Welcome back, here’s an update from the trenches, and a follow up to yesterday's column. We’re still hard at work getting the Athlon 64 FX up and running, but unfortunately we have some difficulties getting it all working properly on the latest build of Microsoft’s 64bit version of Windows XP. The problems aren’t so much the AMD processor but the ATI and Nvidia video cards that we’re using. We’d love to have the latest build of both ATI’s and Nvidia’s 64bit drivers for Windows XP 64bit, but neither of them were willing to send us a copy. Why bother? Because we’d like to see how the Athlon 64 FX performs with a 64bit OS, as that is where AMD puts the emphasis on, better performance with a 64bit OS. The installation of the 32bit version of Windows XP went over pretty smoothly although a fresh install from an original Windows XP cd would result in a crash. A slipstreamed copy of Windows XP, which contained SP1a, would however install without a hitch. This just goes to show that the original Windows XP does not have support for the Athlon 64 FX, whereas SP1a does have this support.
Fig 1. The general tab of system properties correctly identifies the Athlon 64 FX processor.
Fig 2. The Athlon 64 FX with the heatsink attached running in the SK8N motherboard.
Another issue we came across was the fact that the Athlon 64 FX requires registered DDR memory in order to work. Whether this is due to the Asus SK8N motherboard we were unable to determine. We’ve tried a variety of different not-registered DDR modules, amongst which Crucial, Corsair, TwinMOS and a few others but couldn’t get it to boot. However dual DDR400 registered memory is supported and this requirement is similar to what is needed to get the Opteron up and running. To be honest this processor reminds us a lot of the Opteron 100 series, which also uses dual channel memory, although not DDR400 but DDR333 and is not able to run in SMP configurations.