Fastest desktop processor: AMD

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AMD has launched the Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX CPUs, the next iteration in its line of 64-bit processors.

"The Athlon 64 FX is considered to be the fastest desktop processor currently available," according to John Robinson, AMD country manager for Australia and New Zealand. This challenges Apple's similar claim it made about the G5 64-bit processor only a couple of months ago.

AMD has published a number of benchmarks on its site www.amd.com, but has yet to publish results on a comparable platform to Apple's G5, so a true justification of the claim to have the fastest desktop processor is yet to be made.

The top-end model is the Athlon 64 FX, which is almost identical to the Opteron 100 series, targeted at small servers and workstations. The main difference is the Opteron 100 series features three HyperTransport links, while the Athlon 64 FX only has a single HyperTransport link. The Athlon 64 FX is targeted at high-end desktops and workstations, and blurs the line with the target market of the Opteron.

The Athlon 64 3000+ and 3200+ are targeted more at the high-end enthusiast and gamer market -- similar to the Athlon 64 FX except it has a smaller 64-bit on-board memory controller and "up to 1MB" of Level 2 cache, while the FX has 1MB fixed.

Prices for 1,000 unit quantities are US$733 for the Athlon 64 FX and US$417 for the Athlon 64 3200+.

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