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AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 Processor Review

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Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD
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Introduction

When AMD launched the Athlon 64 FX-51 processor in September of last year with their desktop AMD64 processor releases, it was met with a mix of skepticism as well as praise.  It seemed to most hardware enthusiasts that the FX line was a last ditch effort to get the performance out of the Athlon 64 line that it needed in order to overtake the P4 line of processors.  The Athlon 64 FX line is basically a remarked Opteron processor, that had DDR400 support before the Opteron line, officially, but that hasn't stopped AMD from pushing it as their flagship desktop processor.  And for good reason -- its a hell of a performer.


Today, at CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, AMD is launching their next CPU in the line, the Athlon 64 FX-53 running at 2.4 GHz, 200 MHz faster than the previous iteration.  The FX line still features the 940-pin package with dual channel DDR support at DDR400 speeds.  However, registered DIMMs are still required and this can kind of damper the performance of the processor a bit.  But as you'll see from the benchmark numbers, it is still out running everything else available today.


What's to follow?


Unless you haven't been paying attention to any tech news sites for the past six months, you know that the Athlon 64 line of processors is on its way to a migration from the 940/754 pin packages to a new 939-pin package that will enable dual channel DDR support in the standard Athlon 64 line and rid the need for registered memory on the FX line of processors.  This will in turn allow motherboard manufacturers to design motherboards for the FX series with only 4 PCB layers instead of 6, cutting down on product cost and development time.  Also with this transition you will see the Athlon 64 line move away from having the full 1 MB L2 cache and move to the "Newcastle" core that supports 512 KB of L2 cache but with the dual channel memory instead of single channel.  This will actually prove to be a better performance enhancement as the number of cases where dual channel memory is beneficial out numbers the times that additional cache is beneficial, at least for the desktop processor and home applications.  Large databases may be a different story, but these are what most users are doing at home.


With that in mind, we'll step right into the benchmarks and see how this FX-53 processor is performing against competition from AMD and Intel.

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