AMD today launched its latest gamer-oriented single-core processor, the Athlon 64 FX-57, positioning the part well above its recently released dual-core desktop chips.
The FX-57 is also the first member of the FX family to be fabbed at 90nm. It's also the first to support Intel's SSE 3 vector processing instruction set.
Those features clearly qualify the chip for gamers, but AMD also said it would engage with the overclocking community. Previous Athlon 64 FXs have been clock-unlocked, but AMD is making no secret of the fact. While overclocking the part will still voids its warranty, AMD said it wants to make the process safer by providing recommendations for heat-dissipation systems and other tools used by overclockers to ensure stable processor operation. The FX-57 has a maximum thermal power rating of 104W at its official clock speed.
AMD has upgraded the chip's integrated memory controller to work with 533MHz DDR SDRAM. Its predecessor, the FX-55, was limited to 400MHz memory. AMD isn't phasing out the FX-55 just yet, nor is it reducing the older product's pricing. Instead, AMD is using price to sandwich the top-end dual-core Athlon 64 X2 between the FX-55 and the FX-57.
Unlike Intel, which is pushing its dual-core Pentium D as a gaming processor almost as much as it is promoting the Pentium Extreme Edition as one, AMD wants clear blue water between the X2 line and the FX range. The former is for digital content creators, the latter is for gamers and overclockers, it says. It's certainly true that few if any major-league games support multiple processors, so there's little direct benefit to be had from using a dual-core CPU, but a dualie does allow gamers to run other code without the fear that it will negatively impact game performance.
Mind you, since the X2 4800+ is clocked to 2.4GHz and the FX-57 to 2.8GHz, it's hard to imagine AMD-friendly gamers not wanting the single-core part no matter what. The X2 is also locked against overclocking, AMD said. The FX-57 delivers around seven per cent greater performance than the 2.6GHz, 130nm FX-55, according to AMD's own benchmarks.
The new chip is priced at $1031, $30 more than the X2 4800+ and $204 more than the FX-55. The FX-57 is available immediately from AMD and from the usual-suspect system builders and PC vendors.
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