March 18, 2004
6 months have passed since the initial release of the
AMD Athlon 64.
In September '03, AMD released two new desktop processors,
the Athlon 64 3200+ clocked at 2.0GHz and a premium
product dubbed the Athlon 64 FX-51, clocked at 2.2GHz.
The FX and standard Athlon 64 shared the same base
architecture, but with the FX-51 AMD kept the 128-bit
memory controller found in their Opteron line of server
CPUs intact. The standard Athlon 64's memory
controller is 64-bits wide and doesn't require the use of
registered DIMMs. The FX-51 was to be AMD's premium
product, targeted at hardcore enthusiasts who crave the
highest performance available. We took an in-depth
look at the new architecture, features and performance of
the Athlon 64 FX
in this launch article.
If you haven't already done so, please check it out, as it
contains a myriad of useful information pertaining to the
new processor we'll be looking at today, the AMD Athlon
Athlon 64 FX-53, AMD's engineers spent some time tweaking
their relatively new .13 micron Silicon On Insulator (SOI)
manufacturing process and were able to ratchet its clock
speed up to 2.4GHz, an increase of about 9% over the
already speedy FX-51. The excitement surrounding
AMD's Athlon 64 FX has also prompted memory manufacturers
to produce low-latency registered memory modules. As
things have matures for the Athlon FX, AMD has been able
to wring out a bit of extra performance and chipset
vendors have added features to the platform as well.
Read on and see what a little time and energy has done for
the Athlon 64 FX.
Specifications of the
Athlon 64 FX-53
It's An FX-51, Only Faster!
utilizing the AMD64 Instruction Set Architecture,
64-bit mode is designed to offer:
- Support for 64-bit
operating systems to provide full, transparent, and
simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit platform application
- A physical address
space that can support systems with up to one
terabyte of installed RAM, shattering the 4 gigabyte
RAM barrier present on all current x86
- Sixteen 64-bit
general-purpose integer registers that quadruple the
general purpose register space available to
applications and device drivers.
- Sixteen 128-bit
XMM registers for enhanced multimedia performance to
double the register space of any current SSE/SSE2
Integrated DDR memory controller:
- Allows for a
reduction in memory latency, thereby increasing
overall system performance.
advanced HyperTransport link:
- This feature
dramatically improves the I/O bandwidth, enabling
much faster access to peripherals such as hard
drives, USB 2.0, and Gigabit Ethernet cards.
technology enables higher performance due to a
reduced I/O interface throttle.
Large level one (L1) and level 2 (L2) on-die cache:
- With 128 Kbytes of
L1 cache and 1 Mbyte of L2 cache, the AMD Athlon 64
processor is able to excel at performing matrix
calculations on arrays.
- Programs that use
intensive large matrix calculations will benefit
from fitting the entire matrix in the L2 cache.
- A 64-bit address
and data set enables the processor to process in the
- Many applications
improve performance due to the removal of the 32-bit
Processor core clock-for-clock improvements:
- Including larger
TLB (Translation Look-Aside Buffers) with reduced
latencies and improved branch prediction through
four times the number of bimodal counters in the
global history counter, as compared to
- These features
drive improvements to the IPC, by delivering a more
efficient pipeline for CPU-intensive applications.
games benefit from these core improvements.
- Introduction of
the SSE2 instruction set, which along with support
of 3DNow! Professional, (SSE and 3DNow! Enhanced)
completes support for all industry standards.
- 32-bit instruction
AMD's Fab 30 wafer fabrication facility in Dresden,
0.13 micron SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
Die Size: 193mm2
Approximately 105.9 million
ATHLON 64 FX-53 TECH SPECS:
||64KB data +
64KB instruction = 128KB Total
128-bit wide memory controller
||PC1600 - PC3200
Registered DDR memory
||AMD's Fab 30
facility in Dresden, Germany
(.13-micron) Silicon on Insulator (SOI)
Approximate Transistor count:
Approximate Die Size:
Ambient Case Temp:
specifications above reveal that not much has changed
since the introduction of the FX-53, other than its
increased clock speed. The Athlon 64 FX-53 is
clocked at a default speed of 2.4GHz, an increase of
200MHz from the FX-51's 2.2GHz. The new FX-53 is
built using the same .13 micron Silicon on Insulator (SOI)
manufacturing process, uses the same 940-pin socket, and
is equipped with the same amount of on-die cache.
Essentially, what we have here today is simply a higher
clocked FX-51 - which of course, is a good thing.
virus protection coming to an Athlon 64 near you? -
Although, there isn't anything new to report on the
feature front, there is an existing feature that has
gotten some press as of late with the impending release of
Windows XP Service Pack 2. All Athlon 64 and Opteron
CPUs are enabled with AMDs Enhanced Virus Protection
feature, that will work in conjunction with the upcoming
Service Pack 2. What this feature does is render
some virus types, specifically buffer overrun exploits,
inoperable which in-turn prevents them from replicating
and infecting other systems. With the increasing
number of viruses and worms as of late, any feature
designed to help prevent them from spreading and to
provide a more secure environment is welcome in our book.
For more information on AMDs Enhanced Virus Protection,
check out this link.
A Closer Look at the