AMD Quad FX PC for Me

For years, people have been telling me to go with an AMD processor on my desktop. Well, that may have happened today – with the launch of AMD’s new Quad FX platform (formerly known as 4×4). I’ll be replacing my current system (running a slightly out-of-date Intel processor) with a brand new one in a brand new case. My AMD Quad FX System contains the following hardware:

  • FX74 Processors (2)
  • Asus Motherboard L1N64-SLI WS
  • Corsair DDR-2 Memory 4GB (4x1GB): Dominator TWIN2X2048-8500C5D
  • Western Digital Raptor (2x150GB – RAID 0)
  • Western Digital WD500ks 500GB storage drive
  • PC Power and Cooling 1000 watt power-supply TC1KW-SR
  • 7900 GTX SLI (2 x nvidia 7900GTX)
  • Thermaltake Chassis VA8003BWS w/ new design panel door
  • Sony DVD-Rom Drive (Black)
  • Sony DVD-RW Drive (Black)
  • Sony Floppy Drive (Black)
  • Heat sinks: AVC B3 Part # Z7UB408001

AMD 70-Series FX Processors (1)

I set it up to dual boot between Windows XP and the final version of Windows Vista. However, AMD and Asus haven’t quite finalized the BIOS – as this happens to be a pre-production machine (courtesy of AMD). The AMD Athlon 64 FX Processor Tech Specs?

  • Frequency / Cache Sizes: FX-74 3.0GHz w/ 1MB L2 cache-per-core
  • L1 Cache Sizes: Each core has its own 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache (256KB total L1 per processor)
  • CPU to Memory Controller: Same as CPU core frequencies
  • Memory Controller: Shared integrated 128-bit wide memory controller
  • Types of Memory: PC1600, PC2100, PC2700 and PC3200 DDR2 memory (unbuffered)
  • HyperTransport Links: Two 16-bit/16-bit link
  • HyperTransport Spec: 2GHz (2x 1000MHz / DDR)
  • Effective data bandwidth: 14.4 GB/sec [8GB/sec x1 HyperTransport link + 6.4GB/sec memory bandwidth]
  • Packaging: Socket 1207 – 1207-pin organic land Grid Array (LGA)
  • Process Technology: 90nm (.09-micron) Silicon on Insulator (SOI)
  • Approximate Transistor count: 227 million
  • Approximate Die Size: 235 mm2
  • Nominal Voltage: 1.35-1.40V
  • Max Thermal Power: 125W
  • Max Ambient Case Temp: 56 degrees (Celsius) for FX-74
  • Max Icc (processor current): 95A VDD Core minimum support

Now, AMD’s literature suggests that the Quad FX platform was designed for megataskers (like myself). I can tell you that in my limited experience with this system, it certainly flies. That performance increase isn’t without its drawbacks, however. It’s louder than any computer I’ve ever owned – but I’m hoping that future software and firmware updates will curb the decibel level. Fellow reviewer, ExtremeTech, had this to say about it:

First off, there’s the whole issue of noise and power. The Quad FX reference system AMD shipped us is easily the loudest system we’ve had in our office. We’ll grant that sophisticated users and resellers can build quieter systems. The power consumption, both at peak and idle, is nearly double that of an equivalent Intel system. We hit nearly 600W with only two hard drives and a single graphics card. That means that you’ll need a beefy power supply, and your power bill will be substantially higher if you run one of these on a daily basis.

I still think it’s a bit too early to benchmark, as the BIOS doesn’t even know what kind of processor it has on board. Bottom line? It’s making for a fantastic media workstation! Windows Vista certainly loves it, I can tell you that much. Unlike on other (previous) Vista test systems of mine, AMD’s Quad FX machine handled rudimentary Vista tasks with instantaneous ease. I’m not going to say that Vista is awesome, but maybe it’s just a little bit better when supported by high-end hardware like this. More to report on this system soon – after a few weeks of regular use. More photos here.

[tags]amd, fx70, processor, cpu, hardware, geek, geeky, geekery[/tags]

Article Written by

Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • imterry

    Have you had a chance to play with the Kentsfield QX6700 yet? You’ll get comparable performance for significantly less noise and power consumption. I’ve got a Kentsfield rig and it’s awesome to run a virus scan while playing Company of Heroes at the same time with no stutter or performance degradation. :D

    After your first month of playing with your new 4×4 rig, that sound you’ll hear is your jaw hitting the ground after you get your first electicity bill post-4×4. ;)

  • http://subwolf.org/ SubWolf

    I am sooooooooo jealous. I’ve heard (via slashdot?) that the current 4×4 offering isn’t that supadupa fast compared to the best Core Duo Extreme out there, but I’ll pick an AMD anyday. :x

  • Jman

    Chrismeister – Tsk…

    Dual Booting is *yesterday’s* methodology – use VMWARE if you’ll dual-boot. If you decide to run Vista full-time, you can use ghost or use NTBackup to migrate the image to “real” hardware. With VMware you can bounce back and forth without at will. Anyway with 4gb RAM you’ve got more memory than many servers – plenty to run them side-by-side like that. (Virtual PC is a memory hog by the way)

    Joel

  • http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/Ou George Ou

    You get far more performance with a single socket Intel QX6700 and you don’t need a $400 dual socket motherboard. All the benchmarks prove this on every single review site. Don’t just blindly believe the hype.

    That doesn’t even take in to account the 40% boost you can get in overclocking the Intel QX6700 with a good cooler and a voltage bump. You can forget about clocking the FX-74 more than 7%.

    http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/Ou/?p=382

  • quad_fx_sucks

    The 4×4 is truly a dinosaur, taken from server platform. A reminder of Prescott days but this one is even more retarded, excessive heat and astronomical power consumption, coupled by the fact it doesn’t perform that well against competition. Even an FX-62 puts this to shame in gaming, not to mention Core 2 Duos. Makes 1000W PSUs more popular than ever. Welcome to server room like noisy environment. Makes a great but expensive space heater for Christmas. You should be better off with real dual socket Opterons, at least those aren’t so ridiculous. Even a Mac Pro fares better and faster. Companies like VoodooPC/HP and FalconNW knew better and wouldn’t touch 4×4 with a ten foot pole. Where is Alienware’s 4×4 offering? They suddenly gone quiet, didn’t they? No Dell announcements either, I’m sure they themselves do not want to get clobbered when reviews turns up. Just my 2 cents.

  • Do some real benchmarks…

    Under Vista ultimate the Quad FX beats the competition handily, not to mention that with 4 7800 GTXs (Older, I know) in Quad-SLI I have had absolutely no problems trouncing any of the numbers intel has put up in the reviewer benchmarks by huge margins.

    Everyone forgets that in all reviews that 4×4 is being benchmarked on intels limitations: 2gfx cards (This is 4×4 not 4×2) and 4GB of ram…give me a break, that’s the max a 32bit chip can handle, why is that the standard for testing quad-64′s? Because that’s all intel can handle at the moment.

    These anti-QuadFx reviews are amateur at best, if you get a trade journal on graphic design or 3d modeling, then you know that this computer is where it’s at.

    The “overpriced board” that you guys are talking about supports 32GBs of Ram, 4 graphics cards and 12 Sata drives – this isn’t a toy – and when you actually throw down and put 16 GB of ram in a computer the performance beats intel exponentially.

    Yeah, it’s an expensive ass computer to build, by far the most I’ve ever built ($4000), but I use it to make a living -I do 3d modeling and graphic design, and I have never gotten to the point where I was the bottleneck in the computing chain before this rig.

    A maxed out QX rig will cost you well over $2k and most likely into $3k -I mean maxed out! An extra 33% more cost for about 40% more performance that I see is a good deal.

    If you want to play half-life 2 – go get a QX, it’s a steal, but make no mistake, intels architecture at this point is vastly limited when it comes to the real high end market.

    My experience – love it or hate it.

  • Jason Miller

    Maxed out costs 2-3k? I’ve spend over 5k Canadian on it and all it has is the BFG water cooled 8800, ONE 2.8 cpu and 2 gigs of OCZ’s liquid cooled 1150 Mhz RAM. I agree wholeheartedly with the previous comment though, they benchmark it against inferior technology so it seems a lot less powerful then it already is. The only thing I have against it is it runs intensely hot, there are even reports that you can burn yourself on it. Not that it worries me, I have liquid cooling. but to truly tap into the full ptoential of this mobo you’re going to need a huge power supply, or two power supplies and some wealthy ineheritance.

    to the guy above that – Voodoo and Alienware suck. Check the benchmark competitions they enter, Alienware came in DEAD last for making a gaming rig. It was the most expensive and the least powerful in every area, and voodoo wasn’t far ahead. the reason they won’t touch the 4×4 is because they would have to charge you an arm an a leg for it.

  • Siggy

    Leave it to the Intel fan boys to try and squash an amazing CPU. Most of my points have already been stated but let me add a one more. This is just a small glimpse at AMDs future power house. I hope all these Intel fans realize that AMD is developing its quad core processor that will be the same socket, which if you can do the math would make it the only CPU/MB combo with octo core processors (well, thats not a server). Imagine the benchmarks on that! Progressive models like this is why AMD will always be better than Intel in my book.

  • Mike

    I think I’m a bit late to this party, but it’s the web, so who cares? I read all of those reviews where the QFX platform got smashed and then I looked on newegg at what these boards and processors cost now that they’ve been driven from public favor by the internet mob with keyboard pitchforks. I could post the prices for all the parts I ordered, but I think a simple comparison of bottom lines will have a greater impact -

    My entire QFX system with FX-74′s and 8 gigs of RAM: $1000
    Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor ONLY:$1015

    Sure it may not have been the best way to go for a $2000 rig, but for half price it’s pretty atractive.

  • andrushkjan

    too bad amd has not released any phenoms in the socket L1 design

    wheres my “seamless upgrade” to eight proccessing cores?

    hey do some real bench marks dude, how do you know that this board

    the asus L1 can support 32 gigs of ram? all of the sites say eight.

    I would really like to know because i like my qfx just fine.

  • Adrienne Boswell

    On my Windows 7 box, I was surprised how good voice recognition was, even just using a web cam – albeit a very good one from Logitech. Ambient noise, however, was a problem when a car drove by, or the cat meowed, or my son started talking to me. But, I would still say it does a good job, and for free, what do you want?

  • Adrienne Boswell

    On my Windows 7 box, I was surprised how good voice recognition was, even just using a web cam – albeit a very good one from Logitech. Ambient noise, however, was a problem when a car drove by, or the cat meowed, or my son started talking to me. But, I would still say it does a good job, and for free, what do you want?

  • Bill Meisel

    Kinect is the most difficult speech recognition task, talking at a distance, often with sound effects in the background. That it works at all is a breakthrough. More generally, speech recognition has matured to handle very difficult problems. For example, almost every medical report today dictated is processed by speech recognition, with accuracy approaching 99% for some specialties. How accurate would you be if you were transcribing, “A synovectomy was done. Remnants of the menisci and anterior cruciate ligament were excised. Osteophytes were removed. Using the Intermedics instrument, a hole was made in the intercondylar notch of the femur, followed by insertion of the intramedullary rod” (from a real medical report). If you used dictation on your PC, it would adapt to your Scottish accent, and get more accurate as you corrected its errors. Speech recognition on mobile phones is becoming a competitive necessity, and accounts in part for Android’s rise in market share relative to Apple’s iPhone. In the last monthly issue of my newsletter, Speech Strategy News, I mentioned 155 companies impacted by advanced speech technology, mostly speech recognition. The lack of recognition of the breakthrough in this technology results in part from anecdotal comments like yours that don’t reflect much true investigation of the state of the art.

  • Bill Meisel

    Kinect is the most difficult speech recognition task, talking at a distance, often with sound effects in the background. That it works at all is a breakthrough. More generally, speech recognition has matured to handle very difficult problems. For example, almost every medical report today dictated is processed by speech recognition, with accuracy approaching 99% for some specialties. How accurate would you be if you were transcribing, “A synovectomy was done. Remnants of the menisci and anterior cruciate ligament were excised. Osteophytes were removed. Using the Intermedics instrument, a hole was made in the intercondylar notch of the femur, followed by insertion of the intramedullary rod” (from a real medical report). If you used dictation on your PC, it would adapt to your Scottish accent, and get more accurate as you corrected its errors. Speech recognition on mobile phones is becoming a competitive necessity, and accounts in part for Android’s rise in market share relative to Apple’s iPhone. In the last monthly issue of my newsletter, Speech Strategy News, I mentioned 155 companies impacted by advanced speech technology, mostly speech recognition. The lack of recognition of the breakthrough in this technology results in part from anecdotal comments like yours that don’t reflect much true investigation of the state of the art.