AMD put a trendy home entertainment convergence spin on the launch of its Athlon 64 last week, hoping that power users would help kickstart the migration from x86 to the world of 64-bit computing.
In a launch aimed squarely at the gamer and digital media enthusiast crowd, the launch pitched the 64-bit desktop and notebook processor as a springboard for “cinematic computing” and the convergence of home entertainment on the PC.
Hosted by online gaming radio station Cybershack’s producer, Charlie Brown, the launch was a tradeshow cum LAN party with partners including Optima ASI Solutions, QD Innovative and PC Club on hand to demonstrate systems built on the Athlon 64.
While the opportunity to play Microsoft’s soon-to-be released multiplayer combat game, Halo, was a drawcard for the launch, the software giant is lagging with native support for the Athlon 64. Currently in beta, the Windows XP 64-bit edition won’t be ready until the first half of 2004. Microsoft OEM partner manager, Iain Walker, said at the launch that Microsoft was “very close behind” AMD with the new OS, and would probably have the product ready in late February to March.
In the meantime, “Athlon 64 runs XP Home and Professional right now,” Walker said. “And the compatibility is 100 per cent.”
AMD has released four Athlon 64 chips.
The Athlon 64 FX-51 is the performance leader of the group, and priced accordingly at $US733 in quantities of 1000 units. An Athlon 64 3200+ chip for desktops was launched at $US417, and notebook versions with performance ratings of 3200+ and 3000+ were introduced at $US417 and $US278, respectively, all in quantities of 1000 units.