Upside: Now that AMD's highest-end processor is dual core, we can paint a more straightforward desktop CPU picture. It was previously hard to explain that the Athlon 64 FX-57 was only a single-core CPU yet cost $200 more than AMD's top-of-the-line dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4800+. Now gamers and enthusiasts that invest in an ultra-high-end FX-60 chip can take advantage of all the forthcoming games and applications due to incorporate multicore optimizations. But the FX-60 is not merely an insurance policy for the future; our early tests show the FX-60 is lightning-fast on today's apps, as well.
|BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating||BAPCo SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating||BAPCo SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating|
|Half-Life 2 1,024x768, no AA no AF|
On our current suite of single-core and multithreaded benchmarks, the Athlon 64 FX-60 beats all other desktop chips on almost every test, including Intel's new Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 955 introduced at the end of December (the lone exception is a statistical tie with the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ on Half-Life 2). Of particular note are our DivX 6.1 tests. The recent update to that application saw the introduction of multithreaded code. While Intel's Extreme Edition 955 chip did well on the straight video encoding, it couldn't compete with the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ on multitasking. The Athlon 64 FX-60 not only beat Intel's chip by a larger margin on the multitasking, it also trumped the Extreme Edition 955 on the encode portion. We're curious to see how both of the new chips will perform on upcoming multithreaded games designed to take advantage of dual-core CPUs processing threads, but the early results favor AMD as strongly now as they did a few months back in our dual-core CPU prizefight.
|Sorenson Squeeze 4||Apple iTunes 22.214.171.124||Adobe Photoshop CS|
|Multitasking--McAfee VirusScan and DivX 6.1 encoding||DivX 6.1 encoding|
Downside: As is often the case with new hardware introductions, the FX-60 is not immune to quirks. We received a number of FX-60 PCs in the weeks leading up to the end of the press embargo. All of them were overclocked, some more aggressively than others, but they all had trouble getting through our tests. Some vendors claim the troubles have to do with Nvidia's graphics drivers, others point to conflicts with Windows. We have faith things will sort themselves out eventually, but since the Athlon 64 FX-60 is ostensibly a gamer's chip, those problems will likely give pause to the early adopting gamers most likely to purchase it at launch.
Outlook: Assuming the Athlon 64 FX-60 will soon learn to play nice in the larger computing ecosystem, our early take is that AMD's desktop performance dominance continues. That said, we're only now starting to see the true proliferation of multithreaded apps that can take advantage of a dual-core CPU. We'll revisit our benchmarks accordingly soon, at which point we can present the full dual-core CPU picture.
AMD test bed:
Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard; Nvidia Nforce-4 SLI chipset; Crucial 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX (PCIe); WDC WD740GD-00FLA2 74GB 10,000rpm SATA; Windows XP Professional SP2; Antec 550w power supply
Intel test bed:
Intel 975X Express chipset motherboard; Intel 975X Express chipset; Crucial 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX (PCIe); WDC WD740GD-00FLA2 74GB 10,000rpm SATA; Windows XP Professional SP2; Antec 550w power supply