AMD Quad FX platform turned out far from what we have expected. Although this way AMD intended to respond to Intel’s quad-core processors launch, this response turned out quite strange I should say.
First of all, the performance of a dual-processor platform built with two dual-core Athlon FX processors turned out lower than that of the competitor’s solutions built on quad-core Kentsfield CPUs. We have seen this in all test applications throughout the entire session.
Secondly, Quad FX platform is often slower than the regular Socket AM2 system with a single CPU because of the higher memory subsystem latency. NUMA technology that proved highly efficient in servers turned out to do more harm than good in the desktop space.
Thirdly, from the performance-per-watt prospective Quad FX platform loses not only to Intel Kentsfield based solutions but to all other platforms as well. The sky-high heat-dissipation and power consumption of this platform also set specific requirements to power supply units, system cases and system cooling.
In other words, AMD Quad FX will most likely appeal only to the most dedicated AMD fans. For everyone else this platform will most likely be none other but a unique desktop system prototype showing the possibility (or maybe even uselessness) of introducing AMD’s server technologies into the desktop sector. Although we cannot deny that the upcoming AMD processors based on promising K8L micro-architecture will give new meaning to the exciting Quad FX concept.
True, all the drawbacks we have listed in relation to the AMD Quad FX platform in this article have primarily to do with the Athlon 64 FX processors. As for the platform as a new concept, then it shouldn’t be underestimated. Of course, the today’s AMD processors based on old K8 micro-architecture and manufactured with 90nm production process have hard times competing with Intel’s solution built using the newest Core micro-architecture. Therefore, once AMD refreshes its Athlon 64 FX product family by switching to finer 65nm process and introducing promising K8L micro-architecture, Quad FX platform may acquire new meaning. In fact, we have nothing against the dual-processor desktop concept. Especially since the drawbacks connected with the incorrectly working NUMA technology will most likely disappear next year when we all transition to new Windows Vista OS. Therefore, as soon as AMD provides the market with new CPUs boasting competitive power consumption and heat dissipation levels. Quad FX platform will certainly become an excellent high-performance solution for wealthy computer enthusiasts. Well, let’s just wait: our patience should be rewarded.