AMD has proved time and time again that its processors offer better performance than the competition’s – and better value for money too. Now there’s a new addition to the family in the form of its flagship Athlon 64 FX55 and our tests suggest that it’s the fastest consumer desktop processor ever.

The 0.13 micron-based FX55 uses socket 939 motherboards. AMD tells us that it’s going to use these on its Athlon 64 series for the forseeable future. The company will post a list of compatible motherboards on at the end of October.

The FX55 has 128KB of L1 cache and 1,024KB of L2 cache to improve performance, especially in sound, video and photo-editing applications – indeed, in any task where large files need to be manipulated quickly.

At 2.6GHz, the core clockspeed is a hefty 1GHz slower than Intel’s 3.6GHz Pentium 4, but it offers a powerful performance beyond the reach of its rival.

While we can’t do a like-for-like comparison using the same hardware, the fastest WorldBench score we’ve ever wrung from a Pentium 4, in a system with almost exactly the same basic specifications, was 134. In contrast, the Athlon 64 FX55 is the first processor ever to break the 150 barrier in our WorldBench tests.

Its 152 point score is testament to AMD’s ability to crank fantastic performance from a processor that, on paper at least, should be 30 percent slower. The FX55 also chewed up video encoding in no time at all. Visually, we managed to get the highest frame rates ever on our Quake 3 test, running in excess of 134 frames per second.

  • AMD:
  • Around £462 inc VAT