Overclocking and the Athlon 64 FX
FiringSquad: Obviously we know that AMD doesnít advocate overclocking, but have you overclocked any of your personal systems?
Henri Richard: Sure. I actually test my systems for their overclocking capabilities. I find it an interesting, you know an interesting way of understanding what people out there are doing and what are the consequences of it for the system.
You know overclocking, of course itís not recommended but itís very dependent on how well youíre cooling your system. And as you know we now have a policy to lock down the frequency of all the products so thereís one product that will continue to be open and itís the FX product line. The Athlon 64 FX will never be locked and it will continue to evolve for the people that buy those parts at the very high end of the market to get the most out of the experience in terms of overclocking.
FiringSquad: One advantage the Athlon 64 FX adds over the Athlon 64 is an unlocked multiplier. Can you describe how this idea got started? Were any executives nervous about adding this feature?
Henri Richard: Well first I think nature will find a way. You canít, you know you canít keep people from testing and doing things like that. We donít support or recommend it but you have to acknowledge there are these people out there. What Iíd rather do as a marketing strategy is we settle this creative energy on our platforms on one particular part that is designed from the ground up to be a very high end part which would allow people to go and play around with it and do all kinds of, you know performance boosting.
The problem with overclocking in general is that if you let it go uncontrolled you end up with people who are not gamers that are just, you know, greedy people who are selling systems to uneducated users, overclocking them and you know itís not properly cooled and that has a drastic affect on the life cycle of the product and then your brand gets affected because youíve got someone who just bought a system and he didnít understand at all what he was buying and ends up with problems so at the end of the day itís the AMD name that gets tainted.
You know I have a very open mind about this but on one hand its very important for us to protect our brand to make sure people like what they bought and so we need to be very strict in terms of keeping, you know unethical individuals who overclock and sell a product. Thatís not right. But on the other side of the spectrum itís great to have a bunch of enthusiasts out there that really love AMD, love the brand and want to get the best out of it. You know thatís okay for them to have a part that they can go and play around with.
FiringSquad: Will AMD be adding anything to the Athlon 64 FX in the future to make it more appealing to gamers/enthusiasts over the conventional Athlon 64 or do you think the unlocked multiplier is enough?
Henri Richard: Well you know I think that the FX is going to be an ongoing favorite with the gamers. It really will vindicate us being the fastest product out there. Itís a great part, we believe that, you know people who like the full power of 64-bit as both the operating system on the Windows side and some of the games that arenít available quite yet but I believe that some of the games will start shipping before year end. Thereís a lot of headroom in that part in terms of what you can experience from a gaming perspective once youíre able to completely unleash the 64-bitness.
So thatís really the one thing to go and focus on, which is weíve got the right software out there that will take advantage of this great engine. In terms of technical changes or things that we could do to the part I donít want to make any comments at this point.