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AMD Upgrades Hardware

Athlon64 Motherboards And Chips Compared 205

Posted by timothy
from the just-us-oranges dept.
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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Athlon64 Motherboards And Chips Compared

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  • Don't get socket 754 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkHelmet (120004) * <mark@seventhcBAL ... net minus author> on Monday January 26, 2004 @03:56AM (#8086225) Homepage

    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 :)

    • by lakeland (218447) <lakeland@acm.org> on Monday January 26, 2004 @03:59AM (#8086235) Homepage
      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.

      • by ctr2sprt (574731)
        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

        • by Dan Ost (415913) on Monday January 26, 2004 @09:29AM (#8087084)
          Upgradability was a problem back when software demanded more than hardware
          could provide, but now days, any computer you buy will have a processor
          sufficiently powerful to be useful for the majority of needs. Also, computers
          are so cheap that it rarely makes sense to put money into an older machine
          when a newer, more powerful machine is available for about the same price
          that it would take to upgrade the older machine.

          Of course, special needs require special hardware considerations, but that
          will never change.
        • What in the hell are you talking about?! The 64-bitness of these chips doesn't change upgradability in any way, shape or form!

          It's not like you can take any old Pentium 4 motherboard and drop the latest and greatest processor into it. The first P4 boards were socket 423, then came the socket 478 boards that only supported 400MT/s bus speeds, than the 533MT/s bus speed boards. None of these are capable of supporting the current 800MT/s bus speed P4s, even if they share the same socket, and they certainly
      • by MarcQuadra (129430) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:02AM (#8087287)
        Sorry, but after the initial shakedown, AMD is pretty stable in terms of their sockets and backwards compatability. I've had very recent Athlon Bartons running in boards several years old, KT-133 based boards. Hell, my main workstation is a KT-266a from 2000 with an Athlon-XP 2500+ in it. The FSB for the CPU is rated at 333 and I run it at 266, but it still WORKS. It's not like Intel, where every CPU upgrade has you shopping for a new mobo, power supply, and heatsink. I think Socket-939 will be around for a LONG time, like socket-7 and socket-a were.
    • 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
      • by Mr. Piddle (567882) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:13PM (#8089147)
        This is why a new home-built computer should use a middle-of-the-road CPU and have exactly half of its RAM slots filled. Then, that computer is not only cost-effective at the time of purchase, but it has a single guaranteed RAM and CPU upgrade down the line.

        Remember that CPU pricing is non-linear, where the current top-of-the-line generally has a very stiff price premium. One thing I did a while ago was to chart the price/MHz of a particular line of CPUs, then I bought the CPU right at the top of the linear range before the curve upward began.
    • by OverlordQ (264228) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:11AM (#8086262) Journal
      Humm I suppose I can't break off a pin to make my 940 Athon a 939 now can I? :)
    • by vollmerk (740066) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:14AM (#8086270) Homepage
      Everything always gets outdated... I'm still holding out on getting a car. I figure I'll wait for one of those quantum teleporters...
    • by steveha (103154) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:33AM (#8086328) Homepage
      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.

      steveha
      • by PReDiToR (687141) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:12AM (#8086801) Homepage Journal
        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.
        • 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?

          Of course I've sometimes swapped some parts around while upgrading. But since we usually don't upgrade our computers that often, by the time we do want a new computer it's easiest just to swap the whole computer.

          steveha
    • by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[@]gmai l . c om> on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:49AM (#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.
    • Actually, Anand's has shown that the single memory channel isn't much of a hindrance on AMD's chips, or rather, dual channel isn't very beneficial yet, at least on the 64 bit chips.

      I think the current biggest benefit of dual channel on AMD is being able to run more memory.
    • That is why I went with an Athlon64 Notebook instead

      http://www.elrosewood.com/archives/000014.html
  • Well..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by agent dero (680753) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:03AM (#8086249) Homepage
    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..... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 10Ghz (453478) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:31AM (#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..... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by steveha (103154) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:37AM (#8086343) Homepage
      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.

      steveha
    • Re:Well..... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:12AM (#8086548) Journal
      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.
    • 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.
    • Well..... I think you are very wrong. Apple runs the G5 in 32bit mode and one amd64 easily runs circles arround two G5's. (of the garden variety, as those Apple uses)

      If you need a real 64bit OS for amd64 try FreeBSD-5.2 if you are waiting for Microsoft, it will never happen. There are a number of really good 64bit OS's out there for other platforms like SPARC and Alpha. I've been using 64bit machines for years and they have total advantage over 32bit systems. If you use allot of commercial software then ru
  • by jeeves99 (187755) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:06AM (#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.
    • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:44AM (#8086362) Journal
      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.
    • 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].
  • by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:11AM (#8086261) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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 usi
      • 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.
    • by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[@]gmai l . c om> on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:04AM (#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.
      • "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 enoug

        • 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.
        • I am not an advanced Java programmer, as most of my coding is C or C++, sometimes asm. I was mostly referring to commercial Java applications I have used, such as JBuilder.
          SWING is so high level, I am really not sure how one could screw it up. Well, actually I take that back--Seibel Systems sells a trouble ticket package that gets GUI widget data from a remote server every time--when you click on a drop menu, when you open a list, etc. It does no caching, even if the values don't change for months. THAT is
      • 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.

        Then again, even a high end GeForce (because the Radeon wouldn't work with the AGP bus) won't make a P100 with 512MB of RAM and Windows XP Pro SP1 get over 14.5FPS on Q3A (if THG is to be believed - they usually aren't).
    • Just you wait till MS releases longhorn and your processor of today screatches to a halt...
    • by jmv (93421) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:21AM (#8086454) Homepage
      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.
    • 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).

      T

    • by poszi (698272)
      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 f

    • 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
  • Another article (Score:5, Informative)

    by ValourX (677178) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:14AM (#8086272) Homepage

    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.


    -Jem
    • 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.

    • Firebird will compile and work. It has some serious bugs and I eagerly await the next 'drop'. The latest Mozilla is a winner. Be sure to use mozilla-gtk or you will have frustrating problems like not being able to resize your browser window. This new Mozilla works well in 64bit mode. It is faster than anything you've seen and that is the browser I'm using now. Still a browser is for browsing, a mailer for mailing a newsreader for news, an IRC client or better, Unix talk or ytalk for chat, etc. The Firebird
  • by double-oh three (688874) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:14AM (#8086273)
    Would someone mind telling me the difference between the 939 pin and the 940 pin? What difference can that one pin make?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:15AM (#8086276)
    Let's see the Motherboards are about 8 inches square but the chips are much smaller ...
  • by rsborg (111459) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:20AM (#8086289) Homepage
    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?

    • by runderwo (609077) <{runderwo} {at} {mail.win.org}> on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:32AM (#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.

      • 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.
      • Entry price?

        Give or take an athlon 64 3000 is about the same speed as a p4 3.0. According to pricewatch:

        Athlon 64 3000: $211
        P4 3.0 Ghz: $259

        The motherboards are about the same price. I got a really nice one with 2 raid chips, gigabit ethernet, firewire, lots of usb ports, pci slots, etc. For $130.

        Granted, it's no $150 board/chip combo. But it's a near top of the line system for just over $300 + ram. I would have killed for these prices a few years ago. Not to mention with cpu speeds these days and it be
    • Will we ever have dual athlon64 goodness?

      Probably only if/when Intel brings out dual processor P4 systems. The market for dual-processor Athlon64 chips, when dual-Opteron's already exist, is pretty much zero. Sure, I'd like one and you would like one, but honestly 99% of the people buying computers won't even consider a dual-processor setup and those that do are mostly looking at the high-end (ie Opteron or Xeon).

      So, unless Intel makes dual-capable P4's a checklist item, AMD isn't likely to support

  • Are the apps there? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by leftie_hater (744932)
    Are there any apps that are 64 bits? Is there any reason at all to go 64bit?
  • No 64bit Linux OS??? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by _Pinky_ (75643) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:56AM (#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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:37AM (#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.
  • by gbulmash (688770) <semi_famous@yahooBLUE.com minus berry> on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:20AM (#8086565) Homepage Journal
    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
    • by The One KEA (707661) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:24AM (#8086578) Journal
      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.
  • by 386spart (725207) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:34AM (#8086857)
    Commodore already did it in the 80s!
  • Find a used, secondhand alpha system.

    Still most powerfull cpu for the clock, excellent support by all free unices, excellent hardware (DEC rules) ...

    Nice and hot (like most of today cpus), power hungry as well, usually comes in big boxes with enough room for all the case modding you want.
  • All they did was build a product spec matrix. Thats worthy of Slashdot? There is nothing in there we haven't known since the launch of Athlon 64.
  • by miracle69 (34841) on Monday January 26, 2004 @11:01AM (#8087709)
    specifically, if you want Serial ATA, stay away from boards with the Silicon Image 3x12 SATA controller. IT IS NOT LINUX COMPATIBLE under modern distros. Silicon Image advertises it as LINUX COMPATIBLE, as they have binary only drivers for Redhat 8.

    I was dissapointed that by Gigabyte K8A Pro motherboard had this chip on it and it DOES NOT WORK under Linux.

    But otherwise, the platform is nice.
  • What is the difference between an AMD64 and an AMD Opteron? I see advertisements for both, but can't find anywhere that tells me what the difference is. Thanks.
    • Re:AMD64 vs. Opteron (Score:2, Informative)

      by avenj (673782)
      AMD64 refers to the architecture (formerly x86-64). The two chips are the Athlon64 (desktops and notebooks) and the Opteron (workstations and servers -- mostly SMP-land). The Opteron (besides doing SMP, at least if you have a 2xx, 4xx, or 8xx) has more memory bandwidth. The current Athlon64 FX-51 is pretty much an Opteron 1xx.
    • Re:AMD64 vs. Opteron (Score:4, Informative)

      by Hoser McMoose (202552) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:39PM (#8089579)
      AMD64 is an instruction set, or more specifially, it is a 64-bit extension to the IA-32 instruction set (which, in itself, was an extension of the 16-bit x86 instruction set, and so on). AMD64 often goes by the name x86-64, which is the original name for the instruction set early on in the development cycle.

      The AMD Opteron is a processor that uses the AMD64 instruction set. It is designed for workstations and servers and can be used in a glueless SMP setup for up to 8 processors (>8 processors is possible but requires extra core logic chips to connect them together). It runs at clock speeds of 1.6GHz up to 2.2GHz (current top speed), has 1MB of L2 cache and 128-bit wide memory controller integrated onto the die, as well as 3 hypertransport links for interprocessor communication and I/O. It is marketed under model numbers such as 140, 246, 848, etc, with the first number indicating the maximum number of processors usuable in an SMP system (1xx chips for uniprocessor systems, 2xx for duals and 8xx for up to 8-way systems) and the second two numbers showing relative performance. Personally I am quite fond of this particular numbering scheme for the processors.

      The AMD Athlon64 is another processor that supports the AMD64 instruction set. It is designed for desktops and mobile systems, so it will not work in multiprocessor configurations. Currently it runs at 2.0 or 2.2GHz with 2.4GHz chips on the horizon. They have either 1MB or 512KB of L2 cache, depending on the model, either a 64-bit or 128-bit memory controller (again, depending on the model), and are sold using two main model numbe schemes. The first is for the stock-Athlon64, which are sold as 3000+, 3200+, 3400+, etc. These numbers show a rough approximation of their performance as compared to an Intel P4 running at the 3.0GHz, 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz (AMD may not say this officially, but it's fairly obvious that this is the intention of the model numbers). I don't like this model number scheme too much, but on the other hand I don't find it any better or worse than the totally useless clock speed (MHz or GHz) rating that is traditionally used to sell chips. The second model scheme is for the Athlon64 FX line of chips, a chip targeted at the high-end "enthusiast" market (read: bratty kid gamers with too much of their parents money on their hands). These chips are sold as the Athlon64 FX 51 and the upcoming Athlon64 FX 53, with the numbers merely referencing the relative performance of the chips.

      Hope that clears a thing or two up. For more information, RTFA!
  • by glinden (56181) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:50PM (#8088814) Homepage Journal
    Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com] has been running a great series of articles [tomshardware.com] reviewing motherboards for the Athlon64. ExtremeTech [extremetech.com] also has a good review [extremetech.com] of Athlon64 motherboards. And AnandTech [anandtech.com] recently wrote up a useful AMD 2004 CPU roadmap [anandtech.com].

    I've been looking at this a lot lately since I was just about to build a new box. Ultimately, I decided not to go with a Athlon64 (too expensive for the limited benefit), but I did find reading all these articles useful in making that decision.
  • Ok guys I have one CPU question that is yet to be answered. Aside from increase memory access and integer/float width. What could the possible advantage of a 64-bit 3D game have.

    I doubt any of the calculation in a modern 3D game would need variables as accurate or as large as 64bits. Thus how could there be any speed increase?

    Register size/Bus speed/hypertransport all can be added to current 32bit platforms. The introduction of 64bit instructions as far as I can tell will not offer any benefit to a gamer.
    • Ok guys I have one CPU question that is yet to be answered. Aside from increase memory access and integer/float width. What could the possible advantage of a 64-bit 3D game have.

      General 64-bit vs. 32-bit? Not much. In fact, the float width doesn't even change (it's always been 64 or 80-bit on PCs and most other architectures), just the integer width and larger memory access. Of course, AMD64 also doubles the number of integer registers (and makes them true general purpose registers, as opposed to th

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