AMD Athlon 64 3200+
So you're hungry for performance and you have been saving your pennies since you purchased your current 486 system in the mid 1990's so one day you could own the fastest PC - for a little while. After that little while, every person and their dog is getting one as the price has drop and the "sensible" people who waited are getting it 20% cheaper then you who couldn't wait. The difference between an enthusiast and those "sensible" people are that you were sitting on top of the Future Mark ORB for a month. When you have to mortgage your house to fund your horrid obsession for hardware, some may say you have addiction. We say good on you!
The AMD Athlon 64 is the latest processor to hit the market along with its buddy, the Athlon FX. Both are very fast processors with one requiring ECC memory and the other not. Today we have the Athlon 64 3200+, AMD's 2GHz beast which doesn't expose an ugly core for us to crack, like the dreaded 32-bit cores of the past.
The Athlon 64 carries over some of the latest and greatest technology to our computers. Let's have a quick look at them now:
HyperTransport Technology may be a term that you have heard floating around. HyperTransport Technology eliminates the middle man on your motherboard. Instead of data passing through processor to the Southbridge to the PCI bus, we now go from the processor straight to the PCI. AMD quote on their website that this can be up to 48 times faster but this would be a theoretical maximum.
The Athlon 64 is the first mainstream processor to have an Integrated DDR controller which helps maximize memory performance. Like HyperTransport Technology, you again are getting rid of the middle man. We are now going from the processor to the memory and back to the processor in less steps.
By now you should be thinking "Oh my, these things sound fast!" and if you are thinking that, you're 100% correct. For straight out-of-the-box performance, we have a beauty on our hands.
Overclocking, life wouldn't be the same for a lot of people without it. This is a new chip and isn't the best overclocker at the moment. Fortunately as time goes by, better yields will be seen and AMD will simply mass produce X processor and just clock them down. This has been seen in the past where a certain batch of processors will all hit a certain overclock.
The company simply produces the same chip thousands of times and sets the multiplier/FSB to what they want it to be. This saves money and time and while it could be a few months away from happening we will see it eventually as the platform matures.