AMD’s Opteron 148 and 248 processors

IF YOU HAVE BEEN following these things at all, you probably know that AMD introduced its Athlon 64 FX chip last month to great fanfare. This new processor took our benchmark suite by storm, beating out the Pentium 4 3.2GHz by some downright embarrassing margins in many tests. Intel struck back preemptively with its Pentium 4 3.2GHz Extreme Edition, but now that we know that product’s actual, heart-stopping price, the P4 EE looks more like a stunt than an actual option for purchase. In my view, the Athlon 64 FX reigns as the fastest x86 processor in the desktop market.

Even so, the Athlon 64 FX and the P4 EE share a common heritage: they are plucked from the top end of each manufacturer’s professional workstation/server lineup of chips. Specifically, the Athlon 64 FX-51 is a 940-pin chip nearly identical to an Opteron, with the exception that it runs at 2.2GHz. Before today, the fastest Opteron ran at 2.0GHz. No more. The Opteron 148 chip arrives at 2.2GHz as the workstation equivalent of the Athlon 64 FX. The 248 and 848 models, meanwhile, raise the prospect of servers and workstations with multiple processors—chips just like the Athlon 64 FX—running in tandem.

Ahem.

Now, grab your drool rag and ride along as we put the Opteron 148 and 248 CPUs through their paces to see how they measure up as workstation processors.

Introductions and preliminaries
The Opteron 148 is intended for single-processor workstation PCs, while the 248 model can run in pairs. Otherwise, these things are the same basic product: Opterons running at 2.2GHz. They’re based on AMD’s eight-generation Hammer microarchitecture, with extensions to support 64-bit computing and all the rest. Since the Opteron x48 series is just a speed bump, I won’t belabor the point. You can read our introduction to the Hammer architecture here.

I should note a few things, however, before we dive into the test results. First, it really is the case that the Opteron 148 and the Athlon 64 FX-51 are the essentially same product with different names. They both run at 2.2GHz; both nestle into 940-pin sockets; both support dual channels of DDR400 memory. They are, I suppose, aimed at slightly different markets, but both products compete with the Pentium 4, which straddles the high-end desktop and low-end workstation segments. So I dunno. To make things simpler, I’ve included only one set of benchmarks for the Athlon 64 FX-51 and Opteron 148 chips. You can read the results together, because they perform the same.

Next, the Opteron 146, 148, 246, and 248 chips in our test results all come from systems with DDR400 memory, while the Opteron 140 and 240 setups use DDR333 memory. AMD has been a little fuzzy on DDR400 support in the Opteron line, but the company has now decided to endorse DDR400 officially for the x46 models and above. Of course, Opterons still require registered DIMMs, whatever the speed.

AMD’s test kit for the Opteron 148/248 included an MSI 9130 motherboard, a very decent motherboard that we’ve used in the past for some of our testing. The 9130 is based on VIA’s K8T800 chipset, which has proven faster than NVIDIA’s nForce3 Pro for most tasks. However, the MSI 9130 has one glaring weakness: it doesn’t have DIMM slots hanging off its second CPU socket, so the second processor’s built-in memory controller doesn’t have access to any local memory. As a result, CPU 1 will always have to go through CPU 0 in order to access memory, and half of our dual Opteron’s potential memory bandwidth can’t be realized. The MSI 9130 isn’t unique in this regard; at present, most dual Opteron workstation boards use this sort of memory configuration.


A pair of Opteron 248s rides atop the MSI 9130

Perhaps it’s just as well, because the Windows XP Pro kernel isn’t aware of the Opteron’s non-uniform memory access (NUMA) architecture, and thus can’t take full advantage of an optimally configured Opteron rig. What’s more, the 64-bit version of Windows XP has been delayed, so we aren’t likely to see a truly optimal version of Windows for the Opteron for quite some time. The Opteron will have to live with some handicaps in our testing, but these are the same handicaps many real Opteron workstations are likely to face.

Speaking of handicaps, the only Intel Xeon chips we’ve included as foils to the Opteron 248 series run at 2.66GHz with 512K of L2 cache. Nowadays, top workstation Xeons come at 3.2GHz with 1MB of L3 cache. I wish we could have included those chips in our review, but Intel tends not to make its Xeon chips available to the media for comparisons like this one, despite our best efforts. And at about a grand a pop, we’re not too keen on buying the latest and greatest Xeons each time we conduct a review. So, uhm, sorry.

As consolation, we’ve included results for the ultra-expensive Pentium 4 3.2GHz Extreme Edition, which has 2MB of L3 cache, an 800MHz bus, and dual-channel DDR400 memory. This single CPU is even more exotic than the top Xeon workstation chip. So there. We have also included a few other top-end desktop processors, because those chips traditionally bleed into the single-processor workstation segment.

With all of that out of the way, let’s dive into the benchmark results, which generally speak for themselves.

 

Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least twice, and the results were averaged.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Athlon XP ‘Barton’ 3200+ 2.2GHz Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz Opteron 146 2.0GHz
Athlon 64 FX-51 2.2GHz
2 x Opteron 246 2.0GHz
2 x Opteron 248 2.2GHz
Opteron 140 1.4GHz
2 x Opteron 240 1.4GHz
Pentium 4 3.2GHz
Pentium 4 3.2GHz Extreme Edition
2 x Xeon 2.66GHz
Front-side bus 400MHz (200MHz DDR) HT 16-bit/800MHz downstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz upstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz downstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz upstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz downstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz upstream
800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped) 533MHz (133MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard Asus A7N8X Deluxe v2.0 MSI K8T Neo MSI 9130 MSI 9130 Abit IC7-G Tyan Tiger i7505
North bridge nForce2 SPP K8T800 K8T800 K8T800 82875P MCH E7505 MCH
South bridge nForce2 MCP-T VT8237 VT8237 VT8237 82801ER ICH5R 82801DB ICH4
Chipset drivers nForce Unified 2.45 4-in-1 v.4.49
ATA 5.1.2600.10
Audio 5.10.0.5920
4-in-1 v.4.49
AGP 4.42
Audio 6.14.1.3870
4-in-1 v.4.49
AGP 4.42
Audio 6.14.1.3870
INF Update 5.0.1015
ATA 5.0.1007.0
Audio 5.10.0.5250
INF Update 5.0.2
IAA 2.3.0.2160
Audio 5.10.0.5250
BIOS revision 1005 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.6 1.01
Memory size 1GB (2 DIMMs) 768MB (3 DIMMs) 1GB (2 DIMMs) 1GB (2 DIMMs) 1GB (2 DIMMs) 1GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair TwinX XMS4000 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz Corsair XMS3200 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz Infineon PC3200 registered ECC DDR SDRAM at 400MHz Infineon PC2700 registered ECC DDR SDRAM at 333MHz Corsair TwinX XMS4000 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz Corsair TwinX XMS3200LL DDR SDRAM at 266MHz
Hard drive Seagate Barracuda V 120GB ATA/100 Seagate Barracuda V 120GB SATA 150 Seagate Barracuda V 120GB SATA 150 Seagate Barracuda V 120GB SATA 150 Seagate Barracuda V 120GB SATA 150 Seagate Barracuda V 120GB ATA/100
Audio nForce2 MCP/ALC650 VT8237/ALC650 VT8237/ALC201A VT8237/ALC201A ICH5/ALC650 ICH4/ALC650
Graphics GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional
OS updates Service Pack 1, DirectX 9.0b

Sorry about the 768MB of RAM in the Athlon 64 3200+ system. I couldn’t get it to boot with either pair of 512MB DDR400 DIMMs I had on hand, and its motherboard had only three DIMM slots, so 768MB was as close as we could come. I don’t believe this difference in memory size should affect any of the benchmarks we used.

All tests on the Pentium 4 systems were run with Hyper-Threading enabled.

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. If you’re looking to tweak out your system to the max and maybe overclock it a little, Corsair’s RAM is definitely worth considering.

The test systems’ Windows desktops were set at 1152×864 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

 
Memory performance

The Opteron 148 and the Pentium 4 3.2GHz are vying for the top spot in our synthetic memory bandwidth tests, splitting the spoils. Notice how the dual Opteron systems are generally slower in memory benchmarks than the single-processor Opteron rigs. We have come to expect this behavior when only one of the two processors’ built-in memory controllers has DIMM slots attached. The slowdown isn’t huge, but the need for non-local memory access does have an impact. Then again, the Xeons are quite a bit slower, and newer Xeons still have the same bus speed and memory architecture.

Linpack shows us the L1, L2, and L3 caches at work, including the crazy-mad Extreme Edition’s jaggy orange line that goes flying off the charts. If you are planning to plunk down a grand for a P4 EE, you might want to frame a picture of this Linpack graph to remind yourself what you’re buying.

The integrated memory controller in the Opteron chips yields extremely low memory access latencies, as cachemem shows here. Once again, the need for non-local memory access on the dual-processor Opteron systems slows performance a bit.

 
Memory performance (continued)
By adding a third dimension, we can investigate the cachemem latency results in more detail. I’ve color-coded the various cache levels (L1 is yellow, L2 amber, L3 red, and main memory is orange) to make for easier reading. The graphs are presented in rough order of overall access latency, from highest to lowest.

Even with the MSI 9130’s sub-optimal memory configuration, the Opteron 248 comes out looking good in cachemem’s access latency test, especially compared to the Xeons.

 

Sphinx speech recognition
Ricky Houghton first brought us the Sphinx benchmark through his association with speech recognition efforts at Carnegie Mellon University. Sphinx is a high-quality speech recognition routine that needs the latest computer hardware to run at speeds close to real-time processing. We use two different versions, built with two different compilers, in an attempt to ensure we’re getting the best possible performance.

There are two goals with Sphinx. The first is to run it faster than real time, so real-time speech recognition is possible. The second, more ambitious goal is to run it at about 0.8 times real time, where additional CPU overhead is available for other sorts of processing, enabling Sphinx-driven real-time applications.

The Opterons push the top Pentium 4 chips hard in Sphinx, but the Xeons are near the bottom of the pack.

LAME MP3 encoding
We used LAME 3.92 to encode a 101MB 16-bit, 44KHz audio file into a very high-quality MP3. The exact command-line options we used were:

lame –alt-preset extreme file.wav file.mp3

Obviously, LAME isn’t multithreaded, so single-processor results are very similar to those from duallies. The Pentium 4 chips take lead, but interestingly, the K7 and K8 chips at 2.2GHz all group together here.

DivX video encoding
Xmpeg is partially self-tuning, and we noted that it chose the SSE2 Optimized iDCT on the Hammer processors.

We’ve finally found a system capable of outrunning a Pentium 4 at video encoding! Of course, it took two CPUs to do it, but still, the dual Opteron 248 system really cuts down on encoding times. Impressive.

 

3ds max rendering
We begin our 3D rendering tests with Discreet’s 3ds max, one of the best known 3D animation tools around. 3ds max is both multithreaded and optimized for SSE2. We rendered a couple of different scenes at 1024×465 resolution, including the Island scene shown below. Our testing techniques were very similar to those described in this article by Greg Hess. In all cases, the “Enable SSE” box was checked in the application’s render dialog.

The dual Opteron systems produce the lowest render times, and the Opteron 148 puts in a respectable showing, as well.

 

Lightwave rendering
NewTek’s Lightwave is another popular 3D animation package that includes support for multiple processors and is highly optimized for SSE2. Lightwave can render very complex scenes with realism, as you can see from the sample scene, “A5 Concept,” below.

I’ve included results for various thread counts on the multiprocessor systems and on the Intel systems with Hyper-Threading. Lightwave isn’t self-tuning; users must pick the number of render threads manually. Unfortunately, my results are a little bit fragmentary for the dual Xeon and Opteron 240 systems. I’d already allowed the Opteron 240s to be carted off and subjected to Andy’s evil overclocking experiments by the time I realized I needed to do more testing.

The addition of SSE2 support makes AMD’s Opteron processors very competitive with the Pentium 4 in Lightwave. The dual Opteron 248 system renders our test scenes fastest, but the dual Xeon 2.66GHz system is only a few tenths of a second behind it.

 

POV-Ray rendering
POV-Ray is the granddaddy of PC ray-tracing renderers, and it’s not multithreaded in the least. Don’t ask me why—seems crazy to me. POV-Ray also relies more heavily on x87 FPU instructions to do its work, because it contains only minor SIMD optimizations.

The “official” POV-Ray benchmark continues to be a bit of a surprise to me. Our humble chess scene, which we’ve used for ages, clearly renders fastest on the AMD chips. The POV-Ray benchmark uses a wider range of POV-Ray rendering engine features, and it does especially well on the Intel processors. Most puzzling of all is the Opteron’s relatively poor performance in the benchmark compared to the Athlon XP. Not sure what to make of that.

 

Cinebench 2003 rendering and shading
Cinebench is based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D modeling, rendering, and animation app. This revision of Cinebench measures performance in a number of ways, including 3D rendering, software shading, and OpenGL shading with and without hardware acceleration.

Cinema 4D’s renderer is multithreaded, so it takes advantage of Hyper-Threading and multiple processors. I’ve reported the multi-threaded results, which in all cases were notably faster, for all multiprocessor and Hyper-Threaded systems.

The Cinebench renderer has always run well on Pentium 4 and Xeon chips, but the Opteron 248 is just able to edge out the dual Xeon rig. Of course, the Xeons are a few steps down in the Intel product line, closer to the Opteron 240. The Opteron 148 can’t keep pace with the Pentium 4 3.2GHz.

The rest of the results are more mixed, and these tests are quite apparently not multithreaded.

 

SPECviewperf workstation graphics
SPECviewperf simulates the graphics loads generated by various professional design, modeling, and engineering applications.

Be aware that this is the one benchmark most influenced by the fact we’re not testing with a workstation-class graphics driver like those bundled with Quadro or FireGL cards. Nonetheless, the Opteron chips dominate the viewperf suite.

 

ScienceMark
I’d like to thank Alex Goodrich for his help working through a few bugs the 2.0 beta version of ScienceMark. Thanks to his diligent work, I was able to complete testing with this impressive new benchmark, which is optimized for SSE, SSE2, 3DNow! and is multithreaded, as well.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that Tim Wilkens, one of the originators of ScienceMark, now works at AMD. However, Tim has sought to keep ScienceMark independent by diversifying the development team and by publishing much of the source code for the benchmarks at the ScienceMark website. We are sufficiently satisfied with his efforts, and impressed with the enhancements to the 2.0 beta revision of the application, to continue using ScienceMark in our testing.

The Opteron processors excel in ScienceMark’s simulation tests, especially when run in pairs. The tests below, however, are more like the Linpack test we saw earlier. These matrix multiplication tests use various flavors of code optimization in order to achieve peak performance. SGEMM is a single-precision floating-point math test, and DGEMM uses double-precision FP datatypes.

Even the 148 and 248 Opterons can’t beat the Pentium 4 when running its ideal codepath. However, the Opterons produce similarly strong performance with multiple types of optimizations.

 

picCOLOR image analysis
We thank Dr. Reinert Muller with the FIBUS Institute for pointing us toward his picCOLOR benchmark. This image analysis and processing tool is partially multithreaded, and it shows us the results of a number of simple image manipulation calculations. The overall score is indexed to a Pentium III 1GHz system based on a VIA Apollo Pro 133. In other words, the reference system would score a 1.0 overall.

This benchmark obviously runs best on Opteron chips. The test’s multithreaded functions perform very well on the dual-CPU systems, too.

 

Gaming performance

Quake III Arena
Just for fun, we’ve run some gaming benchmarks on these workstation CPUs. Obviously, an Opteron-based system should make a decent general-purpose PC, as well, so what the heck. We begin with Quake III Arena, one of the few games able to take advantage of a second processor. The ‘r_smp 1’ notation means the game’s multiprocessing support is enabled.

Wow. The Opterons x48 are very fast in Quake III, especially with multiprocessing support turned up. The P4 Extreme Edition remains fastest in Quake III, though, by virtue of its ability to run seemingly the whole darned game from its L3 cache.

Since we’re way too serious to talk about all of these games individually, I’ll let the rest of the results pass by without too much commentary. We’ll sum up at the end of our gaming tests.

Unreal Tournament 2003

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

Comanche 4

Serious Sam SE

3DMark03

If, once your day of 3D modeling or CAD/CAM engineering is done, you decide to fire up a game and relax, the Opteron 148 and 248 chips will give you one of the baddest gaming systems on the planet. Shhh. We won’t tell if you won’t.

 
Conclusions
The last time we looked at a pair of Opteron chips running in SMP, we were comparing the Opteron 240 to the Xeon 2.66GHz, and frankly, the Opteron 240 got its tail whipped. This time around, it’s a very different story. Thanks in part to its built-in memory controller, the Opteron’s performance seems to scale up exceptionally well with clock speed increases. Overall, a single Opteron 148 is every bit as fast as a Pentium 4 3.2GHz Extreme Edition chip, and running together, a pair of Opteron 248s makes for the fastest workstation system we’ve ever laid hands on.

Yes, the Xeons we tested against it were “only” running at 2.66GHz, and higher clock speeds would help close the gap. Still, Intel hasn’t yet raised the Xeon’s bus speed or memory clock speed to match the Pentium 4’s. With a 533MHz bus and dual-channel DDR266 memory, even the fastest Xeon at 3.2GHz with 1MB of L2 cache isn’t likely to match the Opteron in memory-intensive tasks like video encoding or speech recognition. Our low-level memory tests tell the story here. Intel needs to deliver its E7210 chipset (code-named Canterwood ES) in order to remain competitive with AMD’s Opterons.

For its part, AMD needs to continue pushing to fulfill its vision for this platform. We have been playing with a dual Opteron workstation that uses a real four-channel memory config, and we’ll be bringing you those results soon. Unfortunately, though, the 64-bit version of Windows remains rather elusive. One of the biggest advantages of the Opteron for the workstation world is its ability to address more than 4GB of RAM, but that ability remains confined to Linux for the time being. A real NUMA-aware kernel for Windows XP would be a nice interim measure. Already, there’s one available in Windows 2003 Server, but that OS isn’t really tuned for workstation use.

The price of admission for leading-edge performance in the workstation realm is never cheap, and AMD’s new Opterons are no exception. The Opteron 148 will list at $733, or exactly the same price as its desktop-bound cousin, the Athlon 64 FX-51. The dually chip, the Opteron 248, will sell for $913 a pop. You will, of course, need two. I expect most buyers will purchase complete systems from AMD partners like APPRO or BOXX Technologies. What they’ll get for their money is one of the fastest x86-based systems anywhere. 

Comments closed
    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    my pants are really fun!!

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    “Now, grab your drool rag and ride along as we put the Opteron 148 and 248 CPUs through their paces to see how they measure up as workstation processors.”
    Hey Damage! What if I don’t have drool rag, can I drool on the flour instead?

    • IntelMole
    • 16 years ago

    When do I get to buy them?

    In saying that, I mean, when they come down in price, and what can I get for Β£1300?

    Not a lot :-S,
    -Mole

    • Orion
    • 16 years ago

    I’d like to see a Maya benchmark instead of PovRay.

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Now what would you go with for ~$500:

    Athlon 64 2 GHz with motherboard

    or

    Opteron 144 1.8 GHz with motherboard

    Cuz I ain’t goin’ Intel!!!

      • DaveJB
      • 16 years ago

      Athlon 64, easily. The boards are cheaper, you can use DDR400 (the unregistered stuff), and it should be a better performer than the Oppie.

        • Anonymous
        • 16 years ago

        In many cases, the Opteron at the same clock-speed will be faster than the Athlon64. But, the slower 144 Opteron at 1.8 GHz might not keep up with the Athlon 64 at 2 GHz…

        • Anonymous
        • 16 years ago

        In many cases, the Opteron at the same clock-speed will be faster than the Athlon64. But, the slower 144 Opteron at 1.8 GHz might not keep up with the Athlon 64 at 2 GHz…

          • Anonymous
          • 16 years ago

          I think for a lot of Opteron boards you need registar memory, while for the A64 you dont.

      • Anonymous
      • 16 years ago

      144 will overclock up to 2.2-2.3 and so would A64…the difference? with twice the bandwidth, 144 will spank A64.

    • 5150
    • 16 years ago

    “The G5 is still the world’s only 64-bit desktop processor.” Pffft.

      • mattsteg
      • 16 years ago

      Well, it *is* the only 64-bit processor shipping with a 64-bit consumer OS now.

        • BabelHuber
        • 16 years ago

        I would hardly call OSX a 64Bit OS. It’s a 32Bit OS with 64Bit extensions.

        Quite a difference.

          • mattsteg
          • 16 years ago

          That said, it’s closer than anything else in the consumer space at the moment.

            • Anonymous
            • 16 years ago

            It’s all about the betas. πŸ˜‰

          • Craig P.
          • 16 years ago

          Ooh, good one.

        • 5150
        • 16 years ago

        I guess Linux isn’t a consumer OS or I’d bust your ass.

          • sativa
          • 16 years ago

          hmm yeah i wouldn’t call enterprise editions of linux a “consumer os”

          or do regular versions of linux fully support 64 bits?

            • Forge
            • 16 years ago

            Yes. SuSE has a regular version, AMD64 compiled, and Gentoo has an AMD64 branch that’s been fully functional on AMD64 for months.

            Since Gentoo and Slackware are both source distros, I’d bet Slack isn’t far behind. RedHat supposedly has an AMD64 build floating around internally, but they aren’t releasing it for unknown reasons.

          • mattsteg
          • 16 years ago

          No. Linux doesn’t play in the consumer market. Neither does FreeBSD, Solaris, Windows Server, Irix, etc. The consumer market essentially *is* Windows and Mac. It’s been that way for quite a while and will continue to be that way in the near future.

      • 5150
      • 16 years ago

      Macs suck.

        • leor
        • 16 years ago

        especially the new mac vacuum, it really sucks (what a bad joke!)

      • Anonymous
      • 16 years ago

      a trolling we will go, a trolling we will go, hi ho the merry-o, a trolling we will go!

    • Hattig
    • 16 years ago

    Some serious benchmark results, poor old 3.2GHz Xeon * pats it on the head * lol

    Β§[<http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=12716<]Β§

    • Gandhi
    • 16 years ago

    Okay, the review says it is unfair to compare the 148/248 Opterons to only Intel’s 2.6 GHz Xeons and not the latest 3.2s. How exactly is that unfair?! The Opterons run at 2.2 GHz and the Xeons at 2.6. The Intel chips have a speed advantage here.

    Now, if you are trying to compare the latest, fastest, chips from both companies, then yes, then comparing to Intel’s slower chip may be unfair. But the act that a 2.2 Opteron spanks Intels 2.6 Xeon and 3.2 P4 EE (rebadged Xeon, IMO) speaks volumes about AMD’s design.

    Just my opinion (biased as it may be, seeing as how my latest rig has a Athlon 64 non-FX51 chip in it)

      • Captain AMD
      • 16 years ago

      Yes, young adept. Brilliant observation. Comparing clock speeds is an excellent option. I’m glad smart people like you are around to show the obvious bias against AMD in benchmark reviews.

        • Gandhi
        • 16 years ago

        Dude, you being sarcastic?

        (wishing keyboards came with a “sarcasm on/off” button so I could tell the difference)

          • droopy1592
          • 16 years ago

          [sarcasm]obviously.[/sarcasm]

            • Gandhi
            • 16 years ago

            Oh, in that case, let me just say, thanks for the compliments Captian AMD [/sarcasm], ya dumb fuck!

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Well, I’m currently running 2 dualie PIIIs…Time to upgrade to Dualie Opterons next year…I’m thinking 3.6Ghz Dualie Opterons…And then a dual core one after that… πŸ˜€

      • Anonymous
      • 16 years ago

      oh, whens the dual core suppose to come out? and thats the code-name for it on AMDs road map?

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    The difference is the market they’re aimed at

    148, 248, 848 are for industry, serious work, etc market.

    Athlon FX series is the highest end chip for the consumer market

    While the Athlon 64 is the mainstream (in the 64bit bracket)

      • wagsbags
      • 16 years ago

      Well yes but what’s the /[

        • Xylker
        • 16 years ago

        The /[

        • Ardrid
        • 16 years ago

        The difference basically boils down to the number of HT links enabled. In the FX and the 148 series, 1 HT link is enabled, in the 248 series, 2, and in the 848 series, 3.

    • nexxcat
    • 16 years ago

    This reminds me of the early days of Athlon, where AMD Athlons were going head-to-head against PIII’s. They were running pretty evenly at first, but then the Athlons’ better scaling made them pull ahead little by little.

    AMD may have the fastest tested processor, but they need to execute. Intel didn’t get to be this scary behemoth by sitting still, and they most likely have fab improvements and tweaked designs up their sleeves.

    Now, where do I find that winning lottery ticket?

      • Anonymous
      • 16 years ago

      It was AMD’s luck that Intel couldn’t respond due to the physical limits of the PIII at that time. I think it was the limit of the Coppermine core that couldn’t go past 1.13Ghz

        • Anonymous
        • 16 years ago

        kinda like now, Prescott is having issues. And the rest of Intels production line is jacked as well because they decided at the last minute to throw in P4EE 3.2 to spoil A64.

        When Prescott comes out it might be slower to then current P4s…and of courses heat issues will come up. So then you’ll probably have to wait for a couple of revisions on the chip.

        And the now Intel might be planning on releasing a P4EE 3.4 to go up again what might be a A64 3400+

        So now Intel products aren’t just fighting AMD…they are fight there own products.

        Kinda makes you wonder who pulling the strings for Intel.

          • DaveJB
          • 16 years ago

          Why exactly is Prescott gonna be slower than Northwood?

            • Anonymous
            • 16 years ago

            I think they lengthen there pipelines and extended there extentions somemore.

            • droopy1592
            • 16 years ago

            They are still trying to market megahurtz.

          • Logan[TeamX]
          • 16 years ago

          It’s actually kinda funny that the PR ratings for Athlon XP processors mirror their Intel counterparts, and yet they spank them on all but clock-speed geared benchmarks and applications. I’d take my 2.25 GHz Barton over a 2.25 GHz P4 on even the 800 MHz FSB anyday. Not only do the Int/FPU benches report higher for the Barton, but it gets there for a fraction of the cost. Intel why???? Because Dell needs to make money off an established name, that’s why.

          HP and Compaq have been offering Athlon XP (T’bred and Bartons) processors for some time now, and I don’t hear them crying too loudly. Something must be working out alright for them πŸ™‚

            • Anonymous
            • 16 years ago

            Of course, I don’t hear HPaq winning battles with Dell in terms of sales either.

            • Logan[TeamX]
            • 16 years ago

            In order to win the war, sometimes you need to lose the first few battles. I rather think Compaq should be commended for offering their customers a choice, rather than singing the words to “Let’s Goose-step along with Intel”. Apparently Dell owns the copyrights to that song…

            • nexxcat
            • 16 years ago

            Only thing you need in order to win the war is to drive higher revenue, profits, and/or market share than your competition. Right now, Dell is still the undisputed king of mainstream PC. They don’t market the fastest, or necessarily the cheapest. They do, however, market things that are “good enough” for the “average” people.

            Dell knows that there are a lot of average people out there with average needs who will trust that big name and want a single point of contact.

    • Ruiner
    • 16 years ago

    “If you are planning to plunk down a grand for a P4 EE, you might want to frame a picture of this Linpack graph to remind yourself what you’re buying. ”

    lol. A lobotomy would be in order as well.

    • liquidsquid
    • 16 years ago

    Wow, I bet the dual opterons would seriously crunch some folding@home! If I can only covertly convince the IT guy to get me one for “engineering purposes!”. Oh, and it would probably run my HP ADS2001 RF Simulation software pretty well too being able to crunch those POV scenes so fast and the Sphinx voice software (not to mention end of day death matches with my Matrox Parhelia!!)

    Drool!

    -LS

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Perhaps this is a stupid question; if so, please forgive. In the first pictured captioned:

    q[

      • just brew it!
      • 16 years ago

      The mounting points for the missing brackets appear to be there. I’m guessing that the mobo arrives in a “some assembly required” state, and Damage simply hadn’t installed the brackets yet when he snapped the pic?

      Good to see AMD having their act together on heatsink mounting for their new platform this time around. The early days of Socket A were pretty bad, what with so many people trying to use inappropriate HSFs. I shudder to think about all of the cracked T-Bird cores that the Thermaltake Golden Orb cooler was responsible for… oh the humanity! πŸ™‚

      • Logan[TeamX]
      • 16 years ago

      That’s it… just keep releasing the high-end AMDs… then my Athlon64 3200+ will be within reach!

      I need a sister box for the O/Ced Barton 2500+ @ 2.25 GHz…

      Very good article Damage, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Actually more than anything I would like to see TR start putting things into price ranges. You can keep the review exactly like it is just put little dividers at the 300$/400$/500$ and ect so people understand not only how they all fall into the performance category but the price category as well.

    Lets people take in the whole picture to formulate a more informed conclusion.

    I hope you guys take this suggestion into consideration.

      • danazar
      • 16 years ago

      Actually, I sort of second that… could we see some kind of “performance/dollar” figures? Like, take equivalent 3DMark/Q3/HL2/whatever benchmarks on the different CPUs with otherwise identical hardware, and give us the “frames/dollar” figure for each?

      So like, for the Quake III results on this particular test, you’d take the number of frames and divide by the cost of the CPU at the review date, and get figures like this:

      3.2GHz P4EE: .600 (554.6/$925)
      Dual Opteron 248: .295 (538.7/$1826)
      Opteron 148: .695 (509.7/$733)

      Those figures are in frames per dollar.

      With figures like these, it’s clear that while you get the fastest chip with the P4EE, by far the most for your money is the Opteron 148. (The reason the dual 248 is so low and the price is so high is because you have to account for two CPUs!)

        • Anonymous
        • 16 years ago

        Agreed, someone here on TR make it happen!

        I am tired of getting through a review and seeing one of the top picks that are at the very high end of the $ spectrum and a product that does almost as good and costs a fraction of the price hardly mentioned.

        Plus, it helps when there is a new product out that is Extremely Expensive gets put into perspective. As in, intel 2.8 costs XXX.XX amount and performs XX well compared to amd 2800 costs XXX.XX and performs XX. Similar to danazar’s way.

        Whatever the choice I at least want to see the price not just mentioned somewhere in small print on a page but up there on every graph, and put it into perspective (perspective as in how danazar showed).

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Being a AMD fan I still don’t personally think the opterons are a reasonable choice. The intel EE is of course overly expensive but you don’t have to buy 2 of them, so at half the price almost than the opterons it seems like the better deal.

    Although if your all about speed and performance then the opterons kick ass. Man I wish I could win the loto I would get myself a dualie on that msi 2-far board.

      • Anonymous
      • 16 years ago

      Uh, then just buy one Athlon 64 FX. A bit slower in video/mp3 encoding but faster in most games than Intel EE.

        • Hattig
        • 16 years ago

        and $300 cheaper, AND available to buy!

          • Krogoth
          • 16 years ago

          Actually, A64 FX-51 probably causes $100 USD less then P4EE if you take getting registered memory into account. Which the FX-51 needs to run anyways the P4EE is due to come out in the next week or so abeit in limited quanities.

    • My Johnson
    • 16 years ago

    I was hoping for the graphics article…

      • Anonymous
      • 16 years ago

      Or at least a comprehensive mobo roundup. Yes I know about the kt600’s, but just throw in nf2 boardS along with maybe a handful of nforce3/k8t800 boards for fun and now were talkin.

      I think I have had enough graphics articles for the year. Since they never diversify the tests enough. Put in a couple versions of nvidia cards of the same model just for the heck of it and at least a AIW on the ATI side. I am sick of never seeing results for the AIW cards. It’s always 1 5950, 1 5900, 1 5700/5600, 1 9800, 1 9700, 1 9600. ATI rules yadda yadda Nvidia sucks yadda yadda Nvidia cheats yadda yadda. In fact I think they just re-use the past benchmarks over and over again! I’m on to you TR!

        • Dissonance
        • 16 years ago

        Comparing motherboards for different platforms (Socket A vs Socket 754, for example) is a rather pointless exercise because you’re dealing less between difference in motherboards and more between the respective processors and chipsets. If you want to see how Socket A Athlon XPs perform against Socket 754 Athlon 64s, we have processor reviews.

        Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t whip up a motherboard comparison or two focussed on a single platform with multiple boards based on multiple chipsets. Stay tuned.

        As for graphics articles, there’s really very little performance difference between graphics cards from different manufacturers that use the same GPU. Unless a card comes overclocked out of the box, they’re all running at the same speed with the same amount of memory bandwidth, so there are really no consistent differences when it comes to performance. Ditto for AIW cards, which are (since the 8500DV) clocked at the same speed as their non-AIW equivalents. Yeah, we could throw them in “for the heck of it” but that would sort of be a waste of time if we’re graphing a bunch of bars that are exactly the same size, don’t you think?

        And of course we re-use benchmark results from previous articles. They’re repeatable and consistent to start with, so unless we changed something in the system config, why would we go through and test everything again?

          • Spotpuff
          • 16 years ago

          For the love of spam, please make it so there’s no AG posting!

          Especially since your forums remember name/password. AGs are getting more and more irritating.

          Maybe it’s cause I haven’t slept for a day and I’ve been studying retarded mathematical logic for 12 straight hours, but seriously, most AG posts are pointless and asinine.

            • Anonymous
            • 16 years ago

            The efficacy or idiocy of any given post can usually be determined in the first seven words. (For instance, your post is easily identified as containing neither meritorious nor useful information, and skipped without a second thought, just from the first line.) A trained observer can deftly bypass the flotsam and zero in on the facts, regardless if the post has a registered nickname associated to it, or not.

            Conversely, forced associations between posts and posters can foster prejudicial judgements that may or may not necessarily prove conducive to the observation process mentioned above. Allowing anonymous additions alleviates any analytical aberrations and advocates adroit and affable articulation.

            • droopy1592
            • 16 years ago

            I just skipped most of your post.

            • BigMadDrongo
            • 16 years ago

            That’s it AG#14, I’m reporting you to the American Association Against Anonymous Alliteration Abuse.

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    dual opterons…DROOOOOOL
    so what the heck is the diff b/w 148 and fx51?
    fx51 is unlocked, are the 148s?

      • Anonymous
      • 16 years ago

      Well for one you can’t run dual fx’s. You can get that msi board and run just one (opteron) then later if you ever scrounge up enough cash you can throw in the other. Thats pretty much the only reason, either you get a single proc system and go for the fx or if you want dual go for the operton.

        • axeman
        • 16 years ago

        The 1xx Opterons aren’t dual-capable. So the question remains, what is the difference ?

    • Mr Bill
    • 16 years ago

    Heh Heh, Finally worth being up this late.

    • wesley96
    • 16 years ago

    Hmm, the Opteron 148 obviously the same as FX51 in all reasonable circumstances, the only thing to eye in this article is the duallie whop-ass. Well, well, I have to say with some good second generation SMP chipset and the registered memory becoming a non-requirement, I would strongly consider moving to this platform. In the meantime my Barton+T-bred combo would have to do.

    • wagsbags
    • 16 years ago

    See now we just need to all have a limitless supply of money so we can perpetually upgrade to all these new processors every time something new comes out. FIRST POST!

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