Special FX: Athlon 64 FX-53

With the groundwork already laid by the innovative FX-51, there are no massive changes in the new FX-53. It's still a 0.13-micron Silicon On Insulator (SOI) die with an integrated 128-bit memory controller and Northbridge chipset, AMD's HyperTransport system bus, and 1152KB on-chip cache (Level 1 and 2 combined). The only notable differences are the new pin configuration - a 939-pin socket rather than the previous Socket 940 - and a clock speed increase of 200Hz, taking the FX-53 up to 2.4GHz.

Athlon 64 FX-53

The advantages of the latter are obvious (and borne out by our benchmarks), while Socket 939 offers lower latency addressing of dual-channel, unregistered memory, and support for future 0.9-micron CPUs (the FX-55). Socket 939's speed potential may be marginal, but using unregistered, unbuffered RAM makes for a cheaper system, and ties in nicely with tomorrow's potential mainstream FX-type CPUs.

Although the $1391 price tag is high, the FX-53 is both cheaper than the $1428 3.2GHz Pentium4 Extreme Edition (P4EE), and faster for most tasks - the exceptions usually being multi-threaded applications like video renderers - and it may even give the 3.4GHz P4EE a run for its money. Add future performance increases from 64-bit software when it becomes available, and you have today's must-have CPU for the power-hungry.

In brief: AMD Athlon 64 FX-53

Building on the success of the FX-51, the FX-53 is a cost-effective solution.

Price: $1391

Vendor: AMD

Phone: (02) 8877 7222

URL: www.amd.com, www.pluscorp.biz

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Laurence Grayson

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