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AMD Athlon 64-Bit CPUs Explained

Former staff writer    -   January 25, 2004


AMD Athlon 64 FX-xx

The Athlon 64 FX is AMD’s new flagship, and is targeted at “gamers and prosumers.” Now, if you are anything like me, you saw that and said “WTF is a ‘prosumer’?” AMD’s definition of that is, “A prosumer is a user who produces professional-like results from higher-end consumer-level software applications for digital media, 3-D modeling, etc. Many of these enthusiasts use professional versions on workstations at work or school.”

The current Athlon 64 FX-xx processors have a 940-pin chip with a huge metal heat spreader on top that resembles what we’ve seen on the Intel Pentium IV processors.

Like the Athlon XP, the Athlon 64 FX-xx has support for Dual Channel DDR (aka DDDR or DCDDR by some), however the memory controller is no longer controlled by the motherboard. The Athlon 64 FX-xx has the memory controller located - die, and supports Dual 64-bit DDR memory channels, giving it a 128-bit memory bus. One thing to keep in mind if you are going to buy an Athlon 64 FX-xx processor is that it requires the use of registered memory.


The memory controller was integrated into the CPU to help boot performance and to speed up memory-intensive applications.

The Athlon 64 FX-xx is almost the same processor as the AMD Opteron, with just a couple differences. The Opteron and 64 FX-xx differ in that the Opteron has three HyperTransport links, whereas the Athlon 64 FX-xx only has one HyperTransport link. According to AMD, the two processors are also tested to different electrical specifications.

The Athlon 64 FX-xx processor also has the “largest on-die cache of PCs”. How much cache are we talking? 128KB L1 cache (64KB instruction + 64KB data) and 1MB L2 cache.

While there aren’t many operating systems that currently support the AMD 64, the AMD 64 FX-xx will run on all 32-bit x86 operating systems.











  1. Introduction & Chip Information
  2. Athlon 64 FX-xx
  3. Athlon 64 xxxx+
  4. Side-by-side Comparison & Conclusion
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