Sign in to follow this  
Guest

Wall Street Journal on AMD's Hammer

Recommended Posts

The desktop version won't be available till September. Apparently AMD has problems shrinking the chip to the size it can be profitable - the server version is not so price-sensitive so its size can stay larger. Michael J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Talking to ourselves, are we?This is a 64 bit CPU, right? I haven't given any thought to subject, so maybe you can answer a couple of quick questions.Will there be any advantage, per se, of a 64 bit CPU over a 32 bit CPU for existing applications?Are you expecting FS2004 to be able to take any advantage of such a processor, such that it would run faster on a 64 bit CPU than on existing 32 bit CPU's all other things equal?-Basil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The server version of the new AMD 64 bit processor is called Opteron, and will be available soon. The desktop version will be the Athlon 64, supposedly expected in september now.64 bit capable processors aren't just about running programs faster (although they will), it's about adding a whole new capability to computers. Current 32bit processors can only use 4GB of RAM. 64 bit CPU's can use 18 billion gigabytes of RAM. The AMD CPU's are both 32 bit and 64 bit compatible, so they'll run all current programs. The Intel Itanium cannot do this (only by emulation which is slower). To run 64 bit programs you need a 64 bit OS (Windows XP 64-bit will be the main one available out there).The ability to run 64 bit will mean general performance increases, but it'll all depend on the software as to how much. For some it won't be noticable, for others, a very great increase. Opteron is meant for multiple CPU setups. When multiple Opterons are working the increase in capability is immense. Athlon 64's will be for the typical home user.Right now, there isn't much reason to upgrade to 64 Bit CPU's. AMD and Intel are still developing new 32 bit processors that will be a fine, affordable alternative to the costly 64 bit CPU's. Once the technology has matured, such OS established, typical software franchises updated (Office, Adobe, AutoCAD, etc etc) then there will be a compelling reason to upgrade. Will an Athlon 64 run FS faster? FS2004 will definitely NOT be a 64 bit program, it's already in development and nowhere near enough people will have 64 bit computing available to them by the end of the year to make it worthwhile.These 64 bit CPU's will be pretty expensive when they first come out. The 32 bit alternatives (Barton for AMD, Prescott for Intel) will be more than fast enough for the typical home user up till the end of the year. And for the people who just have to have the fastest everything, I'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for some good info. FS has a great deal of floating point arithmetics so theoretically it could be faster but it is clear that the FS200x must be specially designed (compiled ?) for the 64-bits world otherwise no speed-up will be realized. Clearly there will be no speed advantage running FS2002 on Athlon64 - advantage due solely to its 64 bits. And with 64 bits optimization how much additional benefit there would be - a very good question. Michael J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. That is more or less what I thought. I don't see a Hammer in my computer any time soon. As for Barton, I saw someone around here speculating that it would not be Socket A, and thus incompatible with current mobos. Have you heard any thing along those lines? I'm not buying it, for now.-Basil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There will be a performance increase in FS2004 but there is no way to know how much of an increase. Creating a 64 bit FS would require people purchasing a 64 bit OS, a 64 bit CPU, and a 64 bit motherboard to run it. I'll spend 80 bucks for a new FS version, but not over a thousand dollars(the hardware and OS will easily cost at least that much) to simply get a negligible performance increase? What's the difference between 60 FPS and 100 FPS? Not a dang thing. The legacy systems (32 bit) will be more than fast enough to run FS2004 just fine. -AV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barton will be socket A but we need to be vigilant on any possible motherboard incompatibility issues that pop up. The motherboard has to be able to support a 200 MHz FSB and a 200 Mhz FSB divider (Bartons are 400 FSB CPU's). All the newer motherboards coming out should be compatible with it. Remember how Throughbred AMD's didn't want to work right with ABit boards until they upgraded their BIOS? Once I'm sure my motherboard will support a Barton, it'll make a fine purchase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Basil,Indeed, Barton will be SocketA (and introduced on the 11th of this month). It will be drop in compatible with most newer motherboards as long as they get a refreshed BIOS from the maker. Its increase to 512KB cache doesn't require a new socket design. The only thing to watch for is it will be released as a 333MHz FSB part to begin with, with 400MHz soon down the line. I wouldn't buy one right off the bat because of that unless I was planning to overclock.The Athlon64 and Opteron, on the other hand, will not be SocketA. As a matter of fact, the pin counts on both are huge (754 and 940(!) respectively - compared to 462 on the AthlonXP). Even when the A64 is introduced this fall though, it won't be mainstream for quite a while longer than that. Any SocketA purchase today isn't in danger of being supplanted in the mid-term (longer than most keep any one motherboard and CPU at least).One thing to keep in mind on the Hammer line beyond its 64 bit abilities: it has a much better memory design and other improvements that have nothing to do with its 64 bitness. For one example, integrating its memory controller right on the CPU die itself should greatly enhance latency benefits on the AMD side. I'd almost bet they delayed the Athlon64 so they could bump the integrated memory controller to handle DDR400, or at least make it a dual-bus design. Regardless, given the design benefits of Hammer, it should indeed run any 32-bit program (like FS2002) better than Barton. But, Barton will be the mainstream and still fully competitive AMD engine for the foreseeable future.Take care,Elrond

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>I wouldn't buy one right off the bat because of that unless I was>planning to overclock.Not to worry. I'm just finishing up a significant upgrade that will keep me happy for months, at least. But I did buy the motherboard -- an nForce2 motherboard -- with a view toward Barton, hoping that maybe the next upgrade could be just the CPU. Of course, it could turn out that the manufacturer doesn't update the BIOS, but I'm thinking they will. So I'm set until Barton's fall in price to something I cannot afford to pass up.-Basil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this