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And Finally

When digesting these results it's important to remember that all tests were run in 32bit mode. We did preliminary testing with a beta version of Windows XP 2003 and we were able to see some quite remarkable performance increases, in the order of 300 percent, when applications had been compiled specifically for the Athlon 64.

It's worth noting that if you are intending to purchase an Athlon 64 in the hope that it will make your word processing or Internet browsing much faster you’ll be sorely disappointed. Although Sysmark's office productivity does show a creditable increase in performance over an Athlon XP 3200+, most people would be hard pushed to stretches the legs of a high-end processor through Word or Excel use.

Thanks to its integrated memory controller and support for dual channel DDR RAM we see an astounding PCMark 2002 memory score and while the hard disk drive was seen to be lacking, the option of RAID will be tempting to power users who want to increase performance further.

General graphics performance was very good on both systems thanks to the Radeon 9800 Pro however for anyone with a heavy OpenGL workload we recommend an upgrade to a workstation class graphics card.

If you currently own a high-end Athlon XP or Pentium 4 system there is very little in this new package to persuade you to part with your cash just yet. That doesn't mean the Athlon 64 FX-51 isn't an impressive bit of kit because it is, but until we see a 64bit version of Windows and more applications optimised for the Athlon 64, its performance over current high-end Pentium 4s and even Athlon XPs isn't enough to justify an upgrade.

Should you be considering the purchase of a brand new computer, then we whole heartedly recommend you put machines based on the Athlon 64 processor on your shortlist as everything we have seen tells us that not only will you have a very fast computer now, but the best is yet to come. When the crop of Athlon 64 optimised applications hit the shelves next year along with 64bit Microsoft Windows your Athlon 64 will shine brighter than the sun.

The full review of the Evesham Axis FX51 can be found here.

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