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The use of not synthetic, but regular 32bit applications for Windows XP 64Bit Edition will require from the operation system a few extra actions aimed at the organization of proper work with 64bit drivers and the environment. The examples are all here already. Just taken a look at the results obtained for our standard 32bit benchmarks ran in Windows XP 64Bit Edition:

 

Win32, 32-bit .exe

Win64, 32-bit .exe

ScienceMark 2.0, Molecular Dynamics Benchmark, sec

79.77

84.73

ScienceMark 2.0, Primordia, sec

378

385.67

ScienceMark 2.0, Cipher, sec

12.19

12.52

3ds max 5.1, Final Rendering, Underwater, sec

267

273

3DMark2001 SE, Default

18912

15346

Quake3 (four), High Quality, 1024x768x32

451.5

75.1

Unreal Tournament 2003 (dm-antalus), 1024x768x32

86.38

77.32

Well, this is very sad but 32bit applications work slower in 64bit Windows XP version. In fact, we could blame NVIDIA for the not very successful 3D performance, because they haven’t yet finalized their graphics driver for the Win64 platform (this is evidently proven by the performance hit in Quake3). However, in ScienceMark 2.0 the results are not at all dependent on the drivers. Nevertheless, we do notice about 6% performance reduction when we shift to Windows XP 64Bit Edition.

If they do not eliminate this drawback in the ongoing versions of Windows XP 64Bit Edition, then the 64bit mode of the new AMD CPUs as well as the Windows XP 64Bit Edition solution will have really hard times. The users will not shift to this platform without any serious reason, such as the faster 64bit application versions providing really critical performance differences. For example, 3D games of multimedia files processing software.

Conclusion

Well, it is pretty hard to sum up all our conclusions in a few words. Nevertheless, we will give it a try. Both major processor manufacturers, Intel and AMD, decided to introduce their new processor families for enthusiastic users, which in the first place include hardcore gamers. Now those of you who belong to this category will have to choose between AMD Athlon 64 FX and Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition.

As for the today’s newcomer, the freshly announced Athlon 64 FX-51 processor, this is the first CPU with AMD64 architecture for the desktop systems. Being in fact an analogue to the Opteron processor with 2.2GHz core frequency, AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 really performs very fast and defeats in most benchmarks Pentium 4 3.2GHz, which used to be the fastest desktop CPU until today. With a dual-channel memory controller, the total of 1152KB cache memory and SSE2 instructions support, Athlon 64 FX-51 became much faster than its predecessor: Athlon XP 3200+.

Moreover, we should also mention AMD64 technology implemented in the new AMD processor. The use of 64bit applications, which haven’t yet come to the market, though, should theoretically make AMD platforms much more attractive. In this respect we can only hope that Microsoft and software developers will do a great job on that, as the 64bit mode of the new AMD processors boasts a really impressive potential.

Intel responded to the Athlon 64 FX-51 announcement with the launch of Pentium 4 Extreme Edition CPU working at 3.2GHz and featuring 2MB L3 cache. This relatively simple move allowed Intel to improve its CPU performance in real applications by the good 15%, even though the average performance boost equaled only 3.5%. L3 cache proved most efficient in gaming applications, which once again confirms the positioning of this processor for the gaming market in the first place. The announcement of the new Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.2GHz CPU, which should actually start selling in mass quantities only within the next month or two, has every chance to give some causes for concern to the Athlon 64 FX-51 processor. Especially, since Hyper-Threading technology supported by the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition CPU and featuring huge potential for further performance increase will very soon find its way into games.

So far the situation in the market looks as follows. Intel’s new CPU copes better than its AMD rival with streaming data processing and multimedia files encoding. Also, it appears quite efficient for multi-threading tasks, such as 3ds max or Photoshop. The newcomer from AMD, however, proved really fast in scientific tasks and office. If we make some additional allowances, we will be able to state its leadership over the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition even in contemporary 3D games.

And in conclusion I would like to say a few words about the further prospects of the new Athlon 64 FX and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor families. Both product lines are currently manufactured with 0.13micron production process (AMD also uses SOI). These production technologies have already exhausted the frequency potential behind them, which we clearly see from the overclocking results. The maximum frequency we managed to squeeze out of Pentium 4 Extreme Edition CPU reached 3.6GHz (the Vcore for both of them was increased by 0.1V), while Athlon 64 FX-51 got just a little below 2.4GHz. It means that all ongoing processor models in these product families will have to be made with the new 90nm technology. Therefore, the further success of the new Pentium 4 Extreme Edition and Athlon 64 FX will have a lot to do with the successful transition to 90nm technology. 
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