small Athlon 64 4000+ Review

Today we bring you a review of AMD’s latest desktop CPU offering, the Athlon 64 4000+. Running on AMD’s Socket 939 platform and with double the L2 Cache of the 3800+, does AMD’s latest CPU have what it takes to differentiate itself from previous models while taking on Intel’s latest processors?

7 Athlon 64 4000+ Review

Introduction:

Looking back now, we can see that AMD’s gamble on the K8 core has paid off. From a less than spectacular launch over a year ago to the uniform socket 939 platform that was introduced last quarter, we have seen AMD come full circle and emerge the dominant player in the CPU industry. So what has brought about the long awaited desktop sector success for AMD in the past year? There have been a few factors at play, some behind the scenes and some in public view. One that must be mentioned is AMD’s chief competitor, Intel, and the company’s problems with the current Prescott core. With Tejas canceled and Prescott running hot and performing cool, the Athlon 64 has become both the gamers and the workstation CPU of choice over the last year.

New of course in the K8 core is an imbedded memory controller and 64-bit support, with a dual channel memory controller becoming standard on all new Athlon 64 CPUs a few months ago. Socket 939, like Socket A with K7, has become the new platform standard and will be until we see the next generation of processors from AMD sometime in 2006. This coupled with solid third-party chipset support from VIA and NVIDIA will bring PCI Express to the Athlon 64 in the months to come, making DDR2, which is currently not possible with the Athlon 64′s imbedded memory controller, the main platform difference between current AMD and Intel offerings.

Today we are bringing you a review of the Athlon 64 4000+, AMD’s latest processor offering, in tune with AMD’s traditional quarterly launch cycle. We’ll be comparing the Athlon 64 4000+ to Intel’s current desktop offerings through a series of workstation, gaming, office, and multimedia benchmarks. So let’s take a closer look at the Athlon 64 4000+ and see what it has to offer.

Specifications:

Specifications
Athlon 64 FX-55
Athlon 64 4000+
Athlon 64 FX-53
Athlon 64 3800+
L1 Cache Size
128KB
128KB
128KB
128KB
L2 Cache Size
1MB
1MB
1MB
512KB
CPU Core Frequency
2.6GHz
2.4GHz
2.4GHz
2.4GHz
Memory Interface
Dual Channel
Dual Channel
Dual Channel
Dual Channel
Integrated Northbridge
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
CPU to Memory Controller
2.4GHz
2.4GHz
2.4GHz
2.4GHz
Infrastructure
Socket 939
Socket 939
Socket 939
Socket 939
Process Technology
130nm
130nm
130nm
130nm
Transistor count
105.9 million
105.9 million
68.5 million
68.5 million
Die Size
193mm^2
193mm^2
144mm^2
144mm^2
Nominal Voltage
1.50 V
1.50 V
1.50 V
1.50 V
Max Thermal Power
89 W
89 W
89 W
89 W
Max Icc
57.4A
57.8 A
57.4A
57.4A

As you can see from the table above, the Athlon 64 4000+ is essentially a renamed Athlon 64 FX-53. The only difference between the two is now the unlocked multiplier which comes standard on the Athlon 64 FX series, which makes it seem as though AMD will be phasing out the Athlon 64 FX line in the future. Although I have no first hand knowledge of this, because the standard Athlon 64 is now coming equipped with the 1MB L2 cache that we saw with the Athlon 64 FX, the difference in price is just not justifiable anymore. It seems as though the FX was a quick-fix at the launch of the Athlon 64 over a year ago, (since it was essentially a remarked Opteron) but now that we are on Socket 939 it just doesn’t make sense having two nearly identical processors launched every quarter, one that has an unlocked multiplier and slightly higher clock speed that sells for more than $ 100 than its “standard” counterpart.

roadmap 072704 Athlon 64 4000+ Review

And now we can take a look at the latest Athlon 64 roadmap, taken directly from the AMD website. As you can see AMD is going with a die shrink down to 90nm in the second half of 2004, which will most likely come next quarter when AMD’s next batch of CPUs are likely to come out. As I said earlier in the article AMD has chosen Socket 939 to be the platform of choice for the Athlon 64, with the most significant and probably last change to K8 to come in mid 2005 with the introduction of a dual core CPU.