For years, people have been telling me to go with an AMD processor on my desktop. Well, that may have happened today – with the launch of AMD’s new Quad FX platform (formerly known as 4×4). I’ll be replacing my current system (running a slightly out-of-date Intel processor) with a brand new one in a brand new case. My AMD Quad FX System contains the following hardware:

  • FX74 Processors (2)
  • Asus Motherboard L1N64-SLI WS
  • Corsair DDR-2 Memory 4GB (4x1GB): Dominator TWIN2X2048-8500C5D
  • Western Digital Raptor (2x150GB – RAID 0)
  • Western Digital WD500ks 500GB storage drive
  • PC Power and Cooling 1000 watt power-supply TC1KW-SR
  • 7900 GTX SLI (2 x nvidia 7900GTX)
  • Thermaltake Chassis VA8003BWS w/ new design panel door
  • Sony DVD-Rom Drive (Black)
  • Sony DVD-RW Drive (Black)
  • Sony Floppy Drive (Black)
  • Heat sinks: AVC B3 Part # Z7UB408001

AMD 70-Series FX Processors (1)

I set it up to dual boot between Windows XP and the final version of Windows Vista. However, AMD and Asus haven’t quite finalized the BIOS – as this happens to be a pre-production machine (courtesy of AMD). The AMD Athlon 64 FX Processor Tech Specs?

  • Frequency / Cache Sizes: FX-74 3.0GHz w/ 1MB L2 cache-per-core
  • L1 Cache Sizes: Each core has its own 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache (256KB total L1 per processor)
  • CPU to Memory Controller: Same as CPU core frequencies
  • Memory Controller: Shared integrated 128-bit wide memory controller
  • Types of Memory: PC1600, PC2100, PC2700 and PC3200 DDR2 memory (unbuffered)
  • HyperTransport Links: Two 16-bit/16-bit link
  • HyperTransport Spec: 2GHz (2x 1000MHz / DDR)
  • Effective data bandwidth: 14.4 GB/sec [8GB/sec x1 HyperTransport link + 6.4GB/sec memory bandwidth]
  • Packaging: Socket 1207 – 1207-pin organic land Grid Array (LGA)
  • Process Technology: 90nm (.09-micron) Silicon on Insulator (SOI)
  • Approximate Transistor count: 227 million
  • Approximate Die Size: 235 mm2
  • Nominal Voltage: 1.35-1.40V
  • Max Thermal Power: 125W
  • Max Ambient Case Temp: 56 degrees (Celsius) for FX-74
  • Max Icc (processor current): 95A VDD Core minimum support

Now, AMD’s literature suggests that the Quad FX platform was designed for megataskers (like myself). I can tell you that in my limited experience with this system, it certainly flies. That performance increase isn’t without its drawbacks, however. It’s louder than any computer I’ve ever owned – but I’m hoping that future software and firmware updates will curb the decibel level. Fellow reviewer, ExtremeTech, had this to say about it:

First off, there’s the whole issue of noise and power. The Quad FX reference system AMD shipped us is easily the loudest system we’ve had in our office. We’ll grant that sophisticated users and resellers can build quieter systems. The power consumption, both at peak and idle, is nearly double that of an equivalent Intel system. We hit nearly 600W with only two hard drives and a single graphics card. That means that you’ll need a beefy power supply, and your power bill will be substantially higher if you run one of these on a daily basis.

I still think it’s a bit too early to benchmark, as the BIOS doesn’t even know what kind of processor it has on board. Bottom line? It’s making for a fantastic media workstation! Windows Vista certainly loves it, I can tell you that much. Unlike on other (previous) Vista test systems of mine, AMD’s Quad FX machine handled rudimentary Vista tasks with instantaneous ease. I’m not going to say that Vista is awesome, but maybe it’s just a little bit better when supported by high-end hardware like this. More to report on this system soon – after a few weeks of regular use. More photos here.

[tags]amd, fx70, processor, cpu, hardware, geek, geeky, geekery[/tags]