64-bit consumer computing

With the release of the Athlon 64 3200+ and Athlon 64 FX-51 processors, AMD has brought 64-bit computing to the desktop environment. 64-bit computing is now no longer the domain of high-end workstation computers and servers that require extreme power and plentiful memory for large database computations and the like.

The Athlon 64 FX-51 is a 64-bit processor capable of supporting 64-bit computing while still being fully compatible with current 32-bit operating systems and software. This is because it is built upon the current x86 micro-architecture, with new features added to it. 64-bit-capable hardware is not likely to make your current applications (which are 32-bit) run more quickly. Instead, it will offer you a path to future applications that will be written in 64-bit code.

We tested the Athlon 64 FX-51 on an ASUS SK8N motherboard, which houses the CPU in a Socket 940 CPU connection. The FX-51 features a clock speed of 2.2GHz and has a 1MB on-board Level 2 memory cache. It also has a 128-bit memory controller and will accommodate only registered DDR SDRAM memory modules up to PC3200 specification in a dual-channel configuration. The memory can be ECC or non-ECC.

AMD believes these features (among others) will make the Athlon 64 FX-51 the best-performing desktop CPU on the market. Judging from our tests, we have no reason to believe otherwise, yet. The FX-51 performed faultlessly, doing particularly well in the Unreal Tournament 2003 tests (refer to the table), where it convincingly beat the best current desktop from the Pentium 4 range.

One vendor already shipping machines based on the FX-51 chip is Plus Corporation, which sent us one of its pre-release machines. Aimed at enthusiast users and the heavy gamers, such machines are also perfect for professionals who do a lot of video editing, rendering and 3D modelling tasks.

Few programs or operating systems currently support 64-bit operation, but there is talk that a 64-bit version of Unreal will be released shortly, and Microsoft is well on the way to developing the 64-bit version of XP. Some Linux distributions, such as SuSE, already support 64-bit operation.

In brief: AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 64-bit processor
AMD brings 64-bit computing to the consumer desktop with the FX-51.
Price: $TBA
Vendor: AMD
Phone: (02) 8877 7222
URL: www.amd.com, www.pluscorp.biz

SYSMark 2001 304
Office productivity 312
Internet Content Creation 297
3DMark 2001SE 20375
3DMark 2003 6112
Quake III @ 640x480 380
Unreal Face map @ 640x480 247
Unreal Inferno map @ 640x480 335

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?