AMD Cont.

Obviously AMD is pushing the fact that the new Socket 939 platform brings dual channel memory support to the Athlon 64 and allows the FX range to use standard memory instead of ECC modules. It also means that the FX range of CPUs can use four-layer motherboards instead of six-layer ones, which should bring the cost down for the end user. Of course reading that you’ll probably be wondering how the FX range can stay ahead of the standard Athlon 64 now with dual channel memory support for both platforms. Well, one way that AMD has tried to keep the divide is by cutting the Athlon 64 cache in half – only the FX range will have 1MB of cache now.

The benchmark numbers that AMD was quoting showed the FX-53 chip being roughly 10 per cent faster than the 3500+, which is fair enough. However, our tests showed that the 3800+ is so close to the performance of the FX-53 that it’s not really worth the extra cash. That said, if you are a hardcore gamer or PC enthusiast, even a one or two per cent increase can be justifiable, and it’s these users that the FX-53 is aimed at.

Microsoft was also in evidence talking about Windows XP 64bit edition and showing support for AMD. But even when Windows XP 64bit edition arrives, we’ll still be waiting for all our favourite applications to be recompiled in 64bit before Athlon 64 users will see the true benefits. Bizarrely, as I was writing the last sentence, the Microsoft speaker produced a slide detailing how MS will be helping all application developers to port their code to 64bit. If this actually happens and the transition to 64bit computing comes sooner rather than later, it could put AMD in a very strong position.

Next up were testimonials from both Asus and MSI talking about past, present and future support for the Athlon 64 platform. MSI announced that it will be implementing AMD based notebooks in the future in order to support the entire Athlon 64 line.

Finally a procession of partners invaded the stage from ATI, nVidia, SiS, VIA, ServerWorks and UL. In a slightly strange ceremony, each company representative brought with them a “piece of a puzzle” which was placed around an AMD 64 logo up on stage – the result being a completed puzzle with the AMD 64 logo at the centre.

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