Technology analysis of the latest gadgets, consoles, and computer architectures.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Dammit...why isn't it time for AMD to release their new chip architecture, the socket 939s? I really want to start putting together the parts for my next computer, but I have this obsession with getting at least some of the new technologies coming out this year; in particular, PCI Express.

Ever since I've owned a PC (8+ years) I've never had a fast computer. In fact, throughout high school I used a 133 Mhz Pentium and a 400 Mhz AMD laptop (this was when AMD chips competed primarily with Celerons). Near the end of high school, I was able to purchase my friend's 450 Mhz P3 from him when he built a new computer, and that's what I continue to use. Since then, processors have been jumping in speeds and I'm still behind the times with my Pentium 3 IBM PC. Considering this will be my first official PC upgrade/purchase, I want to make is worthwhile, and of course I'm going to make it last (considering my current PC lifespan).

Anyways, I've made my decision on an Athlon64, which is an amazing chip. HyperTransport, the interconnection between external components to the CPU along with other CPUs, is a much better way to manage bus speeds than the typical FSB, since AMD can more effectively bring up these speeds when they are needed. The on-die memory controller also brings a large benefit to the table since RAM no longer has to be limited by slow bus speeds. More information about the general Hammer architecture can be found here. I also cannot wait to play around with x86-64 computing; 64-bit Windows should be out by the summer and linux variants are already available, so I'll be dual-booting with at least 32-bit Windows, and I'll have to try out compiling code in linux.

The main upgrade for the 939-pin Athlon64 is the 128-bit memory controller vs. the 64-bit version currently found in the chip. If motherboard manufacturers would release PCI Express for the current Socket 754 models, I would certainly buy a 754. The 939s are going to be expensive when they come out in a month or so, and the motherboards that are going to support them will follow in the same sort of price schedule. I guess in a way I am also obsessed with getting this computer to last a while, but I can't help it; it's not very often that I get to buy a new computer. If I can get an Athlon64 motherboard with PCI Express, PCI, and AGP supported, gigabit ethernet, and 7.1 channel sound (DDR-2 won't be released in a while and will be really expensive anyways), I will be ready to purchase the parts for and build my new computer.

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