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AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 review

AMD Athlon 64 FX-60

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AMD Blasts Into 2006 with FX-60

AMD Blasts Into 2006 with FX-60

As if having the fastest desktop processor on earth wasn't enough, AMD blasts into the new year with yet another processor in the FX series. Taking over from the FX-57, AMD recently launched the FX-60 to take the position as the highest performing desktop processor there is today.

It's not hard to see AMD's success in the processor business and much of it can be seen from their recently released financial results. In 2005 alone, AMD achieved record sales of US$3.94 billion, making a 48 percent increase from 2004 (excluding results from the Memory Products Group). In the fourth quarter of 2005, AMD recorded sales of US$1.35 billion, achieving a whopping increase of 78 percent as compared to the fourth quarter of 2004. The numbers alone can tell you how much AMD has succeeded to capture the desktop processor market and how their technologies have made it possible for AMD to keep the pressure on their rival, Intel.

Now, if you've been following AMD's processor line-up, the FX-57 is based on AMD's single core technology and it's by far the highest clocked single core Socket-939 processor there is today. We don't see the new FX-60 as a replacement of their single core series since it's now based on the dual-core part. Thus, we think of the FX-60 as a complement of their current FX series since AMD has bumped up its clock speed to make it the highest performing processor in their desktop line-up. AMD gave it the FX-60 nomenclature to label it as a more superior product than the FX-57 and obviously, two cores are better than one. However, as you'll see in other tests, the FX-57 did manage to hold its ground in certain tests since the clock speed of the single core processor is still significantly higher than the dual-core part. We don't think the FX-60 will make a complete replacement as far as clockspeed is concerned. Still, you can tell that AMD will make the transition of its FX series into dual-core products from this point forth.

To give you a better idea on the current processor specifications of AMD's processors, let's look at the updated technical specifications below. We added Intel's high-end processors in the table for comparison as well.

Technical Specifications of Processors
Processor Name AMD Athlon 64 AMD Athlon 64 AMD Athlon 64 X2 Pentium Extreme Edition Pentium Extreme Edition
Processor Number FX-60 FX-57 4800+ - 840
Processor Frequency 2.6GHz 2.8GHz 2.4GHz 3.73GHz 3.2GHz
No. of Cores 2 1 2 1 2
Hyper-Threading Technology - -

-

Yes Yes
No. of Logical Processors 2 1 2 2 4
Front Side Bus (MHz) - - - 1066 800
HyperTransport Bus 1GHz (2000MT/s) 1GHz (2000MT/s) 1GHz (2000MT/s) - -
L1 Cache (data + instruction) (64KB + 64KB) x 2 64KB + 64KB (64KB + 64KB) x 2 16KB + 12KB (16KB + 12KB) x 2
L2 Cache 1MB x 2 1MB 1MB x 2 2MB 1MB x 2
L3 Cache - - - - -
VID (V) 1.35 - 1.40 1.35 - 1.40 1.35 - 1.40 1.25 - 1.40 1.20 -1.40
Icc (max) (A) 80 74.9 80 119 125
TDP (W) 110 104 110 115 130
Execute Disable Bit Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel EM64T / AMD64 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) / AMD Cool 'n' Quiet Yes Yes Yes No No
Packaging Socket-939 Socket-939 Socket-939 LGA775 LGA775
Process Technology 90nm SOI 90nm SOI 90nm SOI 90nm 90nm
Processor Codename Toledo San Diego Toledo Prescott 2M Smithfield
Die Size 199mm² 115mm² 199mm² 135mm² 206mm²
No. of Transistors 233.2 million 113 million 233.2 million 169 million 230 million

As you can see, AMD did not introduce a new core design with the FX-60 and it's still pretty much based on the Toledo core used by their X2 series. Even the voltage, current and TDP requirements of the processor are pretty much similar to the highest end Athlon 64 X2 4800+. In fact, it's just 200MHz faster than the 4800+ and 200MHz slower than the FX-57. It's not entirely exciting at the specifications level, but it does tell you that AMD has been getting better process yields at their current 90nm SOI technology and you should expect to see greater clock gains when they make the transition to 65nm. Having said that, you can expect the quantities of such a high-speed processor to be limited since even their mainstream products are highly sought after today.