AMD Athlon FX55 CPU Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Applications 9.5
Graphics 9.5
Multimedia 9.0
Value 9.5
Distributor: AMD
Reviewer:
Andrew B

9.5


AMD ATHLON FX55

The battle between AMD and Intel continues and AMDs latest offering in its line of socket 939 processors delivers one of the most powerful CPUs on the market by introducing the world's first 64-bit CPU. Aimed at computing enthusiasts (e.g. gamers, business and home users), the FX55 is set to revolutionise the future of PC gaming and applications by introducing a variety of new features to increase the performance of computer systems from standard applications to multimedia packages.

In order to test this CPU to its full potential, AMD had sent an entire system with the FX55 CPU that contained state-of-the-art components which includes;

  • Athlon FX55 CPU

  • MSI K87 Ne02 (MS-6702E) Motherboard

  • EVGA 256MB DVI Video Card

  • Western Digital HDD (WD740X2)

  • Corsair DDR RAM (PC 3200 1GB)

  • Sony DVD drive

  • Windows XP Professional (SP2)

Sure, these specifications may seem high end but you should also keep in mind that the FX55 CPU is indeed a new generation of CPUs so the latest and greatest hardware is needed to test this powerful processor.

After the system was unpacked and connected to all the relevant input (keyboard - mouse) and output (Philips 17" LCD screen) devices, the first that that we noticed about the test machine was the boot-up speed of Microsoft Windows XP Professional which loaded the operating system in just a fraction of the time. Even performing the simplest procedures in Windows XP such as accessing menus or reading DVD discs was exceptionally fast. Compressing files, searching for files and even installing software was extremely fast and when compared to its competitors, AMD has a plethora of features which explains the breakthrough in performance.

AMD Athlon 64 FX55 Processor Key Architectural Features

  • Compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit applications and operating systems

  • Doubles the amount of internal registers to increase computing performance

  • Expands memory addressability in excess of 4GB for increased graphical performance

  • Enhanced virus protection

  • HyperTransport technology helps increase system performance by reducing bottlenecks, increasing I/O bandwidth and reducing I/O latency.

  • Integrated Double Data Rate (DDR) memory controller to directly link the processor to the memory to increase performance on various applications

  • 3DNow! professional technology assists all multimedia-enhanced software

AMD Athlon 64 55FX Technical Specifications

  • L1 Cache Size: 64KB data + 64KB instruction = 128KB Total

  • L2 Cache Size: 1MB (exclusive)

  • CPU Core Frequency: 2.60GHz

  • CPU to Memory Controller: 2.60GHz

  • Memory: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller

  • Types of Memory: PC1600, PC2100, PC2700 and PC3200 DDR memory

  • HyperTransport Links: 1

  • HyperTransport Spec: 2GHz (2x 1000MHz / DDR)

  • Effective data bandwidth: Up to 14.4 GB/sec (8GB/sec

  • HyperTransport bandwidth plus 6.4GB/sec memory bandwidth)

  • Packaging: 939-pin organic micro-PGA

  • Fab location: AMD's Fab 30 wafer fabrication facility in Dresden, Germany

  • Process Technology: 130nm (.13-micron) Silicon on Insulator (SOI)

  • Approximate Transistor count: 105.9 million

  • Approximate Die Size: 193mm2

  • Nominal Voltage: 1.50 V

  • Max Ambient Case Temp: 63 degrees Celsius

  • Max Thermal Power: 104 W

  • Max Icc (processor current): 80A

We tested a variety of different software applications on the test machine that included Microsoft Office Professional, 3DMark03, Doom 3, Farcry, Mortyr 2, Shade: Wrath of Angels and Adobe Photoshop 7.0. Apart from the games, most of the standard software applications loaded immediately with the loading times of games barely noticeable.

It should also be noted that the FX55 is an extremely quiet CPU, thanks to the Cool'n'Quiet technology by AMD that reduces heat output by the PC. This not only ensures a quieter PC but it also assists in power consumption, especially when the system is performing basic tasks such as surfing the internet, creating CDs or just running a screen saver. The FX55 also has innate anti-virus technologies that prevent various harmful viruses and Trojan horses from attacking the operating system.

In comparison to the Intel line of CPUs, the FX55 is the equivalent of a 2.6Ghz processor but in actual fact, it outperforms one of Intel's highest end processors (3.6Ghz). This empirical evidence can be seen below with the load times of all software packages dramatically cut in half.

AMD Athlon 64 55FX Standard Application Tests
 

AMD (FX55) Intel (3.6GHZ HT)
Microsoft Office Word
Opening 2MB word document
Opening 5MB word document
Opening 10MB word document
Seconds
0.1
0.5
1.0
Microsoft Office Word
Opening 2MB word document
Opening 5MB word document
Opening 10MB word document
Seconds
0.2
1.0
2.0
Microsoft FrontPage
Opening 50k HTML document
Opening 500k HTML document
Seconds
0.1
0.2
Microsoft FrontPage
Opening 50k HTML document
Opening 500k HTML document
Seconds
0.1
0.3
Adobe Photoshop 7.0
Opening 2MB JPEG file
Opening 10MB JPEG file
Opening 50MB JPEG file
Seconds
1.0
4.0
18
Adobe Photoshop 7.0
Opening 2MB JPEG file
Opening 10MB JPEG file
Opening 50MB JPEG file
Seconds
1.0
5.5
25

After compiling our results, the AMD FX55 processor is clearly one of the most powerful CPUs on the market at the moment and as the FX55 is a fully functional 64-bit CPU, AMD has ensured that its new range of processors is fully compatible with Microsoft's new 64-bit operating system codenamed "longhorn", hence increasing the longevity of this line. Even though all the programs are still 32-bit versions, the AMD has a huge performance increase over Intel and when the new 64-bit operating systems are released, the performance of the FX55 will be increased yet again.

AMD Athlon 64 55FX Graphical Tests
 

AMD (FX55) Intel (3.6Ghz HT)
3DMark2003 12,280 3DMark2003 11890

The FX55 is indeed aimed at the graphical world of computing and even from the results of 3DMark2003, the AMD processor slightly outperforms its Intel equivalent which is great news for gamers, especially in the frame rate department. In order to keep our tests relevant, we decided to test the FX55 system on two of the most graphical intensive games on the market at the moment which includes Farcry and Doom 3.

AMD Athlon 64 55FX Game tests (Farcry)

AMD (FX55) Intel (3.6Ghz HT)
Farcry (1024x768) 132.1 fps Farcry (1024x768) 116.2 fps

As with 3DMark2003, the results for Farcry excelled on the FX55 with both systems benchmarked on maximum quality settings. Even though the frame rate remained rather constant on both systems, that extra 16 frames per second on the FX55 truly showed a difference, especially when it was running on maximum detail. 

AMD Athlon 64 55FX Game tests (Doom 3)

AMD (FX55) Intel (3.6Ghz HT)
Doom 3 (1024x768) 102.8 fps Doom 3 (1024x768) 85.4 fps

Doom 3, probably the most anticipated game of 2004 is one of the most graphical intensive games and the FX55 once again showed our Intel 3.6Ghz processor the ropes. These results clearly indicate that the FX55 is indeed a pure games machine that has the ability to display a variety of special effects at insane resolutions without any slowdown.

The future of the FX55 CPU is bright and already various software development companies (E.g Microsoft, Electronic Arts & UBISOFT) have already started programming their applications to make use of all the benefits that this processor can offer. Software developers, hardcore PC gamers, businesses and even the home user will all benefit from AMD's new 64-bit CPU and if you're thinking of upgrading your existing PC than I would recommend that you consider the FX55.






 
 



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