AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 And X2 5000+ Socket AM2, nForce 590 SLI & ATI RD580 - HotHardware

AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 And X2 5000+ Socket AM2, nForce 590 SLI & ATI RD580

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Market share is the name of the game in the Computing industry and AMD has been slowly chipping away at Intel's market share over the past few years, with the release of faster Desktop processor cores with significantly better performance per watt, clock-cycle and dollar.  AMD's performance advantage also has allowed the company to further expand market share in the Enterprise Server arena, as was recently ear-marked by Dell's announcement of an Opteron-based product line during their recent earnings call. Not to mention Sun's successes in the same market space with their Opteron-based Workstations and Servers. AMD has seemingly pulled off the impossible and has had Intel on the run for years now.  It's no secret that Intel has been throwing clock cycles and memory bandwidth at an aging and intrinsically limited core CPU architecture.

In an effort to bolster system performance, Intel made the move to higher bandwidth DDR2 memory years ago but it wasn't enough to catch the Athlon 64 architecture.  AMD didn't have the luxury (nor the need really) of supporting DDR2 memory, however.  The K8's integrated memory controller architecture, while offering significantly better latency characteristics, would have to be completely overhauled, which meant a significant core rip-up, if the Athlon 64 were to be able to interface to DDR2 memory.  It would take more justification of the business case to invest in "surgically removing" (as AMD likes to call it) the A64's DDR memory controller and retro-fitting it with a DDR2 controller.  This change would also require a socket and CPU pin-out change as well, so backwards compatibility for existing motherboards was not option.

That "business case" seems to be on the horizon today and rolling towards AMD fast, with the imminent release of Intel's Core Duo offering for the Desktop, based on their CPU core architecture code named "Conroe".  AM2's arrival is timely for AMD we feel, since it affords the company an opportunity to prime the channel with new technology and have it take hold with their partners before the Conroe wave hits.  For today though, it's all AMD again, with the debut of their socket AM2 line of Athlon 64 processors.  We'll take you through the ins and outs of two of the highest end SKUs currently in the AM2 Desktop line-up, the Athlon 64 FX-62 and Athlon 64 X2 5000+.

AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 And Athlon 64 X2 5000+ For Socket AM2
DDR2 Comes To The Athlon 64
Model:  Athlon 64 FX-62

Dual Athlon 64 FX Cores Clocked at 2.8GHz

_
._Frequency / Cache Sizes: 2.8GHz w/ 1MB L2 cache-per-core (2MB total L2 per processor)
_.
_L1 Cache Sizes: 64K - L1 instruction + 64K - L1 data cache per core (256KB total L1)
_.
_Memory Controller: Shared integrated 128-bit wide memory controller

AMD64 Instruction Set Architecture

Integrated DDR2 memory controller:
_
._FX and X2:
DDR2 memory up to and including PC2 6400 (DDR2-800) unbuffered
_.
_A64 and Semperon:
DDR 2 memory up to and including PC2 5300 (DDR2-667) unbuffered

An advanced HyperTransport link:
HyperTransport Links:  1
HyperTransport Spec:  2GHz (2x 1000MHz / DDR)
Effective data bandwidth:  20.8 GB/sec (8GB/sec HyperTransport link + 12.8GB/sec memory)


Large level one (L1) and level 2 (L2) on-die cache:
_._With 128 Kbytes of L1 cache and 1MB of L2 cache per core, the AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 and Athlon 64 X2 processors are able to excel at performing matrix calculations on arrays.

_._Programs that use intensive large matrix calculations will benefit from fitting the entire matrix in the L2 cache.

Fab location:
_._AMD's Fab 30 wafer fabrication facility in Dresden, Germany
Process Technology:
._.09 micron SOI (silicon-on-insulator)
_._Packaging: Socket AM2 organic micro-PGA

Packaging: 
._Socket AM2 organic micro-PGA
._Redesigned 4-bolt heatsink tray for better stability

Die Size:
_._Windsor Core - 230mm2

Transistor count:
_._Windsor Core - Approximately 227.4million

Nominal Voltage:
_._1.35V - 1.40v

Max Thermal Power:  125 W
Max Ambient Case Temp:  55-63 degrees Celsius
Max Icc (processor current):  90.4A
Min P-State (with C'n'Q):  1.0 GHz
Nominal Voltage @ min -state: 1.1V
Max Thermal Power @ min -state: 38.0W
Max Icc @ min -state: 31.8A



Model:  Athlon 64 X2 5000+

Dual Athlon 64  Cores Clocked at 2.6GHz

_
._Frequency / Cache Sizes: 2.6GHz w/ 512KB L2 cache-per-core (1MB total L2 per processor)
_.
_L1 Cache Sizes: 64K - L1 instruction + 64K - L1 data cache per core (256KB total L1)
_.
_Memory Controller: Shared integrated 128-bit wide memory controller

AMD64 Instruction Set Architecture

Integrated DDR2 memory controller:
_
._A64 FX and A64 X2:
DDR2 memory up to and including PC2 6400 (DDR2-800) unbuffered
_.
_A64 and Semperon:
DDR 2 memory up to and including PC2 5300 (DDR2-667) unbuffered

An advanced HyperTransport link:
HyperTransport Links:  1
HyperTransport Spec:  2GHz (2x 1000MHz / DDR)
Effective data bandwidth:  20.8 GB/sec (8GB/sec HyperTransport link + 12.8GB/sec memory)


Large level one (L1) and level 2 (L2) on-die cache:
_._With 128 Kbytes of L1 cache and 1MB of L2 cache per core, the AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 and Athlon 64 X2 processors are able to excel at performing matrix calculations on arrays.

_._Programs that use intensive large matrix calculations will benefit from fitting the entire matrix in the L2 cache.

Fab location:
_._AMD's Fab 30 wafer fabrication facility in Dresden, Germany
Process Technology:
._.09 micron SOI (silicon-on-insulator)

Packaging: 
._Socket AM2 organic micro-PGA
._Keyed Ziff socket
._Redesigned 4-bolt heatsink tray for better stability

Die Size:
_._Windsor Core - 183mm2

Transistor count:
_._Windsor Core - Approximately 153.8 million

Nominal Voltage:
_._1.3V - 1.35v

Max Thermal Power:  89 W
Max Ambient Case Temp:  55-70 degrees Celsius
Max Icc (processor current):  66.2A
Min P-State (with C'n'Q):  1.0 GHz
Nominal Voltage @ min -state: 1.1V
Max Thermal Power @ min -state: 31.0W
Max Icc @ min -state: 25.5A


In short, there are obvious physical changes to the Athlon 64, in terms of its new pin-out and socket, as well as changes under the hood, like its new DDR2 memory controller, hardware-level support for Virtualization and power consumption optimizations.  In addition, AMD has shifted gears a bit for its high end X2 series processor, opting to brand higher clock speeds but smaller cache sizes (512KB per core, versus 1MB per core in the 4800+) an Athlon 64 5000+ for the AM2 platform -- a bit of a reach perhaps for AMD and potentially confusing if nothing else.  Beyond its updated memory interface though, the Athlon 64 remains largely unchanged.

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