Articles: CPU

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The market activity of PC hardware manufacturers doesn’t seem to be abating with the beginning of the astronomical summer in the northern hemisphere. Just a few days ago the release of the new GeForce 7800 GTX graphics card from NVIDIA pushed the performance bar of top-end gaming systems higher and now AMD joins its force to raise this bar even higher by introducing the new processor for gaming systems. It is called Athlon 64 FX-57.

AMD and Intel had both explicitly expressed their intention to focus on dual-core processors, yet the new Athlon 64 FX-57 is a single-core processor. This fact reveals the targeting of this model at gaming applications that currently do not use multi-threading. We already proclaimed the Athlon 64 FX-55 the best gaming processor and its reputation has remained unchanged ever since, and now AMD wants to stress the strong points of its K8 architecture which still allows climbing up the frequency stairs. Intel in fact had long given up competing with AMD in this market sector. Having reached 3.8GHz frequency, Pentium 4 series processors went another way of development: this series has only been adding new features and increasing the L2 cache size in the last year and a half. Due to this reason as well as some architectural peculiarities, modern processors of the NetBurst architecture have long been unable to challenge the performance of the Athlon 64 in games.

Drawing the users’ attention to high-performance single-core processors, which have already come to be regarded by some as kind of obsolete, AMD emphasizes the fact that the choice between single- and dual-core architectures should be made depending on the specific tasks to be solved. There really is the problem of such choice today. As our tests of dual-core processors showed, the second core doesn’t bring any profit at all in a number of applications. Single-core processors, on their part, boast a higher clock rate and are often faster than their dual-core competitors.

The release of the new model in the Athlon 64 FX series brings certain changes into AMD’s product range. First, this release doesn’t stop the shipments of the previous model, Athlon 64 FX-55. The price of this previous model does not change ($827), while the new Athlon 64 FX-57 is going to cost $1031, which is higher than the price of the dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4800+. Thus, AMD is now offering four series of desktop CPUs, each consisting of at least two models: Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 and Sempron. It’s all more or less clear with the latter two series – these are middle-range and low-end products. As for Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 X2, these are products of the same top-end price category, but intended for different applications.

We want to mention one more thing: the release of the Athlon 64 FX-57 is not the last release of a single-core processor from AMD. This manufacturer officially confirms that they have no plans to make faster processors in the single-core Athlon 64 series the top model of which has a rating of 4000+, but these intentions do not cover the Athlon 64 FX series. As far as we know, new single-core processors in this series are going to come out in the next year, too. AMD will step up the frequency of the Athlon 64 FX at least one more time.

But we’re getting rather too far into the future. Let’s get back to the present day and see how the new Athlon 64 FX-57 is going to please the user. 
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