The Ultimate Future Linux Box

The new AM2 socket-based AMD Athlon 64 dual-core processor goes beyond 11.
The Bottom Line

We drooled when we received the AMD rev. F Processor (FX-60 or X2-5000+) along with the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard built for this processor. Sure, we'd heard about how this is only an incremental improvement over existing AMD64 Socket 939 processors and their motherboards. In fact, most opine that there's no improvement at all. As it turns out, many benchmarks show that there is minimal improvement in performance.

But, we think most reviews are missing the forest for the trees. The AM2 socket-based processors and boards aren't about delivering an exponential improvement in performance today. This is about laying the foundation for exponential improvements in performance for the future. We can't tell you whether it is worth it for you to invest in today's socket-AM2 motherboards and processors. The risk you take is mostly dependent upon how quickly memory manufacturers can improve DDR2 and whether your motherboard will support the improved DDR2 modules.

In the long run, however, DDR2 will most definitely improve, and AMD will undoubtedly ship quad-core processors that require DDR2 and lower latency in order to exploit the advantages of quad-cores. So, although it may be frivolous to invest in a socket AM2 system today, we predict that the time is coming when the benefits will be indisputable. It is entirely possible that Intel can pull a rabbit out of its design hat and trump the AMD approach, but we don't see that happening yet. That's why we consider the socket AM2 systems as the Ultimate Linux Boxes of the future.

Nicholas Petreley is Editor in Chief of Linux Journal and a former programmer, teacher, analyst and consultant who has been working with and writing about Linux for more than ten years.



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Stream benchmark

DRHO's picture

It would really help to see the STREAM benchmark results since
that really shows what the memory bus can do for large problems.

I'd really like to see how the X2 AM2 compares to 939 to see
if the AM2 improve the memory bandwidth to both processors.

New memory available

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Just an FYI. Corsair is now shipping DDR2 with latency timings of 3-4-3-9, which is better than the memory that was available when I wrote this. I plan to do some testing to see if this lower-latency memory actually delivers perceptibly better performance.