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Sharky Extreme : CPU Reviews & Articles December 18, 2006

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    Athlon 64 FX-60 Processor Review
    By Vince Freeman :  January 10, 2006

    Benchmark Analysis

    The system and game benchmark results are certainly conclusive, and place the Athlon 64 FX-60 right at the top of the performance food chain. This is especially true of system and media encoding tests, with the only big losses coming in memory bandwidth, where Intel and their 1066 MHz CPU bus speed and high-speed DDR2 take control. The game benchmarking was the real surprise, as the Athlon 64 FX-60 also proved its superiority there, using a combination of 2.6 GHz clock speeds and enhanced dual core video card drivers to achieve victory. There were certainly a few games where the Athlon 64 FX-57 was a bit faster, but the overall advantage definitely sits with the Athlon 64 FX-60. Even the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ is looking very impressive with these new drivers, and game framerates can actually push by the Athlon 64 FX-57 in some cases.

    The final verdict was not an overwhelming victory, but it's safe to say that with the emergence of dual core enhanced video card drivers, that the day of high-end, single core processors is over. Previously, a higher-clocked model like the Athlon 64 FX-57 could lay claim to the performance throne, and any dual core processor review had to be accompanied by a "lower game performance" disclaimer. That scenario is officially finished, and when a 2.4 GHz Athlon 64 X2 4800+ can compete with a 2.8 GHz Athlon 64 FX-57 in some games, you know that the dual core revolution is just starting to ramp up. The next step is multithreaded games, which are on the horizon, and that will herald a completely new level of hardcore gaming performance and features.

    Overclocking Results

    Since the Athlon 64 FX-60 is based on current 90nm Toledo core technology, we didn't really expect that much on the overclocking front. Then again, this model follows the Athlon 64 FX format of unlocked multipliers, so it's a bit easier to jack up core speeds without affecting other system components. Since the Athlon 64 FX-57 reaches 2.8 GHz speeds on a 90nm core, we tried that first and were able to hit the mark with very little effort and only a small voltage increase. Unfortunately, that was the end of the line with that overclocking avenue, and 3.0 GHz was not attainable with this reference CPU. We could move it up a bit more using standard bus speed increases, but unfortunately not much over 2.9 GHz.

    Power Consumption Testing

    The power requirements and consumption of high-end desktops is a definite concern, especially for those who build small form factor and low-noise systems, or buyers wanting to keep energy costs down. We took each of the reference systems and ran them through a Power Analyzer, and then received consumption figures (in Watts) for both Idle and Load scenarios. In order to keep the systems and results consistent, we used the same configuration for the AMD and Intel processors, along with the selection of peripherals listed on the Test Systems page. Hyper-Threading is enabled for supported processors, and the only change was to standardize on the i975X platform for the Intel testing, to ensure 100% comparable results.

    * Please note that the Athlon 64 X2 4600+ and 4200+ we tested with feature earlier Manchester core revisions, and show slightly higher power consumption than the newer Toledo models.

    The first test was performed at idle, after Windows XP had loaded, and all of the various software and hardware components had initialized. In this case, we see the AMD processors displaying very similar results at idle, and the 2.8 GHz Athlon 64 FX-57 actually posts the highest usage at 130W. The Intel systems are decidedly higher, moving all the way up to the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 at 179W.

    The second test changes the operating conditions from Idle to Load, and the SANDRA Multimedia CPU benchmark pushes processor usage to 100%, while ensuring that no extraneous hard drive or peripheral activity artificially ramps up the power consumption rates. The results using SANDRA are also incredibly consistent, with the wattage numbers remaining stable through the entire test. Now that the processors are humming at peak usage, the numbers start to follow along with core speed and design for the most part.

    Now it's the single core Athlon 64 FX-57 and Pentium 4-3.73 GHz EE posting the lowest usage in each group, while the dual core models post higher numbers. The 2.6 GHz dual core Athlon 64 FX-60 shows the highest power usage on the AMD end, but at only 189W, this is still well back from the Intel figures. One positive for Intel is the fact that the 65nm Pentium EE 955, even with Hyper-Threading, posts lower power consumption totals than both the Pentium EE 840 and Pentium D 840.

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    Page 1 The Athlon 64 FX-60 Processor
    Page 2 Test Setup and Benchmark Software
    Page 3 PCMark04 Pro Performance
    Page 4 PCMark05 Pro Performance
    Page 5 SANDRA 2005, ScienceMark 2 & CINEBENCH 2003 Performance
    Page 6 MPEG-1/2, DivX 6.1 and WME Encoding Performance
    Page 7 Quake 3, UT 2003 & UT 2004 Performance
    Page 8 DOOM 3, FarCry and Half-Life 2 Performance
    Page 9 3DMark 2005, AquaMark 3 & Halo Performance
    Page 10 Quake 4, Painkiller and CoR Performance
  • Page 11 Benchmark Analysis, Overclocking, and Power Consumption
    Page 12 Value and Conclusion

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