AMD has been taking a beating lately; when Intel released its Core 2 microprocessor family it was priced and performed aggressively, too aggressively for AMD to adequately compete with at the time. AMD's marketing even went into remission as reviewers weren't even seeded for speed bumps to the Athlon 64 X2 line, the X2 5000+ and FX-62 were the fastest Socket-AM2 parts AMD sent out for review and they were the first ones we'd ever reviewed as well. Sometimes no PR is good PR, and an article around the launch of the Athlon 64 X2 5200+, 5400+ or 5600+ simply proclaiming that Core 2 is once again on top would only work in Intel's favor.

Quad FX came and went with limited interest from the enthusiast community, but the new platform signified a change in AMD's product lineup. Expensive FX series processors would no longer be simply speed bumps of mainstream CPUs with more cache, they would be reserved for a completely different socket as well and sold in bundles of two for Quad FX platforms. It's almost fitting that the FX line has been relegated to a platform that we didn't recommend as it makes the task of encouraging users to stay away from FX-class processors a little easier. And if having to move to a new socket wasn't reason enough to pick an AM2 processor over its FX counterpart, AMD's latest price cuts should seal the deal:

CPU Clock Speed L2 Cache Price
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.0GHz 1MBx2 $459
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ 2.8GHz 1MBx2 $326
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400+ 2.8GHz 512KBx2 $267
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ 2.6GHz 1MBx2 $232
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6GHz 512KBx2 $222
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.5GHz 512KBx2 $217
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ 2.4GHz 512KBx2 $195
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 2.3GHz 512KBx2 $170
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2GHz 512KBx2 $159
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ 2.1GHz 512KBx2 $144
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 2.0GHz 512KBx2 $113
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ 1.9GHz 512KBx2 $102

The most expensive Athlon 64 X2, in fact the one being introduced today, is priced at under $500. Clocked at 3.0GHz with a 1MB L2 cache per core, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ isn't even the most attractive part of AMD's lineup. Shave 200MHz off the 6000+ and you get the Athlon 64 X2 5600+, priced at $326. Note that the X2 5600+ is simply a FX-62 in disguise, what used to be a $999 processor has been reduced to less than a third of its cost - ain't competition grand?

Of course a price war isn't in AMD's best interest when it comes to making money, but it's the best AMD can do until its new micro-architecture makes its debut later this year. As a reference, below is a table of Intel's Core 2 price list:

CPU Clock Speed L2 Cache Price
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz 4MB $999
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz 4MB $530
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz 4MB $316
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz 2MB $224
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz 2MB $183
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 1.80GHz 2MB $163

The Core 2 Duo E6700 is $70 more expensive than the X2 6000+ but it is Intel's closest competition to the new AMD processor. The E6600 lines up pretty well with the Athlon 64 X2 5600+ at a price $10 lower, while the E6400 is only $2 away from the X2 5000+. While we know that Intel's Core 2 processors are faster, the question that remains is whether AMD's aggressive pricing changes the value equation at all.

Still 90nm

Despite AMD's recent move to 65nm, the highest clocked cores are still built on a 90nm process; this is usually the case when a new process isn't mature enough to produce adequate yields at higher clock speeds. There's also the fact that higher volume processors run at lower clock speeds so it makes sense for a capacity constrained company like AMD to move high volume parts to 65nm production before the lower demand SKUs.

The Test - Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
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  • Roy2001 - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    Trouble with 965P? That's rare case. 1st time to me actually. My DS3+E6600 system has yet to give me trouble. My old Athlon systems, both desktop and laptop, do not work very well with USB/PCI wifi card. Laptop need to boot/wake without wifi card inserted and desktop will lost connection once every day.

    I am not an fanboy, I am just stating the fact. As you can see, I have more AMD systems than Intel system.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - link

    Your wifi card problems were far more likely due to the drivers, and possibly the cards themselves, than due to the AMD platform. I've seen both of those problems on all manner of systems, both AMD and Intel. Besides, it just isn't the type of problem I would hang on the platform.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    P965 at launch was really quite flaky. Many people (me among them) had memory compatibility problems, and not just with elite memory. The BIOS updates have now pretty much fixed any problems, but some of those updates took 2-3 months after launch to fix all of the important stuff (depending on motherboard). And let's not even get into the "DirectX 9" G965 fiasco... I think we're still waiting on drivers that are even remotely able to run DX9 content, and it's still slow at that. Reply

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