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AMD's 'Newcastle' Budget Athlon64 Chips Analyzed 266

Edward Scissorhands writes "CNET reported on Thursday that AMD had released a new "budget" Athlon64 CPU. Appearing on the AMD roadmap under the codename of "Newcastle", these chips are identical to the 754-pin Athlon64 3200+ in every way except for the size of their L2 cache (512KB vs. 1MB). CNET suggests that some of these chips may be 3200's that don't pass QA as having full 1MB caches. Newcastle chips are about half the cost of their 1MB cached counterparts, though preliminary benchmarks from Anand indicate favourable performance/price."
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AMD's 'Newcastle' Budget Athlon64 Chips Analyzed

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  • by GrenDel Fuego ( 2558 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:11PM (#7788591)
    And just in time for Xmas!

    Not quite. They're on the roadmap for Q1, which would just miss christmas at the earliest.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:11PM (#7788596)
    This is a very good incentive to go 64 bit. I was thinking of getting a 2500 Barton, since my 1800 finally kicked it last week when the cooling fan gave out (this was right after a re-format, so the temperature monitoring system was not installed yet). However, since this came out, it might be a good time to go 64 bit. The chip still packs punch, so its not really what we would tend to think of when the term "budget" comes up (AMD Duron...Intel Celly). Plus, it won't be that expensive to replace if you take the OC too far.
  • by ruiner5000 ( 241452 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:16PM (#7788626) Homepage
    Didn't we? Athlon 64 3000+ review [].

    In conclusion the Athlon 64 3000+ is one of the best CPUs AMD has never announced. It makes a sub $1,000 system that is 64 bit capable easy to reach, and is able to perform quite admirably even with half of the cache of the other AMD64 CPUs. Will AMD make more 512kb cache Athlon 64s in the near future? How long will Socket 754 continue? Is this 3000+ an overclocker of merit? Stay tuned. For now if you have been craving for a powerful and cheap system with 64 bit onboard then the Athlon 64 3000+ is your CPU. It has no competition in its class, and likely will not for months to come.

    Let's see, 1 year since Slashdot has approved a story I've submitted. Let's keep the streak alive! ;) HP shipping Mandrake biz PCs. Who cares!

  • by cK-Gunslinger ( 443452 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:19PM (#7788650) Journal

    Yeah, it makes you reconsider that Athlon XP 2500+ purchase. 64-bit is temping, but you have to keep in mind that the 754-pinout on the chip is doomed. AMD already announced that they will move to a 939-pinout for most future 64s (Opterons are 940, so I assume they are just removing the "multiple-cpu" pin.) If that's the case, you may not have a very long upgrade path (3700?)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:20PM (#7788660)
    If an application is frequently accessing a reasonably small set of code and data, and the total size of the accessed code and data is less than the size of the L2 cache, then the application can run from within the cache, which is much faster than main memory. The size of the L2 cache directly affects the point at which this speed benefit can be realized.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:21PM (#7788671)
    Sorry, this is a bit off topic, but are sites like Anandtech trying to be useless? At least they do include comparisons to the P4 in this review, where often they don't give you enough context to really compare across the board, but now they've switched to using Flash for the charts. Why? It's not like they're "live" or anything.

    Compared to decent, thoughtful sites like StorageReview, where they at least they let you compare any model to any model, I hope Anand and the other forever-amateur just-enough-info-to-make-you-think-its-worth-buyin g sites soon sink into the mud.
  • by Coaster-Sj ( 614973 ) <aspenwind@hotma i l .com> on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:32PM (#7788743) Homepage
    I know some people are conecerned about having large upgrade paths but I find that I'm really not one of them any more.

    Usually by the time a processor drops in price enough that I think it'd be worth replacing an older CPU there is a new FSB or something that makes me want a new motherboard + ram to go with it.

    Lately when I've been buying computers I've came to the conclusion that Motherboard, Processor, and Ram are pretty much a package that will never be upgraded independantly (Short of adding more Ram). Unless I have a processor die I'm really not worried about changing it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:32PM (#7788747)
    Cache is not all or nothing. Let's say 934k of 1024k work. Turn off 512k including all the non-working memory and voila -- sellable budget processor. AMD chose the 50% line arbitrarily -- they could have chosen 75% and gotten fewer, higher performance processors or 25% and gotten more, lower performance processors.

    They can't actually tell you how much of the cache works because OEMs like to sell identical machines, i.e. all with 512k cache, not 512k cache or more.
  • by XMichael ( 563651 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:40PM (#7788823) Homepage Journal
    Did the article not miss one MAJOR item in the review ---> the Processor is 64 bit capable, taking into account that Windows and nearly all games arn't ready to take advantage of it, this processor will continue to set performance standards as the software becomes 64 bit ready?

    Whoop, I hope I understand that correctly (-;
  • by cK-Gunslinger ( 443452 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:41PM (#7788839) Journal

    =P Well, like it or not, everyone knows it's Windows that currently drives the consumer market. The release of a Microsoft 64-bit OS is what will determine if/when the 64-bit desktop market takes off. The release of XP 64, followed by 64-bit aware device drivers will start the snowball. I would love to see some applications written to take advantage of those extra registers! (Linux apps aside.)

  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:49PM (#7788907) Journal
    ... or so claimed AMD. Maybe this is why - they are releasing 64-bit chips at prices comparable to mid-range 32-bit ones! Way to go AMD :-)

    I have no particular beef with Intel, btw, it's just that AMD always seem to aim more at value for money. I like that :-)

  • by cnelzie ( 451984 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:56PM (#7788980) Homepage
    ...the poor sap that can barely afford to spend the extra money on the 'value' board, you listen to someone's spiel about how you can 'unlock' the 'magic' or something and you end up frying your once perfectly good, yet low-spec'd board and are stuck having to go back to your old parts, if those aren't fried as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:03PM (#7789054)
    Correct, but not the reason why AMD chose the name. Consider the others:

    San Diego

    I would wager that Newcastle was chosen because it was a place, but it's kinda cool that it has another link to computing. Are there any computer links for the others I wonder (apart from Winchester)?

  • by morelife ( 213920 ) <<f00fbug> <at> <>> on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:14PM (#7789174)
    Wrong. It doens't work that way. They don't, on a processor by processor basis, go in and "disable" the random parts of any Cache area that failed testing.

    ASS HAT Moderators too.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:17PM (#7789212) Homepage Journal
    On one hand, I think people whould be free to do what they with with hardware they own, on the other, I would expect that they should know what they are doing before voiding their warranties and otherwise ignoring manufacturer warnings and disclaimers.

    While I understand that sometimes there really is a marketing reason for makers to down-mark their chips, I pretty much refuse to overclock anything because sometimes the silicon engineering reason to downmark is very real too, I really can't afford to junk perfectly good parts or risk flakiness.
  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:20PM (#7789240)
    If you don't believe me, just read any of his articles.

    This CPU is a good deal, Athlon 64 at Athlon XP prices. Some of us actually need to buy machines now, not in the next 6 months. Oh, wait to find a socket 939 processor at $200 like that jackass Ed is saying. With luck, it will only take until Xmas next year.

  • by erikdotla ( 609033 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @06:46PM (#7790069)
    Enthusiast gamers are what is selling that chip, not Linux. PC Gamers have always been the driving force behind adoption of new technology.
  • by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @07:19PM (#7790366) Homepage
    Really, I'm more interested in it as a redesign of the x86 architechture. x86-64 uses the older design as a foundation, except it removes much of the cruft and adds quite a bit to the capabillities of the chip.

    The most harped upon example is the increase in the number of registers available, which in and of itself should increase processing power - something that's not being taken advantage of yet since there's not really any 64 bit native software available yet.

    The fact that the chip is already efficient enough to trounce a top of the line P4 in most tasks in 32bit mode is what piques my interest - I'm interested in seeing how well it'll perform in native x86-64 mode with the extra registers, etc enabled. In short, there's much more to x86-64 that having >4GB of memory.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler