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. A handy feature of the RTPE is the ability to compare several products using the OR function depicted by the pipe ("|") symbol. For example, if you wanted to compare the prices of an AMD Athlon 64 3800+ and the Intel Pentium 4 670 you would run the following search in the RTPE: "amd athlon 64 3800+ | intel pentium 4 670." We have more details in our forums.

You may also start to notice new graphs for RTPE and AnandTech. Unfortunately, GNUPlot wasn't cutting it anymore, so we switched to a .NET engine that also powers the rest of the graphs on AnandTech.

The processor scene has settled down a bit since our last price guide. Although we've started seeing the new Intel Celeron D lineup with EM64T enabled, we're still eagerly awaiting the Intel Pentium 4 662 and 672 with virtualization support. Check out our updated Intel Roadmap for the latest info on Intel's soon-to-be released processors. On the AMD side of things, we've seen the X2s sharply dropping in price since September making them a much better value since their introduction.

Dual Core Desktops

Prices on Intel's dual core desktop lineup haven't seen much action since our last processor guide in late July. Although the price of the Pentium D 820 (2.8GHz) [RTPE: BX80551PG2800FN] has shown a slight incline since our last guide, we still recommend it as this week's dual core choice. The sub-$250 price tag makes it a great value for multitaskers.

Intel Pentium D (775) 820 800FSB 2x1MB

The rest of the dual core Intel processors have also show very little change over the past few weeks. Hopefully with the release of the 9xx series next quarter we'll see these prices drop.

We know AMD's dual core processors outperform Intel's offerings clock for clock, but they have thus far been too expensive to compete with Intel in terms of pricing (a sharp contrast when you think about the AthlonXP days where AMD held the price advantage). Since August we've seen AMD's entire line of X2 dual core products continue to drop in price steadily. The X2 3800+ [RTPE: ADA3800BVBOX] has proven to be a worthy match both price and performance wise to Intel's lineup. This week we also saw the Toledo version of the X2 3800+ [RTPE: ADA3800CDBOX] showing up on a few vendors' sites. The Toledo X2 3800+ is an interesting animal in the fact that it is actually carries 2x1MB L2 cache, but with half of that cache disabled. If you're looking for an AMD dual core option we would definitely recommend one of these offerings. Be sure to check out Anand's article on AMD's unofficial DDR480 memory support on the X2 processors to see how to squeeze a bit more performance out of your X2.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 (939) 3800+ 2x512KB Manchester

We still feel the lowest cost X2 offers the best bang for your buck. From our X2 3800+ review you can see that each speed grade in X2 processors continues to offer only a 3 to 4% difference in performance. A 3% performance doesn't justify a $100 price hike in our book.

AMD Desktop
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  • ElFenix - Monday, September 05, 2005 - link

    these PR numbers don't tell me anything =( Reply
  • andrewln - Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - link

    mhz does not mean anything too Reply
  • ElFenix - Sunday, September 11, 2005 - link

    mhz is very useful for comparing between the same families of processors.

    ideally they're be model/pr number, core mhz, bus mhz, and l2 cache size in these tables, i think.
    Reply
  • joex444 - Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_Athlon_64..."> has a list of all the Athlon 64s, and below it has links to other types of CPUs where you can get a list like the one above from the link in See Also.

    For the "fun" of it, I decided to transform the list into a database. It's really interesting how many, for example, 3200+ CPUs there are, across sockets and cores. It's on my home PC, so I can't even find the best example for you, but I can see how you could be confused. I should do the same for Intel's, I think there's is more confusing. For example, a 520 and 518 differ in FSB speed -- the 520 has a 800MHz / 518 has 533MHz. It's a big difference but is only worth 2 points (assuming the 518 runs slower than the 520; if the 533MHz bus chip runs faster than a 520 but slower than 530 then it's a 522, if that exists, it's all theoretical since I'm not looking).
    Reply
  • ceefka - Monday, September 05, 2005 - link

    Would these boards require a 939 Opteron or do they also play with Venice, Toledo or Machester (X2)? Reply
  • ceefka - Monday, September 05, 2005 - link

    It took me a while, but I have found the answer myself.

    From what I have seen from the Tyan Tomcat K8E S2865 it will play with 939 Opterons as well as any s939 CPU, though it doesn't feature the nF4 Pro.

    Foxconn makes their NFPIK8AA-8EKRS for s940 CPUs NVIDIA nForce Pro 2200 + nForce Pro 2050 and nicy nice TI firewire controllers a+b. If they can swap the 2050 for a couple of PCI slots on a s939 version, that would be a nice board.
    Reply
  • Tides - Sunday, September 04, 2005 - link

    Is there really any gain from single cores atm? When will we see apps/games/programs take advantage of this. Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - link

    What you do is buy a socket-939 system now and a single core chip since they're pretty cheap these days. Then in maybe 6-12 months, pick up a dual-core chip when those prices have fallen a bunch so you're set for games that might finally arrivee that take advantage of the second core somehow. Reply
  • highlandsun - Sunday, September 04, 2005 - link

    I just replaced the Winchester 3000+ in my system with an X2 3800+. My compile times have sped up drastically. On the 3000+ compiling my source tree took about 4 minutes. With the 3800+ and serial make, it's 3:22 and the system shows 50% idle time. With parallel make -j2 it takes 1:50 and the system shows about 15% idle time. With -j3 it takes 1:45 and about 1% idle time. I'm pleased. Reply
  • xsilver - Monday, September 05, 2005 - link

    man those compile times are great but for noobs that are new to computers and only use it for surfing and games --- I think its still not really recommended that they get dual core

    a good analogy i can think of is turbocharging in cars -- too often i see people with twin turbocharger cars that dont even rev their engines beyond the 3000rpm limit for the turbo's to kick in. What a waste!!! and how stupid (eg. always driving around with turbo lag)
    Reply

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