Now that the home entertainment market has moved towards streaming video services and Blu-ray content, there has never been a better time to convert DVD collections to digital.
AMD Athlon 64 FX-62
It didn’t break any speed records, but the Athlon 64 FX-62 is the first Athlon 64 CPU to feature support for DDR2 memory. If you’ve currently got a high-end Socket-939 platform, there is no reason to upgrade.
Price$ 1,932.00 (AUD)
Those of us who have been using AMD's Socket-939 platform have benefited from the great versatility that it offers. At the low end, a motherboard with a Socket-939 interface will accept a single-core Athlon 64 CPU. At the high-end, it can handle a dual-core Athlon 64 CPU or an Opteron CPU. At the very high-end, it will even accept an Athlon 64 FX CPU. Indeed, the choices for upgrading with this platform are immense.
However, for the latest generation of AMD Athlon 64 CPUs, the Socket-939 platform has been pushed aside and a new platform, AM2, has been ushered in, for which, AMD will release new versions of the Athlon 64, X2 and also Sempron CPUs later this year. The first CPU to release on this platform is the Athlon 64 FX-62 - AMD's flagship CPU.
The new platform for these CPUs is to accommodate the move from DDR memory to DDR2 memory. As AMD's CPUs have a built-in memory controller, upgrading the memory type that can be used with the Athlon 64 was not just a matter of getting the appropriate support from the motherboard chipset manufacturers, it was a matter of building the support into the CPUs themselves. (Intel's CPUs do not have a built-in memory controller, as they rely on the motherboard chipset to control the information flow from the memory to the CPU). With CPUs based on the AM2 platform, AMD has built-in a memory controller capable of communicating with DDR2 memory modules with speeds up to 800MHz. Motherboards featuring the AM2 platform will be able to support up to 16GB of RAM, which is a boon for those of you who want to build an affordable workstation PC.
We tested the AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 AM2-based CPU this month, and this CPU looks almost identical to ones based on the Socket-939 platform. However, the new socket has 940 pins, as opposed to 939 pins, and the layout of the pins is different on both CPUs. This means it's impossible to plug an AM2-based CPU into a Socket-939 platform and vice versa.
The CPU itself is dual-core with 1MB of level 2 cache for each of its cores and each one runs at 2.8GHz.
To accommodate the new platform, NVIDIA has released a new chipset: nForce 590 SLI, which has support for full-speed SLI graphics, dual Gigabit Ethernet controllers, six Serial ATA II ports and RAID. We tested the Athlon 64 FX-62 CPU in an ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard, which features this chipset, with 1GB of DDR2 800MHz memory, a 250GB Western Digital hard drive and an ASUS Radeon X1900XTX graphics adapter.
In performance tests using World Bench 5, this configuration did not break any records (it scored 122). It was slightly faster in multitasking, 3-D rendering and encoding tests than an Athlon FX-60-based Plus Corporation machine we have previously reviewed.
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