AMD's Athlon 64 processor

Insert Hammer pun here
— 11:01 AM on September 23, 2003

AT LONG LAST, AMD is ready to introduce its Athlon 64 processor to the world. This chip is the successor to the formidable K7 core, known to most as the AMD Athlon processor. The Athlon cemented AMD's place as a respectable second source for x86 processors, a position shakily established by the K6 before it. This time around, AMD has chosen to bolster the K7 core with a number of key internal enhancements and a radical reworking of the PC's internal plumbing. This new processor core, code-named Hammer, is intended to solidify AMD as a leader not just in desktops, but in servers and workstation, as well. AMD has even extended the x86 instruction set for the future with 64-bit extensions.

We've spent the past few weeks testing Hammer-based chips, including the Athlon 64 and its new big brother, the mighty Athlon 64 FX-51. Not only that, but Intel slipped us a Pentium 4 3.2GHz Extreme Edition processor at the last minute, and we've benchmarked it, as well—2MB L3 cache and all. We can honestly say we were blown away by the performance of these new chips. The future is now. Read up to see how good it can be.

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