As always, we like to start off our price guides with a little plug for our Real Time Price Engine; quite possibly the fastest growing price engine on the internet. We quietly released a small little tool on RTPE that allows you to sort products by price or price-per-GB. Now you won't have to go through all that troubling math to calculate which memory is best for you anymore. Feel free to check out the forum thread here.

The last couple weeks have been madness for anyone attempting to buy a new AMD or Intel CPU. We have a new dual core chip that should debut in the review space on August first, 64-bit Sempron and Pentium 4s, and Socket 939 Opterons around the corner. Please check out our extensive AMD roadmap when you get a chance, there are a lot of new tidbits in the roadmaps that will eventually find their way into the retail channels like the new Socket M2 and S1.

Dual Core Desktop

It's been a long wait, but dual core desktop processors are finally here. The first Intel chips started showing up just after our last processor guide in June, and in the last six weeks prices have plummeted to meet demand. Intel's Pentium D lineup shipped first with AMD's very close behind. While AMD has another dual core processor ready for launch in the next couple weeks, Intel's dual 2.8GHz Pentium D [RTPE: BX80551PG2800FN] quite easily takes our recommendation for this week's dual core choice. At $245 this is an amazing processor; and with the relatively large cuts in DDR2 value memory lately, buying a dual core processor doesn't have to be a large investment. Granted, you will still need to buy a dual core motherboard, (either an Intel 945 or 955); so anticipate spending a little extra cash on the board instead. Let's take a look at the pricing trend on the Pentium D 820:


Intel Pentium D (775) 820 800FSB 2x1MB

Other dual core Intel processors are on their way down as well; we are seeing pretty substantial drops since the dual core launch - a very pleasant and welcomed surprise.

No one would argue that AMD has the weaker dual core chip. The K8 architecture in general has no problem outperforming Prescott head to head, and AMD's integrated memory controller does an incredible job of moving the memory bottleneck off the motherboard. However while AMD has the better processor, it doesn't seem to be able to offer a really competitive price. Intel is currently pumping out dual core processors in all of their fabs; AMD's Fab 30 in Dresden is the only facility AMD has prepared for dual core production. Even at vastly inferior performance, Intel's Pentium D 820 costs half that of AMD's dual core solution.

Hopefully the embargoed X2 will alleviate some of AMD's criticism for not providing a low cost dual core processor. Remember, each speed grade in X2 processors today offers about a 3 to 4% difference in performance. We personally don't feel the 3% bump between the Manchester 4200+ and Toledo 4400+ warrant the extra $100, but then again the same people who buy those kind of processors usually don't hesitate to spend $600 on video cards either. Chances are, if you know what applications are going to perform better on Toledo versus Manchester, you've already got your dual core chip picked out.

AMD Desktop
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  • Chef Brian - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    The review was a little down on the P-M. The reviews I've seen show that a 2ghz dothan is about the equivalent of an athlon 3700+ -, so yes the price-performance isnt much better than an Athlon. I will seriously consider a Yonah when they're released...

    Pentium M's rule. Best CPU architecture ever!
    Reply
  • Zebo - Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Hopefully the embargoed X2 will alleviate some of AMD's criticism for not providing a low cost dual core processor.


    Even at the so-called high price thier charging the forum is full of them.. at least 40. Same at xtreme. same at techreport. Guess how many Pentium dually I've seen at anandtech? Zero. I wonder why? Could it be the cheapest 4200 out performs the $1100 840EE?


    quote:

    No one would argue that AMD has the weaker dual core chip.


    WTF?

    Reply
  • Furen - Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - link

    I think they meant that no one would use the argument "AMD has the weaker dual core". Reply
  • Furen - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    #22 I dont think anyone said anything negative about the pentium M but since I'm just skimming through the post so I might have missed it.

    They are the best gaming cpus clock-for-clock, but perform slower at pretty much everything else. Also, a 2GHz dothan costs about the same as a 2.4Ghz San Diego, which it will, most certainly, not outperform at ANYTHING.

    Yonah sounds great, though.
    Reply
  • Chef Brian - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    Pentium M weak my ass...clock for clock it's the fastest gaming processor, period. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    KeithDust2000: I agree with Furen. We don't know when the 3800+ will show up and what the actual price might be. If it shows up in the channel in September, the D820 might be $50 cheaper (as will 945P boards no doubt). It's not really worth speculating about until the chips hit the channel in my opinion.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • Furen - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    "So compare $605 for AMD versus $375 for Intel; it comes to about 1.6. I would still think the D820 has the advantage although I would be very interested in seeing the new AMD chip in a couple weeks."

    He's comparing the currently available X2 chips to the currently available PDs ($515 for an X2 4200 and 90 bucks for an NForce4 mobo). The X2 3800 is not available right now and who knows what the price and availability will be at launch...
    Reply
  • KeithDust2000 - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    @ Kristopher:

    P-D 820 + board= 241+130=371
    A64 X2 3800+ = 345+90=435

    I´d say that´s pretty close, and if you already have
    S939... Anyway, you also get a much better product. That´s 2x3200+ instead of 2x2.8Ghz, und the additional power savings, the architectural benefits...

    Your $605 number makes no sense, or what am I missing?

    Reply
  • KeithDust2000 - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    @ Jarred Walton:

    From another thread, but what exactly makes you think that Conroe and Merom will hold the performance lead in their respective segments for "quite a while"?

    @ Kristofer:

    The Athlon 64 X2 3800+ @ $345 (street prices tend to be lower than list) may not be the cheapest chip on the block, but it should imho be the best
    price/performance chip on the market.

    With it, AMD has basically the Pentium D 830, 840
    and EE covered (in terms of price) - and that despite Anand´s earlier
    insistence that X2 would may not be available at all this year, or very late this year, at retail. It should also have the Pentium
    D 820 covered for those that already own a S939 board. Not bad at all for the little manufacturer.

    BTW, die size of the part amounts to 147mm^2, which is the same size as Newcastle. AMD should be able to make quite a few of those should the need arise.
    Reply
  • KeithDust2000 - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    Hi! Reply

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