It seems like AMD and Intel have really started something with this transition to dual-core. The Athlon 64 X2 has the enthusiast market cornered with impressive performance and sky-high prices, while Intelís Pentium D leverages modest speed and attractive pricing. Between the two of them, thereís something for everyone. And indeed, while most of the gamers I know are fully aware that the frequency losses inherent to these multi-core architectures make a small dent in their frame rates, the benefits outside of gaming are compelling a majority of them to upgrade.
At the high-end, the compromise is minimal. AMDís Athlon 64 X2 cedes very little to other single-core Athlon chips, even in applications written with one thread in mind. With a little bit of overclocking, itís relatively easy to hit the same clock speeds and the addition of a second core really bolsters threaded software. When you then consider the convenience of recycling your existing Socket 939 motherboard and memory, paying to play just isnít as bad.
Nevertheless, AMD is sticking to its story that single-core processors will persist as the best option for hardcore gamers for a while yet. You see, the 90nm process on which the Athlon 64 is currently manufactured has been around for a while. If you draw parallels to a recipe for cherry cake, AMD has tweaked the ingredients for an optimally fluffy, flavorful dessert. Now the company is selling an incredibly complicated German chocolate cake and itís taking time to dial that one in as well, which is why thereís currently a frequency discrepancy between the two architectures. Until AMD closes the gap between them, single-core will be faster in games.
Itís admittedly hard to validate the Athlon 64 FX-55 when an Athlon 64 X2 4800+ has little trouble hitting 2.6 GHz, though. If youíre already willing to drop a grand, why not spring for the model better positioned to bolster the software currently in development, especially since it also does a knock-out job handling todayís apps?
AMD is ready to prove its Athlon 64 FX is still top dog in the gaming world by again turbo charging the chipís core frequency to 2.8GHz. The new addition is naturally named Athlon 64 FX-57, in line with the naming convention weíve born witness to for a couple of years now.