AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 Processor -
Inside the processor
For the last couple of months, all we've heard about is dual-core processors. Intel is hectically pushing the Pentium-D and Pentium-XE processors as their top of the line desktop solutions, whereas AMD's Athlon 64 X2 and Opteron dual core processor line ups are dictating the gaming and server market. This is the first ever dual-core FX processor released.
Dual core is still not kicking in big-time though. Despite the two cores it is really hard to notice the real difference in performance. It's not that the dual-core can't double your performance, it's the way applications (software) are programmed and developed. Most software including pretty much any game is a single threaded application. So a large amount of the time a game utilizing a the processor will result into one of the dual-core cpu's pretty much sitting on it's ass and do nothing. A major loss of valueble and needed performance for sure.
Exactly this is the disturbing factor which is key in the slow sales of dual-core technology. We simply need software written in a way that it can utilize both cores and only then well start noticing the raw performance of dual-core technology. Some applications are ready for this and we'll show a couple of them in our benchmarks. Single core processors have irrefutably lost a good deal of their magnetism due to development of dual-core technology though, as the level of enhanced multi-threaded application performance of dual core processors are winning over users worldwide. People are finally getting a taste of what all server administrators have known for a long time, two is better than one, at least when it comes to processors.
Let's talk business and compare the current series of FX processors.
Right then, the FX-57 as stated is today's fastest single-core processor for the consumer market. The FX-60 the fastest AMD dual-core processor for the consumer market.
There are quite a few FX processors in AMD's FX series ever since it was launched a while ago. The first FX processor was the FX-51 with a Socket 940 design similar to the Opteron series. Let's look at the history of the FX releases:
|CPU||Internal Clock||L1 Cache||L2 Cache||Socket||Hyper Transport||Cores||DDR Dual Channel|
|Athlon 64 FX-51||2.2 GHz||128 KB||1 MB||940||800 MHz||One||Yes, Registered|
|Athlon 64 FX-53||2.4 GHz||128 KB||1 MB||940||800 MHz||One||Yes, Registered|
|Athlon 64 FX-53||2.4 GHz||128 KB||1 MB||939||1 GHz||One||Yes|
|Athlon 64 FX-55||2.6 GHz||128 KB||1 MB||939||1 GHz||One (Clawhammer)||Yes|
|Athlon 64 FX-57||2.8 GHz||128 KB||1 MB||939||1 GHz||One (San Diego)||Yes|
|Athlon 64 FX-60||2.6 GHz||2x128 KB||2x1 MB||939||1 GHz||Two (Toledo)||Yes|
As you can see it seems that only the clock frequency of the new FX-60 was decreased a little, below the FX-57. 2x 1 MB of L2 cache and SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator) is what makes the Toledo core what the FX-60 is (code) named after. Throw in SSE3 to the mix of x86 ISA enhancements that AMD's flagship dual-core CPU supports and you have one of the fastest processors to date.
Temperature & Tweaking
Before we startup a series of tests and benchmarks we always tell a little about CPU temperature, and believe it or not, this might differ per system. Heatsinks, ambient heat, voltage levels of the mainboard there are some many factors influencing your CPU temperature. Just like its little sister, the 4000+ and bigger brother the FX-57 this processor ran with the standard supplied (boxed) cooling well within acceptable limits. In idle you can expect a 35 Degrees C temperature and when stressed (Sandra Burn-In test) it peaked at merely 58 Degrees C and that's with traditional air cooling.
I already stated that the multiplier is unlocked, which has some advantages. It amazed me to see that the CPU has a little headroom. AMD CPU's are hard to overclock with our mainboard though.
With air-cooling and a little fiddling around getting to first base, we hit ~2.8 GHz. So basically what we did was increasing the core Voltage, changed the multiplier and HTT. Mind you that you'll need a mainboard that can actually handle some decent overclocking, very important. But when successful, hey you have it running at FX-57 speeds yet with dual-core.
Power consumption of the FX-60 is quite alright. AMD has been working on some pretty impressive power saving functions. A compete PC in idle uses up roughly 125 Watts, when we stress both cores on the processor we see the consumption rise towards 200 Watts. So that's not that bad at all and for dual-core technology quite efficient.
Right then, let's insert the processor, fire up that little test-rig of ours and benchmark the bejesus out of it shall we?
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AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 Processor
Three weeks ago AMD decided to unleash a new processor onto the high-end market. Of course we are talking about the new AMD Athlon 64 FX-60, the first ever dual-core processor in the high-end FX range of processors for the enthusiast PC users and gamers.