The Economic Problem

For the consumer, AMD's pricing strategy is incredible. For AMD and its shareholders however, the pricing is a bit tough. The Phenom II X4 940 is priced similarly to the Core 2 Quad Q9400, a chip that is 36% smaller than AMD's offering. The Phenom II X4 810 goes up against the Q8300, again, a chip that's 36% smaller. The Phenom II X3 720 is even worse shape; AMD is selling a chip that's 258 mm2 at the same price Intel sells a 82 mm2 chip; that's a 68% smaller die at the same price.

AMD CPU AMD Die Size Competitive Intel CPU Competitive Intel Die Size Intel Size Advantage
AMD Phenom II X4 900 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9xxx/Q8xxx 164 mm2 36%
AMD Phenom II X4 800 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Quad Q8xxx 164 mm2 36%
AMD Phenom II X3 700 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Duo E7xxx series 82 mm2 68%

 

AMD in many cases delivers greater performance than the similarly priced Intel CPUs, but not nearly a large enough performance gap to make up for the difference in die size. Again, great for consumers, but potentially painful for AMD in the long run. As yields improve AMD should be able to make more of these cores members of the 900 family, but without a separate, smaller die there will still be economic inefficiencies at the lower end.


The Core 2 Duo E7500, Intel's high-margin competitor to the Phenom II X3 700 series

Index AMD Flirts with DDR3
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  • Griswold - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    "We're in the midst of a price war folks, and at a time when the global economy is looking a little shaky this actually works very well for us. Let's recap what's happened."

    That works very well for us until AMD, despite having a good product portfolio (this includes video cards), goes belly up thanks to this worldwide recession (a little shaky? Where have you been the last couple of months!?).And then what? Back to moon prices courtesy of Intel?

    I hope not, but fear the worst. :(
    Reply
  • lplatypus - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Why does the Ph II 940 system use only 4W more than the 810 at load? This is not consistent with TDPs (125W vs 95W). The HEXUS.net review found a 23W difference under load. Is something wrong here? Reply
  • Axloth - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    I'd love to see detailed test of impact of cache size per core, because test results in this review are really weird. Something like x4 910 vs x4 810 vs x3 710. Pretty please with sugar on top... Reply
  • ET - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Needs more comprehensive testing, period. The results look really strange sometimes. Not only did the 810 sometimes outperformed the 910 significantly, but the 710 consistently beat the 910 in the gaming tests.

    (So far -- and I haven't read other reviews -- the 710 is looking like a good candidate to replace my aging X2 3800+.)
    Reply
  • RadnorHarkonnen - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    From the rumors ive seen in the web, this will be a pretty cheap cpu.

    Myt little brother is crying for My 4800 X2 (he always get free upgrades) with 4Gb DDR2.

    Just one question, With a Stock VID 1.325 to 1.55 isn't that a little bit aggressive (even with good air cooling), for everyday operation ? I was hoping for a OC up to 3.6Ghz in decent voltage. 3.8Ghz Would be very good, but the voltage seems somewhat too large for day-to-day operation.

    Thanks for reading, and replying if you have the time, of course.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    On our samples, starting around 3.5GHz you really had to ramp the Core VID. 3.6 required about 1.45V in the BIOS, with droop it was around 1.4375V real on this board. If the retail chips follow the 940, then I would say around 1.425V should be realistic for 3.6GHz on the right board. 1.55V is not outside of AMD's spec and is the limit they have found for air cooling. It is about the same limit we have noticed also for the most part, but these chips are designed to take a lot voltage if you keep them properly cooled. Reply
  • RadnorHarkonnen - Monday, February 16, 2009 - link

    I'm already checking prices and availability for this hardware. I'll check the speed bump and the temp bump between 3.5 and 3.6. Thanks for the info Gary. Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    most run 3.4 ghz already on stock vcore

    @review, you state that there is no performance difference between ddr2-ddr3 but you didn't show anything? Anyhow official statement from AMD is that the ddr3 part bios is not fully ready yet, so I hope you will do a full review later.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    "@review, you state that there is no performance difference between ddr2-ddr3 but you didn't show anything? Anyhow official statement from AMD is that the ddr3 part bios is not fully ready yet, so I hope you will do a full review later."

    AMD told us a couple of weeks ago to concentrate on performance with the AM2+ boards since the AM3 BIOS releases were immature. I received several BIOS releases last week for our AM3 boards and felt safe enough to display numbers with them in the OC section today.

    We are still testing and will have comparisons up in the near future. That said, we still have a list of requests back to the motherboard companies to fix. For the most part now, the AM3 boards are usable and clock well. I figure another BIOS spin or two and they should be good to go.

    Also, in a best case scenario, AMD had performance improvements of 5% at best in memory bandwidth limited benchmarks with DDR3. Things might change with the 945 hits in a couple of months, but on these processors, there really are not any differences between DDR2 and DDR3 at this point.
    Reply
  • Kaleid - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Power consumption and framerates at the max stable overclock? Reply

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