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The current AMD 64 is another one of those unsung heroes. This is a 64 bit processor, so it’s going to run the applications and operating systems of tomorrow, but still runs 32 bit applications now, so you don’t need to wait for the software to support it. It’s also very powerful, benchmarking against the top Intel 3ghz+processors, this chip(which actually runs nearer 2ghz) really gives them a run for their money. The best part though is that this processor can be made VERY quiet. Let’s look at this aspect first.
Cool n’ Quiet technology. The title says it all, AMD 64 processors have a fantastic new technology built in which allows them to actively clock themselves up and down in speed. In a typical example, sitting on the desktop browsing the web or viewing word documents, the full speed is not needed. At this point the processor clocks itself down to 800mhz. This speed is more than enough when you consider that this more modern processor will do more in 1mhz than the likes of a PIII 800mhz equivalent. At this point you decide you would like to load a game or application, as soon as you double click the icon, the processor jumps up to 2.2ghz(this is viewable through a small piece of software that will come with your motherboard.) and stays there for as long as is required. It’s intelligent in this way, you’ll never find yourself in a game only running at 800mhz, it will always be at full power for this.
Now for the quiet bit. When running at 800mhz, this processor is so refined, that it barely puts out any heat at all. Remember it’s made to run at 2.2Ghz, so this is nothing for it. When building these machines, the first stage of testing is usually done with the side panel off. The fan is controlled through the bios, so it will frequently stop for 2 and 3 minutes at a time! Then maybe only come on for a minute or so to cool off. This is really a brilliant piece of engineering, AMD have heard the cries of the modern market, and responded perfectly.
I’ve talked briefly about the power these processors have, let me expand on this. Although this is called the AMD 64 3200, it actually runs at 2.2ghz. Many people used to simply look at the MHz rating of a processor and decide on that, but there is much more to it than this. If AMD had simply posted the true speed of the processors, they would have seemed inferior to Intel, because at the moment there’s nothing from AMD above the 2.4 GHz mark(2400MHz). Yet this processor really challenges the top Intel processors. If you consider that in benchmarks such as sisoft Sandra this will beat 3 and 3.2GHz Pentium 4s, it would really wipe the floor with a 2.2ghz Pentium 4. This is why AMD have opted to “rate” their CPUs, to give them a better market chance.
Gaming. You don’t need to wait for 64bit applications, operating systems and games to come out. The AMD64 is fully backward compatible with all 32 bit applications, and if you’re into gaming, give this some serious thought. In the world of Graphics (until recently) it was thought that the Graphics card was the limiting factor in games, until the Radeon X800 Came out. This would technically mean that the difference between having a 3.2Ghz Intel or an AMD64 3200 would be minimal, but looking at benchmarks such as 3DMark 2001Se and 3DMark 2003, I saw a jump in scores when using the AMD of anything up to 10%. Bearing in mind this isn’t even the platform that the AMD 64 was designed for, it’s really excelling at 32 bit processing.
The only down side to this processor that I can see is the immediate future, the whole market at time of writing this review is changing over, the AMD64s current socket is about to be changed, and Intel are moving over to a new socket as well. There’s no such thing as the right time to buy a computer, there’s always something around the corner, so if you’re looking for a quiet, fast computer right now, or for upgrade, get one of these.
It’s also worth noting that if you go for the retail models which are the ones that come in a proper AMD box, you also get a cooler and a 3 year warranty, not bad for an extra few pounds in my book.
All credit to AMD for a superb processor, make it your next upgrade!