As promised we’ll give you an update on the performance and other features of the AMD systems that we reported on yesterday. Naturally AMD wasn’t very keen on disclosing clockspeed or detailed system configurations of the demo systems they had running, but we took advantage of a few fellow journalists entering the room and keeping the AMD PR people busy to run a few quick benchmarks on the Athlon-64 system. The Athlon-64 demo system we already reported on yesterday had a 2GHz clockspeed and used the SuSe 64-bit Linux operating system and was running the 64-bit version of Unreal Tournament 2003 as a demo.
Fig 1. The Athlon-64 system running SuSe 64-bit Linux and the 64-bits version of Unreal Tournament 2003.
Naturally we’re intimately familiar with the workings of Unreal Tournament 2003 engine and after a quick look at the display settings, which were set at a 1024x768x32bit resolution with all other features at default, we measured a mere average 42fps and maximum fps around the 55…60fps mark. Considering the fact that this is a 2GHz Athlon-64 processor teamed up with a GeForce Ti 4600 we honestly expected a whole lot better. A 1.6GHz Pentium 4 with that very same GeForce Ti 4600 videocard would have no problems clocking in a similar score while running under Windows XP.
Fig 2. The Athlon-64 notebook running CyberLink’s PowerDVD actually showing the first Harry Potter movie.
But there’s more, we managed to take a closer look at the notebook too and quickly found out that this indeed is a proof of concept. It plays DVDs very well, mostly courtesy of the ATi M9-series graphics card, and unfortunately all our questions about whether we could do something else with it were answered with a resounding ‘no’. We did however manage to find out what was inside in terms of chipset, memory and graphics card. The notebook apparently used a Via K8T400M chipset teamed up with an ATi M9-series graphics adapter and was using PC2100, DDR266, memory. The screen was a standard 14.1 inch running at a 1024x768 resolution and the DVD software they used was none other than CyberLink’s PowerDVD.
Fig 3. The quad Opteron server with the top cover removed, the PCI-X slots in the back and a the four CPUs hidden underneath the huge heatsinks.
Fig 4. The quad Opteron with the SuSe 64-bit Linux operating system running some sort of a database benchmark, right next to the UT2003 demo machine.
We naturally also took a closer look at the quad Opteron as that’s definitely something AMD is currently pushing hard. They’re putting all their weight behind the launch of their server products and have postponed the launch of the desktop version of the Opteron, the Athlon-64, back to September. The server parts, including completely pre-configured two-way Opteron systems, should be available in late April, right after the April 26th launch of the Opteron server CPU family. Clockspeeds will initially range up to 1.6 or 1.8GHz and performance is expected to be similar to Intel’s Xeon offerings. But as always, we’ll reserve judgement until we can actually evaluate two similarly configured servers side by side, for now all they have given us are SpecInt-2000 and SpecFP-2000 scores without disclosing the system configurations, so that doesn’t tell us anything.
Nevertheless it looks like AMD is indeed trying to get some new and innovative products out of the door. Whether they’ll be able to make a lasting impression, both in terms of features and performance, with their new 64-bit products remains to be seen though, we’ll be sure to keep a close eye on any future developments.
Previous update with the latest about Athlon-64, Opteron and mobile Athlon-64 with streaming video and pictures of the mobile Athlon-64 and the quad Opteron can be found here:
AMD Product Update, Athlon-64 and more