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AMD Athlon 64 : FX-51 performance - System & testing notes
So we've talked long enough about AMD's Athlon 64 processor, now it's time to see how it performs in the flesh. Before you see the graphs we recommend you take a look at our three previous articles on the Athlon 64 :
Part 1 - Athlon 64 : AMD64 technology
Part 2 - Athlon 64 : HyperTransport
Part 3 - Athlon 64 : Chipsets - to be published later this week
Part 4 - Athlon 64 : Here & now
In this article we are looking at the Athlon 64 FX-51 processor. Later this week we'll post our results using the mainstream Athlon 64 3200+.

Before you look at the graphs it is very important that you see the configuration of our test machines. We tried to match each machine as closely as possible, however issues like RAM were beyond our control, as the Athlon 64 FX-51 requires registered memory while the Athlon XP and Pentium 4 machines don't.
Athlon 64 FX-51 machine

AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 (2.2GHz) processor
Asus SK8N (nForce 3 PRO) motherboard
2x 512MB PC3200 ECC registered RAM
Western Digital WD400JB 40GB hard drive
Sony DDU1612 DVD-ROM drive
Coolermaster TAC-T01 case
Antec 430W power supply

Microsoft Windows XP Professional with SP1
Microsoft DirectX 9.0b
Microsoft Windows XP 64-bit edition version 2003, build 3790 was installed on a separate Western Digital WD400JB hard disk drive.

At the time of testing, DirectX 9.0 was not completely stable with XP 64-bit edition and AMD warned us that this was the case.

As Windows XP 64-bit edition is still in beta we recommend you only use benchmarks run on this operating system as a guide due to changes made with the final version.

Athlon XP test machine
AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (200MHz FSB)
Asus A7N8X (nForce 2) motherboard (version 2.00)
2x Corsair 256Mb PC3200 XMS Low Latency Platinum DDR SDRAM
Western Digital WD400JB (8Mb cache) 40Gb hard disk drive
LG 32x ATAPI CDROM
Coolermaster ATC 201 case
Coolermaster XDream SE heatsink
Enermax 460W PSU

Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 installed
Microsoft DirectX 9.0b
Pentium 4 test machine
Intel Pentium 4 'C' 3.2GHz (800MHz FSB)
2x Corsair 256Mb PC3200 XMS Low Latency Platinum DDR SDRAM
Western Digital WD400JB (8Mb cache) 40Gb hard disk drive
Mitsumi 42x ATAPI CDROM
Coolermaster ATC 200 case
Intel standard design cooler
HIPER 420W PSU

Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 installed
Microsoft DirectX 9.0b
In most tests we have included results when using a reference NVIDIA Geforce FX 5900 Ultra and a reference ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 128MB. The purpose of this article is not to benchmark the video cards and the reason why these two were included is primarily to show you the difference in performance if you were to simply upgrade the CPU, motherboard and RAM should you own one of these high-end graphics cards.

NVIDIA Geforce FX 5900 Ultra Detonator driver version : 45.23
ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 128MB Catalyst driver version : 3.7

When full screen anti-aliasing (FSAA) and anisotropic filtering (AF) were enabled, we set "Quality" settings in the driver software. Please be aware that there are still differences between ATI's "Quality" mode and NVIDIA's however our purpose is to show the gain in performance through upgrading your CPU not your graphics sub-system.
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