Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
AMD Upgrades Hardware

Athlon64 Motherboards And Chips Compared 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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Athlon64 Motherboards And Chips Compared

Comments Filter:
  • 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 []

    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.

  • by jhunsake ( 81920 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:16AM (#8086279) Journal
    OS X is 32-bit. Nice try.
  • Re:Another article (Score:4, Informative)

    by ValourX ( 677178 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:28AM (#8086313) Homepage

    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.

  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:33AM (#8086331)
    939 = Single-CPU only. 512KB of L2-cache, 128bit mem-controller

    940 = 1-8 CPU's. 1MB of L2-cache, 128bit mem-controller.
  • by ValourX ( 677178 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:40AM (#8086347) Homepage

    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.

  • by The One KEA ( 707661 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:41AM (#8086355) Journal
    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.
  • 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.
  • by Sivar ( 316343 ) <charlesnburns[ AT ]gmail DOT com> 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.
  • by ctr2sprt ( 574731 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:57AM (#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: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.
  • 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 sangfroid ( 63845 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:44AM (#8086877)

    For example:

    I've been using Gentoo's amd64 stuff for a little while on my new Shuttle Box []. 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 [] from Pogo [] 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 [] 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.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:54AM (#8086906) Journal
    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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by glinden ( 56181 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:50PM (#8088814) Homepage Journal
    Tom's Hardware [] has been running a great series of articles [] reviewing motherboards for the Athlon64. ExtremeTech [] also has a good review [] of Athlon64 motherboards. And AnandTech [] recently wrote up a useful AMD 2004 CPU roadmap [].

    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.
  • by Hoser McMoose ( 202552 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:56PM (#8088923)
    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 aren't going to support the LGA775 P4's that Intel will be introducing in the next 3-6 months.

    If you want to buy a new processor you almost always need to buy a new motherboard and new memory to go along with it, particularly if you're talking about upgrading more than a year after the initial purchase. The Athlon64 doesn't change this one bit. Current Socket 754 boards will be supported for about another year with upcoming chips, socket 940 boards will be supported for at least that long with Opteron chips (which are the same price as the Athlon64 FX), and the first batch of Socket 939 boards probably won't support new chips produced more than a year into the future anyway.
  • by Tarqwak ( 599548 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:05PM (#8089046)
    939 won't be 512 kB L2 cache only, the 939 pin Athlon 64 FX series will have 1 MB L2 and cheaper Athlon 64 will have 512 kB L2 (both will have dual channel memory controller), also 939 pin Athlon 64 will get 1 GHz HyperTransport bus, soon enough die shrink to 90 nm (currently 130 nm) and will not require registered/ECC DDR memory. It's been covered in The Reg/The Inq for many times.

    940 pin Athlon 64 FX-51 was just rebranded Opteron, Socket 940 will remain Opterons domain, single channel DDR Socket 754 will be probably targeted for mobile and other low power devices.

    Intel 90 nm Prescott core wont run on every Socket 478 mobo (because of the sky high current requirements) and next year you'll have to get a Socket T (775 pin LGA) mobo for newer Prescott or its successor Tejas core.

    AMD went from: ... -> Socket 7 -> Slot A -> Socket A -> Socket 940 -> Socket 754 -> Socket 939

    940 & 939 have a bright future.

    Intel went from: ... -> Socket 7 -> Slot 1 -> Socket 370 -> Socket 370 (FC-PGA) -> Socket 423 -> Socket 478 -> Socket 478 (Banias) -> Socket 478 (Prescott) -> Socket T

    Socket 478 (Banias) & Socket T have some sort of future.

  • Re:AMD64 vs. Opteron (Score:2, Informative)

    by avenj ( 673782 ) <> on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:31PM (#8089436)
    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!

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.