The Problem at 245

The problem with the $245 price point that AMD’s flagship sells at is one of positioning. It is dangerously close to the $284 price of a Core i7 920, which is generally a faster chip.

CPU Price
Intel Core i7 920 $280
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 $320
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition $245
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 $220
Intel Core i5 750 (Unreleased) $199

The Core 2 Quad Q9650 simply doesn't make any sense, it's a wonder that Intel still sells it. The Q9550 can be had for around $220 and is generally slower than the 965 Black Edition. The i5 750 is the wildcard; if it does debut next month at $199 and is as competitive as we're expecting, it could force AMD to compress its upper end pricing.

Until Lynnfield arrives, the only things AMD has to worry about are the Core 2 Quad at the low end and the i7 at the high end. The more expensive Core 2 Quads don't really seem to matter, the Phenom II dispatches with them fairly easily. To fight off the i7, instead of lowering profit margins, AMD is going to be offering a number of bundles to help reduce total ownership cost.

While AMD wasn’t specific as to what bundles will be available, starting today Newegg, Tiger Direct, ZipZoomFly, NCIX and MWAVE will all be offering bundles on the Phenom II X4 965 and certain motherboards. AMD is estimating the bundles to knock off around $40 from the total combined price. There will also be Corsair memory and AMD GPU bundles, but AMD was even more vague on what we should expect there.

A quick look at Newegg shows that currently you can save about $30 if you’re buying a Phenom II X4 945 and a Gigabyte 790FX motherboard. Unfortunately it looks like the bundles don’t kick in if you’re buying any of the cheaper motherboards. It remains to be seen what sort of 965 bundles will be available.

Pressure from above with the i7 920 is relieved by lower prices, but next month pressure from below with the i5 750 is sure to make things difficult. AMD sweetens the pot by making its flagship part a multiplier unlocked Black Edition. Like the 955 before it, our 965 easily hit 3.8GHz without so much as an added millivolt. We just increased the clock multiplier and off we went.

The Test

Motherboard: Intel DX58SO (Intel X58)
Intel DX48BT2 (Intel X48)
MSI DKA790GX Platinum (AMD 790GX)
Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-DS4H (AMD 790GX)
Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-UD5P (AMD 790FX)
Chipset: Intel X48
Intel X58
AMD 790GX
AMD 790FX
Chipset Drivers: Intel 9.1.1.1010 (Intel)
AMD Catalyst 8.12
Hard Disk: Intel X25-M SSD (80GB)
Memory: G.Skill DDR2-800 2 x 2GB (4-4-4-12)
G.Skill DDR2-1066 2 x 2GB (5-5-5-15)
Qimonda DDR3-1066 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Corsair DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce GTX 280
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 180.43 (Vista64)
NVIDIA ForceWare 178.24 (Vista32)
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit (for SYSMark)
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
Index SYSMark 2007 Performance
POST A COMMENT

56 Comments

View All Comments

  • GourdFreeMan - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    The problem with benchmarking such packages is that depending on their target application they will not stress systems in a uniform way. Large matrix computation will likely be bound by memory bandwidth, while numeric computation at machine precision will hinge on FPU/SSE performance, and symbolic calculations will largely be bound by integer and branching performance. There isn't one uniform application that is representative of the needs of all scientists and engineers. Reply
  • XtAzY - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    I got my i7 920 for $200 at MicroCenter, much cheaper than $280 online deals! This AMD definately does not worth $245!! Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    And how much did you pay for the mobo and triple channel kit, dumbass? Reply
  • Exar3342 - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    LOL, your the dumbass. :)

    6GB triple Channel - (Newegg) $85.00
    8GB dual channel (newegg) $95.00

    X58 MB - $165-175
    AM3 MB $85-120

    So you are talking a difference or $40-60, which if you can get the i7 at Microcenter (I was there last week and they had a ton) erases any price differences.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Saturday, August 15, 2009 - link

    Oh, lets look at the other article anand just put up, dumbass. Your shit doesnt quite add up... Reply
  • rhog - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    Since when can you get a "good" x58 for lest than 200?

    I assume the 200 Bucks is a Mail in rebate price as well. I own 2 i7 920 great processor but hardly any faster at 3.6ghz than a 3.8ghz AMD 955 (at most 20%) which is in line with the "real" 100-125 Buck difference in cost. You can get a really nice Video card upgrade for that money. Don't forget the i7 920 never runs at 2.6ghz but always overclocks itself making it hard to do a good clock for clock comparison. The AMD 965 is better than Core2 and I doubt that the Core i5 will be faster than a Core i7 so they should compete well. Oh, and the Core i5 will overclock itself as well I here as much a 3 mults
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    The 200 dollar price isn't a mail in rebate, Micro Center a small computer store chain with about 30 stores market itself as a computer builder destination. They lose about 80 dollars on the processor to get you into the store and hoping to sell you enough other stuff (or assembly or warranties) to make up for their loss leader. Reply
  • steelicon - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    ROTFLMAOBBQ! Agreed! They get you in more ways than one, either it's the Processor itself, the Chipset, the DDR3 or all of them combined. Good thing we have another choice of platform! Reply
  • steelicon - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    Will this run on an old AsuS Crosshair NV590A-SLI motherboard? I surely do hope so... Reply
  • grimpr - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    A really fast CPU, some minor tweaks to the K10 architecture and AMD stays "current", but the TDP's are ridiculous, 140W!!, for non existing gods sake! at 95W TDP and at the same price they would be excellent purchases to Intels Lynnfields. Clearly they are positioned at gamers,a crowd long lost to AMD. For uses other than happy jerking at intel compiler optimized benchmarks and moronic SuperPi's with analyzing miniscule FPS differences at games, the AMD Phenom II 905E at 65W TDP is an excellent buy. Something about the 45nm SOI manufacturing of this chips from AMD makes us wonder... Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now