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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."
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Athlon64 Motherboards And Chips Compared

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  • by lakeland ( 218447 ) <> 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 eyempack ( 239017 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:02AM (#8086243) Homepage
    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 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.
  • Re:Another article (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:29AM (#8086316)
    Whether they work or whether they work faster or better are two different things.
  • 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.
  • by runderwo ( 609077 ) <runderwo&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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:00AM (#8086407)
    There are still many tasks for which there isn't enough computing power for. Factoring large prime numbers, encoding/editing video, rendering 3D graphics, applying audio filters, etc...

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

    If you're happy with your old processor, keep using it. No one is going to take it away from you. Chances are, you'll start to see the benefit from more powerful processors and applications that take advantage of what they can do and you'll upgrade just as you probably have in the past. You're not still using an abacus are you?
  • 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.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:06AM (#8086537) Journal
    So the G5 has a 32 bit OS, which is obviously far better than the Athlon 64 having a 32 bit OS ;)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So basically all I'm saying is: the right tool for the right job. For some of us the Mac is just _not_ the right tool. Our choice is simply "Pentium 4 or Athlon 64".
  • by Cesare Ferrari ( 667973 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:08AM (#8086691) Homepage
    Athlon 64 runs rings around a G5? Really? Have you got both to demonstrate this, or is this from reading reviews on the web?

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

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

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

    I'd be very interested in running this build on an Athlon 64 - that'll still be a 32 bit test, but it would be interesting for me to see the benefits of the on chip memory interface. Rebuilding for 64 bits might take a while since the code is large (and ugly). Anyone with a spare 5 minutes willing to run a binary for me?
  • by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:24AM (#8086713)
    Except that the Athlon XP-2500 isn't an Athlon64. It's a budget chip - it's around 65GBP here in the UK (probably $65 in the US, grumble grumble). I don't think you'd get very much of a G5 for that.
    Just because they run at the same frequency doesn't mean you can compare their performance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 shamino0 ( 551710 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @04:10PM (#8091772) Journal
    These days, hardware has way outpaced the software's ability to use it... I mean, when's WinXP for 64-bit Athlons coming out? This summer/fall or something? Why would you even consider buying hardware before the software is even available? Either wait, and the hardware prices of what you want today will drop, or get something cheaper (and in this case 32-bit, and save your money!)

    Gee, this sounds familiar.

    How many years were 286 systems shipping before anybody shipped a mainstream OS to take advantage of it? When OS/2, Xenix and other 286-savvy operating systems shipped, how many of us chose to stick with MS-DOS and use the chip as a fast 8088?

    How many years were 386 systems shipping before anybody shipped a mainstream OS to take advantage of that? How many years were 386's and 486's available before the market finally decided to move from DOS to Win95 and WinNT?

    So I don't think it's at all strange if the market ends up using 64-bit processors as little more than fast 386's (the way most use Pentium-class systems right now) for several more years before finally deciding to use a 64-bit OS. And this is the way it should be - the average user has more than enough processing power to do everything he needs - e-mail, web surfing, MS Office, etc. Why should they switch to something new and relatively unproven just because it will take better advantage of their new hardware?

    Us /.'ers who like to live on the bleeding edge may decided to move now (probably using some flavor of UNIX), but the rest of the world will take much longer to make that switch. This is the way it's always been, and I see no sign of anything being different this time around.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.