fact.

I'd like them to one-up each other every day of the week. And the day they don't, I want it to be the one with deep pockets to move from dividends to R&D that is falling behind. Then again, the Core 2 Duo/Quad is pretty much exactly a result of this... Whenever Intel are seriously threatened, they push out damn good products. Last time around was when AMD was trying to reach the laptop market and they came up with Pentium M, also a damn good processor for its time.

Re:Unfortunately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18082718)

Because without the preceding "unfortunately" the comment would sound like Intel fanboyism.

Re:Unfortunately? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083378)

The article is aimed at consumers. And this is unfortunate for consumers, as competition drives prices down.

Not a very helpful benchmark (4, Insightful)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081774)

From TFA: The OS used was Windows XP Pro SP2.
A 32 bit OS. The real strength of the AMD 64 architecture is running in 64 bit mode - benchmarking this chip compared to other 64 bit architectures would be far more helpful than running a 32bit Sandra tests and Photoshop tests on it.

Not a very helpful benchmark. I'd like to see these chips compared running 64 bit OS's - and compare the speed and throughput of applications like Apache, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, PHP / Perl scripting, and raw image processing - not Photoshop, where most of the time is spent waiting on the user to do something.

Re:Not a very helpful benchmark (5, Insightful)

Pizza (87623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081900)

Perhaps more to the point -- I'm curious about the raw integer performance of the AMD64 vs Core2 parts. A great deal of the extra performance that the Core2 parts demonstrate is due to their single-cycle SSE engines (which the upcoming AMD parts will match), but if your code doesn't use SSE (ie your typical server app) then all of these desktop-type benchmarks are worthless.

I'd also love to see a native 64-bit (integer) benchmark as well, both with and without SSE-enabled tests.

Re:Not a very helpful benchmark (1)

spotter (5662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083056)

do you think OfficeXP uses SSE? as it beat it in that benchmark too

Re:Not a very helpful benchmark (2, Interesting)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083848)

Exactly.
Very few hardware journalists can set up tests that are useful for people who don't just load Win XP to play the latest
FPS.
My office, just like my university lab before, is fully 64-bit linux running custom programs. Anyway, some people (including myself) posted some sample benchmarks here recently (http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2216 76&threshold=1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=17960 946), but I would like to see some serious benchmarking from hardware sites. Anandtech has done some good benchmarking in the past...

It's all about the cache... (5, Insightful)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081840)

AMD has been skimping lately on its cache. I have a sneaking suspicion that the majority of AMD's current performance issues are related to cache and lack thereof.

The Intel chips carry 4 to 8 Mb of cache. The thing about the Intel architecture is that the cache is shared across both or all 4 cores. In contrast the AMD chips have a dedicated *tiny* 1 MB cache for the consumer chips and 2mb per core on the high-end parts.

With that said, the reality of dual core computing is that one core is used much more heavily than the other. In Intel's case this means that one core is basically given the entire cache for its use - a significant performance boost when running a few tasks. In AMD's case the idle cache is inaccessible to the heavily loaded core.

The reason that makes me think that the cache is the current bottleneck is that the memory controller on the AMD chip is significantly faster than Intel's. Given that fact one would conclude that in non disk-bound applications that require large amounts of memory (games) the AMD chips would pull ahead. This is not the case. Of course there is more than just cache at play here but the fact that the Intel chips has 4 to 8 times more cache available to it has to make a fairly significant difference.

Check out my AMD FX-70 at http://amd4x4.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Re:It's all about the cache... (2, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081992)

AMD's upcoming kl8 chip will have L3 that can be used by all cores also amd chips don't need a lot cache as they have a build in memory controller and a better chipset to cpu, cpu to cpu link. In a 2-4 cpu server the direct cpu to cpu links with out havening to use the chip set also reduce the need. I think that Intel may have to add cache to the ram controller / main chip set soon in there 4 cpu severs. Also AMD cpu let you have more then one cpu to chipset link in a system so you can have 2 chip set like in nforce pro systems 4x4 systems.

Re:It's all about the cache... (1)

Mdalek (702460) | more than 7 years ago | (#18081998)

You seem to be slightly confused, it's precisely because of the fact that the onchip memory controller is faster and lower latency that less cache is needed.

Re:It's all about the cache... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083414)

I think everyone is confused now. It apeared to me that he was trying to say that Intel got around the slowness of hitting a seperate controler by using huge amount of cache memory. AMD isn't applying their "faster because" properly to compete with Intel's offerings. If there was more cache or equal amount of cache perse, the AMD offering would be walking all over Intel's offerings because of the "precisely because of the fact that the onchip memory controller is faster and lower latency"

So he is acknowledging it, saying Intel found a way to beat it, and suggesting a way to surpass intel's fix is to bump up the cache that it shouldn't be need. This would/should place AMD's offerigns into the lead again because of the increased efficiency of AMDs design.

He says a few other things too but that was the general points I took away reguarding this. Except that the way multiple cores operate and intel's cache design give the processor doing more work more cache memory. So if the processor has 2 meg over two cored, the primary processor might be able to access all two megs wich makes AMD's one meg divided by two cores actualy 512k. The reality is that in some situations, acording to the gp, is that AMD's 512 cache is working against 2 megs which overpower the benifits of the on die memory controler. Increasing the 512 to 1 or 2 megs should eliminate this advantage intel is using now.

Re:It's all about the cache... (1)

Methuseus (468642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084556)

I would like to add that one possible reason that the Core 2 is so much faster than the Athlon 64 is that the memory is shared in a sense besides being able to be allocated all to one core. There is also the fact that say core(0) fetches some bit of data from memory and puts it in the on-die cache. If core(1) needs that same bit of info (which can happen in many benchmarks) then it doesn't have to go back to RAM to get it, but just uses the data there. The data could even be as simple as the address of another piece of data in RAM, or even the SCSI ID of a particular component. If the Athlon 64 were to have a unified cache like that, it might alone close the gap. Of course there is still the fact that the Core 2 can execute SSE instructions faster than any other CPU.

Re:It's all about the cache... (1)

glsunder (241984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082070)

The reason why AMD is losing these comparisons is that the core2 cores are faster. They're a newer design, and they're very good. Cache helps, and it helps more on certain applications, but the core2 is simply faster.

However, just because AMD is losing at the top end doesn't mean every AMD system loses to intel. At work, I'm still getting Athlon64 systems because you can get A64 3500+ 512MB systems with DVI and 3 year warranties for under $600. They're plenty fast for the users and DVI connection will do the users more good than a faster cpu.

Re:It's all about the cache... (2, Insightful)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082284)

Have you ever really looked at benchmarks with the larger cache sizes? When I was looking into upgrading a processor I found that there were some Athlon64's that were pretty much identical except for the cache sizes. And what do the benchmarks show? Pretty much a negligible speed increase, which I found to be pretty surprising actually. When looking at the price difference you're much better off putting that money towards RAM. Maybe some server applications can better take advantage of the cache, but it seems like the consumer level isn't seeing much benefit there.

Re:It's all about the cache... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18082764)

Have you ever really looked at benchmarks with the larger cache sizes? When I was looking into upgrading a processor I found that there were some Athlon64's that were pretty much identical except for the cache sizes. And what do the benchmarks show? Pretty much a negligible speed increase, which I found to be pretty surprising actually.

I'm pretty sure that's what you'd expect if the cache was way too small in both cases.

Re:It's all about the cache... (4, Informative)

GauteL (29207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082354)

It may be important for some things, true, but a significant reason for the performance of the Core 2 duo is that most of the benchmark applications are heavily optimised for SSE, and the core 2 duo executes 128-bit SSE instructions in one cycle, as opposed to two cycles with the Pentium IV and the AMD Athlon 64.

This is massively important as the core 2 duo can then operate on four 32 bit floating point numbers in one clock cycle instead of two.

Re:It's all about the cache... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083836)

a significant reason for the performance of the Core 2 duo is that most of the benchmark applications are heavily optimised for SSE

This is massively important as the core 2 duo can then operate on four 32 bit floating point numbers in one clock cycle instead of two.


It's funny that a database program like Oracle uses none of the floating point capabilities of these chips.

Re:It's all about the cache... (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083206)

AMD has been skimping lately on its cache.

Well, that's one way to look at it, another is that Intel has finally decided to unleash the flood gates on their own manufacturing and produce huge caches. Before the most recent generation of chips, Intel's desktop parts weren't sporting very big caches either. It was the Xeon MP and Itanium that were being granted gigantic caches -- I still maintain that Itanium's specfp score was mostly due to the amount of cache, since specfp 2000 should really be called speccache or specmem.

Anyway, Intel has the best fab tech in the industry, some of the best circuit designers, and the most fab capacity. Combine this, and it is economical for Intel to put big caches on all their parts, and they decided to start using that advantage. AMD can't afford to follow suit -- not only are their caches larger in die area for the same storage, they also don't have the capacity to produce huge chips. AMD is already fab limited.

This is why the recent IBM announcement about eDRAM is significant. AMD has a tech sharing agreement with IBM. If eDRAM is practical in AMD's 45nm process, then that could eliminate Intel's advantage in cache sizes.

Re:It's all about the cache... (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083398)

As others have pointed out, the AMD64 on-die mem controller means that memory access latency is significantly lower, making fetches from memory much faster and obviating the need for huge caches to make up for a cache miss. Again as has been pointed out, benches comparing the 512kB AMD64's to the 1MB AMD64's of the same clock and family typically show no difference, so cache is clearly not a bottleneck (except in the very few maths-eavy benches where the app fits entirely into a 1MB cache but not the 512k one).

Also, Intel's 4-core chips do not share cache; each dual core die has a cache that is shared between two cores so it would be correct to define these 8MB chips as having 2x4MB caches. Potentially big difference there, as an app that was running across all four cores would have to use a slower interconect in order for dies 0 and 1 to talk to dies 2 and 3. It also means that a single threaded process could not use more than 4MB of cache.

Increase bus speed (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082090)

Is AMD hoping that they can just keep increasing the multiplier until people forget that all that does is increase frequency and cause more cache page misses? Do people not remember when the processor that was increased in frequency by .2 Ghz through multiplying the clock, that it actually performed worse than it's predecessor that performed at bus speed? If AMD does not increase the bus speed they are always going to be playing catch up to Intel.

Re:Increase bus speed (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083404)

I'm sure an increase in bus speed is in the works.
The 200mhz speed represents a DDR speed of 400mhz, and until DDR2
this was the limit. DDR2 should offer a higher native bus speed
and AMD will probably get this to work by the time the 65nm parts
go mainstream. We can hope.

Re:Increase bus speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083450)

AMD already has a faster bus speed. Their on die memory controllers talk to the cores all the way up to dual PC2-9600, if you spend the money for them. That's 19.2GB/s. Even easy to get dual PC2-6400s give you 12.8GB/s. Intel's Core Duo chipsets only allow a 1066MHz FSB that only gets 8.5GB/s. You can see that Intel is behind in bus speed when the working set is larger than the caches, say over 6MB (the Intel quads have to go through the FSB twice and NB to get to the other die's L2). Then they work slower than even a 2GHz A64 X2. Heck in SPECfp_rate2000, a dual 2.6GHz Opteron 2218 outruns a dual 2.67GHz Cloverton Xeon 5355 by 12% (117 to 104). To get upto the Opterons, the Clovertons have to be overclocked to 3.33GHz with FSBs at 1667MHz just to allow Intel's 8 C2D cores to match AMD's 4 K8F cores. And that does not even account for the HT link(s) of the A64, X2 and Opteron. The former has 8GB/s on one link in addition to the 12.8GB/s from memory (20.8GB/s total almost 2.5 times that of single socket C2D). For Opteron, you get 3 6.4GB/s links plus 12.8GB/s memory for a total of 32GB/s, almost 4 times SS C2D.

No bus speed is where Intel is far behind. They need massive caches to make up for it and benchmarks that have small working sets that fit. Photoshop and Sandra are two of them.

Re:Increase bus speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18084724)

THe K8 architecture does not have a bus speed. It's connected to the rest of the system via Hypertransport, and the next real update (K8L) will have Hypertransport3, which has triple the capacity and is well over what Intel offers (the current version is indeed lagging behind Intel nowadays).

silly but ... (2, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082242)

Seems silly to release another 90nm part before the move to 65nm but keep in mind their are DIFFERENT LINES/TEAMS working at AMD. It's not like the production people working on retail 90nm parts are the same as the people testing new 65nm techniques.

AMD is just trying to get as much non-idle time out of the fab as possible before they move everything to 65nm.

It's the same reason why they make "el-cheapo sempron" parts and sell them AT A LOSS. It's better to lose a few bucks than a lot. And idle time in a fab costs a lot of money.

Tom

Re:silly but ... (1)

Bright Apollo (988736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082510)

I disagree. Idle time in any manufacturing operation can be viewed as an opportunity. For one thing, retooling to go to 65nm or 45nm or 30nm takes time, which might as well be spent earlier rather than later. Another consideration is maintenance, which is not retooling but repair and perhaps prep work for a future retooling effort if necessary.

Cranking out processors just to give people something to do is not really minimizing costs, unless you're paying people to be idle. Even then, the energy and raw material costs probably have their own break-even points that require x-number of CPUs to be sold before it becomes better to run the operation than not. Because this is a new CPU, some investment went into design and possible minor retooling anyway, so that determination was already made.

The fact remains, until 65 and 45nm procs emerge, and AMD moves to a shared cache, Intel will have the perf lead, period. These things happen, so it's best to put on your consumer hat and enjoy the fruits of competition... the zealotry has no place in business.

-BA

Re:silly but ... (4, Informative)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082620)

Several things:

1. They have several production lines. They make more than one CPU type at a time. They are capable of simultaneously producing/testing 65nm while making 90nm parts.

2. Idle time in a fab is a KNOWN COST HAZARD. I'm not making this up. It costs money to keep rooms clean, pay the interest on the debt, etc

3. Word on the street [when I was an AMD employee...] was the average processor cost ~60-80$ USD in raw materials/time/effort to make (assuming 100% yield). Yes, your opteron cost about the same to make (excluding yield problems) as that $50 sempron. So why make semprons if they lose money? Yes, I know I'm discounting yield which does contribute real cost to the processors. On the opteron side though, my take [personal op] was that most of the cost was to recoup the R&D not the production costs.

Point is, both AMD and Intel produce low end parts that cost money. Even in the Celeron line which they call "mistakes" (e.g. parts with broken caches) that's not entirely true and is misleading. Even if you made a defective cache, it costs more money to just throw the die out, then to package it as a celeron and sell it at a loss.

4. Intel cores are fast, but they're not the be-all. They still lack NUMA support which is handy in HPC environments (re: not your desktop). They're also not quite a strong in the ALU front (though from my crypto benchmarks are VERY VERY close).

I'm by no means an AMD fanboi. Hell, my desktop is a core2. But I still love my 2-way Opteron workstation and get it to do things that run circles around the core2 (like hosting 15 engineers running simulations/verifications/etc).

Buy what you need, not what some lame commercial on TV tells you. For many, the core2 is the best buy. It's fast, wicked low power and the cost isn't bad. For others, AMD is the better buy (cheaper) or simply more powerful (opterons).

Tom

LMAO this is ludicrous (0, Troll)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082302)

Even if we paid Indians $1 an hour, at a rate of even 100 transistors per hour, this would cost $2m to make one of them and this is not counting material. How many government agencies can afford that ?

You make incorrect assumptions (4, Interesting)

lcnxw (743741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082762)

The design and development of a processor has improved vastly since the days of borked multipliers. There are standard benchmark tests that engineers use to rate their designs in-house. If AMD chooses to go with smaller caches, I would imagine they have very good reasons.

Perhaps in order to keep good performance when communicating between caches they need to keep the number of memory addresses low so that the overhead stays low. They decided that separate caches was a better model, and they currently have to maximize performance with this design.

AMD might have favored their server market when choosing this design and separate cache works better for server machines. They may need to refine their architecture for the desktop market. Don't be so quick to accuse AMD of making cache mistakes without doing the math for find the theoretical best solution.

Pedant moment (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083114)

To comprise is to be composed of. The chip comprises 227 million transistors, or is composed of 227 million transistors.

This is one of the rare cases where a common misuse isn't just a gradual development of language; it actually reverses the sense of a word, replacing the relation of the whole to the parts with the relation of the parts to the whole.

Re:Pedant moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083422)

USAGE NOTE The traditional rule states that the whole comprises the parts and the parts compose the whole. In strict usage: The Union comprises 50 states. Fifty states compose (or constitute or make up) the Union. Even though careful writers often maintain this distinction, comprise is increasingly used in place of compose, especially in the passive: The Union is comprised of 50 states. Our surveys show that opposition to this usage is abating. In the 1960s, 53 percent of the Usage Panel found this usage unacceptable; in 1996, only 35 percent objected.

Re:Pedant moment (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083980)

The problem is, this isn't just a popularity contest. In some cases, an "objectionable usage" is just an extension to the language; it doesn't confuse, it just adds new options.

In this case, we have a word which is being used as its own antonym. That's not so great.

Damnit... they're making it confusing again... (2)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083224)

Sorry, but I haven't been keeping up to date with CPU's recently. Is the Athlon FX now a dual-core chip? It used to be only single core. And the core two extreme, I believe is a four core chip? (why they can't call it the Core 2 Quad, I do not know). Now, are all FX's dual core now? Or all AM2 FX's dual core? Back in my day they just slapped the clock speed on it... Yes I know, that's not an entirely accurate method of comparison, but at least it's simple!

Re:Damnit... they're making it confusing again... (1)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083762)

Good point.

Are we comparing AMD 2 cores with Intel 4 cores here?

If so then I humbly suggest that the test might just be a tad skewed.

Re:Damnit... they're making it confusing again... (2, Informative)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084446)

There's four basic AMD desktop chips these days. Here they are in order of performance, fastest first:
  • Athlon 64 X2 [amd.com] is their dual-core offering, available for Socket AM2 [wikipedia.org] and Socket 939 [wikipedia.org] motherboards.
  • Athlon 64 FX [amd.com] is their high-end single-core offering, available for Socket AM2, Socket 939, Socket 940 [wikipedia.org] , and Socket F [wikipedia.org] (server) motherboards.
  • Athlon 64 [amd.com] is their mid-range single-core offering, available for Socket AM2, Socket 939, and Socket 754 [wikipedia.org] motherboards.
  • Sempron [amd.com] is their low-end ("value") single-core offering, available for Socket AM2 and Socket 754 motherboards.
So, to answer your questions: Athlon FX's are not dual core (dual core chips will be labeled Athlon 64 X2), no matter what socket they use. Intel does have four-core offerings, and they do call them Core 2 Quads [intel.com] . The Core 2 Extreme [intel.com] is not necessarily a four-core chip; there are Core 2 Extreme Duo and Core 2 Extreme Quad flavors.

Benchmarks, smenchmarks... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083560)

Critical question here is whose compiler was used to compile the benchmarking programs??? and whether the benchmarks themselves were specifically compiled to take advantage of the instruction sets...

There's only one truly independent test available... and that's how long it takes to emerge a default Gentoo install with the compile options set to match the respective processors. Everything else should be as identical as possible.

Re:Benchmarks, smenchmarks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18084608)

Did you read the article? Do you understand the concept of a product review?
The benchmarks include stuff like Photoshop and Quake 4 and FEAR. Closed source software. You can't recompile them. People buy these processors to run these programs, and their performance at them is exactly the right benchmark to use when you're trying to make a value judgement about which to buy.
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