AMD's AM2: Athlon 64 FX-62 & X2 5000+

Written by Tim Smalley

May 23, 2006 | 11:25

Tags: #5000 #64 #am2 #athlon #benchmark #chip #core-duo #fx-62 #launch #processor #review #x2

Companies: #amd #intel

Lots of new products...

AMD is making the transition to DDR2 in one fell swoop today, announcing a total of eighteen new processors in a top-to-bottom launch. The new processors include eight dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors, three single-core Athlon 64's along with six Sempron processors aimed at the mainstream market. It is the first time since the days of Socket A that AMD's full range of processors have all been on the same socket. This makes for great upgrading opportunities, allowing users to upgrade to faster CPUs without the need for a completely new platform after the initial investment.

All of the chips support the standard AMD features that we've come to expect. These include AMD Cool'n'Quiet technology, MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, Enhanced 3DNow!, NX Bit anti-virus protection and also x86-64 extensions. The new Athlon 64 chips - both dual core and single core - also support AMD's Pacifica Virtualisation Technology, too. This feature is not included in the new Socket AM2 Semprons based on the Manila core, though.

Dual-Core Athlon 64 X2 Processors:

The majority of AMD's lineup has made the transition to dual-core - this is something that AMD said it would do over time. The transition was almost complete when the company announced the final addition to its Socket 939 Athlon 64 FX-series - Athlon 64 FX-60. This was the first of AMD's FX-series processors to make the move to dual-core. Not surprisingly, Athlon 64 FX-62 - AMD's new flagship processor - is also a dual core chip.

AMD's AM2: Athlon 64 FX-62 & X2 5000+ Top-to-Bottom Launch
AMD's Athlon 64 FX-62 runs at 2.8GHz and has 1MB of L2 cache per core. The thermal power of FX-62 has increased by 15W up to 125W, and the number of transistors has increased from around 223M to just over 227M - an increase of just under 2%. The Windsor core is still manufactured on AMD's 90-nanometre SOI (silicon on insulator) fabrication process. At the time of publication, it is unclear whether this chip will be transitioned to 65 nanometres with the rest of AMD's lineup, as the company tends to drop FX-series processors after a faster version replaces it.

The second new addition to AMD's dual-core lineup is the Athlon 64 X2 5000+. This comes clocked at the same speed as the Athlon 64 FX-60 that runs at 2.6GHz, but comes with only 512KB of L2 cache per core. As a result of the smaller cache, both the transistor count and maximum thermal power are reduced somewhat. The X2 5000+ core has a total of 153.8M transistors - a reduction of nearly 50% compared to the 2x1MB L2 cache processors - and has a peak thermal power rating of 89W.

AMD's AM2: Athlon 64 FX-62 & X2 5000+ Top-to-Bottom Launch AMD's AM2: Athlon 64 FX-62 & X2 5000+ Top-to-Bottom Launch
Whilst mentioning the Athlon 64 FX-60, it is unclear whether AMD will launch Athlon 64 FX-60 on Socket AM2 - we're suspecting that it will not, as roadmaps suggest that there is an X2 5200+ and an X2 5400+ scheduled to launch next quarter. Based on AMD's current naming conventions, we expect the X2 5200+ to be an FX-60 with a locked multiplier and X2 5400+ will be an FX-62-based chip running at 2.8GHz with 2x512KB of L2 cache. In addition to the FX-62 and X2 5000+, AMD has transitioned all existing Athlon 64 X2 processors, and introduced a third new dual-core chip, too. The Athlon 64 X2 4000+ is clocked at 2.0GHz - the same speed as the X2 3800+ - but comes with 2x1MB of L2 cache.

All of the Athlon 64 X2 chips - with the exception of the X2 5000+ - will come with either an 89W or 65W peak thermal power rating, with the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ also coming in a 35W version, too. We expect that this one is designed for small form factor and media PCs where space comes at a premium.

Single Core Athlon 64s and Semprons:

The high end of AMD's product stack is completely dominated by dual-core processors, meaning that it is finally making a definite move towards blanketing its lineup with dual core processors. However, AMD's lineup isn't going to transition fully to dual-core until the chip manufacturer decides that the time is right - it doesn't feel that the time is now, as the lower half of AMD's product stack is made up entirely of single core chips.

Unlike Socket 939, there is very little cross over and confusion over whether the single core chip with the same rating is faster than the dual core equivalent. AMD has transitioned three single core Athlon 64 processors over to AM2, namely the 3800+, 3500+ and 3200+. These are all based on the Orleans core, which comes with a 512KB L2 cache. The chips are clocked at 2400MHz, 2200MHz and 2000MHz respectively. We have heard rumours of an AM2 version of the Athlon 64 3000+, but there is no confirmation of this part's existance thus far.

Along with single core Athlon 64s, AMD is also moving its Sempron line to Socket AM2 as well. There will be a total of six processors with clock speeds ranging from 1600MHz to 2000MHz with differing amounts of cache. At each of the three core speeds, there will be a 128KB L2 cache version and also a 256KB L2 cache version.
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