Overclocking, Pricing, and Cool’n’Quiet
Because the Athlon 64 FX sports an unlocked multipler, AMD’s Damon Muzny claims that it cannot support the Cool’n’Quiet feature offered by standard Athlon 64 chips. That’s of little consequence, though. Power users interested in a high-end part like the Athlon 64 FX generally aren’t interested in clock throttling and thermal conservation, anyway.
Old 3400+ and new 3800+, side by side
Again, from the botto
Unfortunately, the S939 MSI motherboard used for testing didn’t recognize the FX’s unlocked multiplier, although AMD insists that it will continue unlocking retail versions of the flagship processor. The K8T800 Pro chipset now supports asynchronous bus speeds though, so we were able to set the board’s bus to 113MHz, hitting 2.56GHz on the FX-53.
The overall performance gains were minimal at best. 3DMark03 realized less than a one percent increase, while high-res tests didn’t budge. At 800x600 the Unreal Tournament 2003 Flyby rose four percent, but then again, that isn’t necessarily representative of real-world gaming.
Pricing on the Athlon 64 FX-53 is being increased to $799, which should easily negate any savings attributable to buying unbuffered DR memory. The Athlon 64 3800+ is priced at $720, while the 3700+ comes in at $710. Expect AMD’s Athlon 64 3500+ to cost roughly $500.
Cool’n’Quiet is an adaptation of AMD’s PowerNow! mobile technology that throttles processor frequency when your system is under light load. The slower speed results in less heat output and consequently lower fan speeds. While noise and heat might not be problematic in mid-tower cases, anyone with a small form-factor machine knows that an Athlon 64 and RADEON 9800 XT running around the clock is enough to cause severe instability. Using Cool’n’Quiet, an idle Athlon 64 will drop to 800MHz, outputting far less heat than say, a 2GHz Athlon 64 3200+.
The 3800+, 3700+, and 3500+ all support AMD’s thermally friendly feature, which requires a special utility in Windows ME and 2000 or a simple processor driver in Windows XP. You can use the latest version of H. Oda’s WCPUID utility to monitor the effects of Cool’n’Quiet in real-time.