AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 - Finally, An Enthusiast's Dual Core

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Test System & System Power Characterization

 

How we configured our test systems: When configuring the test systems for this review, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High-Performance Defaults."  The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows XP Professional (SP2) was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we installed the drivers necessary for our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were then disabled, and we set up a 768MB permanent page file on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance," installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drives, and ran all of the tests.

Test System Specifications
"Intel & AMD Inside!"
SYSTEM 1:
Pentium Extreme Edition 955
(3.46GHz)
Pentium Extreme Edition 840
(3.2GHz)
3.73GHz Pentium Extreme Edition

Intel "BadAxe" Motherboard
(i975x Chipset)

2x512MB Corsair DDR2-667
CL 3-2-2-8

GeForce 7800 GTX
On-board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP2
Intel INF 7.2.2.1006

NVIDIA Forceware v81.95
DirectX 9.0c
SYSTEM 2:
AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 (2.6GHz)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+
(2.4GHz)
AMD Athlon 64 FX-57
(2.8GHz)

Asus AN832-SLI
(NVIDIA nForce 4 SLI X16)

2x512MB Corsair PC3200
CL 2-2-2-5

GeForce 7800 GTX
On-board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP2
nForce 4 Drivers v6.82
NVIDIA Forceware v81.95
DirectX 9.0c
System Power Characterization
Affects of CPU power consumption in total system power requirements

Before we got down to performance testing of AMD's new high-end dual-core CPU, we wanted to do a bit of power characterization of the product.  Power consumption and heat dissipation continues to be a growing concern in modern computing, as chip complexity and die sizes grow.  Process technology enhancements can only stem the tide of power consumption so much, if along with those enhancements, additional resources are added to the architecture again increasing die area.  And so, below we'll show you a total system power consumption characterization with AMD's latest high-end processor cores based on their 90nm SOI process technology and we have compared them to a similarly configured Intel architecture-based system and their new 65nm Presler dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition 955 processor, Extreme Edition 840 dual-core and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition single core CPUs based on 90nm Intel process technology. 

Here we've listed two measurements for the Athlon 64 FX-60 driven system, one with AMD's Cool-n-Quiet power savings technology activated and one without.  Cool-n-Quiet technology must be switched on in a BIOS menu option and also it's not advisable to try overclocking the CPU with Cool-n-Quiet enabled, due to the voltage fluctuations and automatic adjustments the core makes on its own.  Regardless, we're not sure many performance enthusiasts will be running in Cool-n-Quiet mode but here you can see the affects of it on total system power consumption.

Which brings us to an important data point with the above test measurements.  The power consumption listed above is indicative of total system power requirements, configured with as many identical components as we could possibly put together.  The graphics card used in our test systems was an NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX, other than that motherboards, system memory, even system on-board audio solutions were all different.  For example, the Intel-based systems were all configured with the required DDR2 DRAM, versus standard DDR that is required on the AMD based systems.  Again, please check our test system setup specs on the top of this page to see how each complete test system was configured, before assessing the data in the chart above.

The quick-take on the data we've show here, is that, at full load, the latest dual-core Athlon 64 FX-60 and Athlon 64 X2 4800+ consume approximately 15 - 17% less power than Intel's latest 65nm dual core CPU, the Pentium Extreme Edition 955.  At idle, unless AMD's Cool-n-Quiet is enabled, the latest Athlon 64 FX-60 consumes about 5% more power than the Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955.  On the other hand obviously, with Cool-n-Quiet enabled, the Athlon 64 FX-60 shows a 20% lower power consumption advantage versus Intel's new Presler core CPU.

In this analysis we've given you a snapshot of power consumption over time, from an idle state running Windows XP's desktop GUI, to a fully loaded state with Prime 95 and Folding At Home clients loaded.  As you can see, the dual-core Athlons show significantly more total power consumption versus the FX-57, and with twice the processing resources under the hood, it's not surprising.


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