Once More, With Feeling

We've already been through one major set of Intel price cuts this year, that was just three months ago after the Core 2 QX6800 launch. The smoke hadn't even cleared from the first round but both AMD and Intel are back in price slashing mode.

AMD already cut its prices before today's article, while Intel's cuts aren't scheduled to take effect until July 22nd (next week). We'll start off with AMD's pricing:

CPU Clock Speed L2 Cache Price
AMD Athlon 64 FX-74 3.0GHz 1MBx2 $599/pair
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.0GHz 1MBx2 $178
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ 2.8GHz 1MBx2 $157
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ 2.6GHz 1MBx2 $136
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6GHz 512KBx2 $125
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.5GHz 512KBx2 $115
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 2.3GHz 512KBx2 $94
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ 2.1GHz 512KBx2 $73
AMD X2 BE-2350 2.1GHz 512KBx2 $91
AMD X2 BE-2300 1.9GHz 512KBx2 $73

Hello savings! The fastest Socket-AM2 processor AMD offers now costs less than $200, and only two of AMD's processors sell for over $150. Competition may not be good for AMD's bottom line but it's definitely enabling cheap system builds this year.

As exciting as a $1,000 CPU running a whole 70MHz faster than its predecessor may be, the real story today is how AMD and Intel stack up when you take the latest round of price cuts into account.

Intel's lineup looks very confusing at first, but after the price cuts take effect it'll be a lot easier to recommend processors. The table below has all currently available Intel CPUs (as well as a few that are due out soon), but you'll notice that some lines are in red. The lines in red are products that are available in the market, but no longer make sense to buy after the price cuts next week.

In an attempt to quickly move the market to 1333MHz FSB platforms, Intel has made those chips far more attractive than the previous 1066MHz FSB processors:

CPU Clock Speed FSB L2 Cache Availability Pricing
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 3.00GHz 1333 4MBx2 Now $999
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6800 2.93GHz 1066 4MBx2 Now $999
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 2.66GHz 1066 4MBx2 Now $999
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz 1066 4MB Now $999
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz 1066 4MBx2 Now $530
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40GHz 1066 4MBx2 Now $266
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.00GHz 1333 4MB Now $266
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 1333 4MB Now $183
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz 1066 4MB Now $316
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz 1066 4MB Now $224
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333 4MB Now $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E6540 2.33GHz 1333 4MB Now $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 2.13GHz 1066 4MB Now $183
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz 1066 2MB Now $183
Intel Core 2 Duo E6320 1.86GHz 1066 4MB Now $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz 1066 2MB Now $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.40GHz 800 2MB Q4 $133
Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 2.20GHz 800 2MB Q3 $133
Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 2.00GHz 800 2MB Now $113
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 1.80GHz 800 2MB Now $113
Intel Pentium E2180 2.00GHz 800 1MB Q4 $84
Intel Pentium E2160 1.80GHz 800 1MB Now $84
Intel Pentium E2140 1.60GHz 800 1MB Now $74

See a trend? Financially it makes no sense to buy any of the 1066MHz FSB CPUs anymore, Intel sure knows how to push new chipsets on a market.

If you remove all the CPUs that no longer make sense to buy from the chart, you actually get a pretty nice and simple processor lineup:

CPU Clock Speed FSB L2 Cache Availability Pricing
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 3.00GHz 1333 4MBx2 Now $999
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6800 2.93GHz 1066 4MBx2 Now $999
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz 1066 4MBx2 Now $530
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40GHz 1066 4MBx2 Now $266
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.00GHz 1333 4MB Now $266
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 1333 4MB Now $183
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333 4MB Now $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E6540 2.33GHz 1333 4MB Now $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.40GHz 800 2MB Q4 $133
Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 2.20GHz 800 2MB Q3 $133
Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 2.00GHz 800 2MB Now $113
Intel Pentium E2180 2.00GHz 800 1MB Q4 $84
Intel Pentium E2160 1.80GHz 800 1MB Now $84
Intel Pentium E2140 1.60GHz 800 1MB Now $74

It's almost like the early days of the Core 2, when model numbers weren't overly confusing for end users, almost.

Motherboard Requirements for 1333MHz FSB?

While there's no official support for 1333MHz FSB CPUs on Intel's P965 and 975X chipsets, many high end P965 motherboards provide unofficial support with little more than a BIOS update. Obviously if you're building a new system today, Intel's 3-series chipsets all enable the 1333MHz FSB and are available with both DDR2 and DDR3 support. We tested with Gigabyte's GA-P35C-DS3R, which offers four DDR2 and two DDR3 slots, giving you the option of either memory technology.

NVIDIA is quick to point out that all of its 680i based motherboards not only support the 1333MHz FSB but will also support Intel's forthcoming Penryn core, all that's necessary is a BIOS update. Motherboards based on Intel's 3-series chipsets should support Penryn just fine, but the verdict isn't out yet on what P965 boards will work with Intel's first 45nm core due out at the end of this year.

Index A Plan of Attack
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  • mbf - Monday, July 23, 2007 - link

    I accidentally posted this in the comment section for the earlier article, but it seems to fit better here. Sadly I cannot delete the other comment...

    I've been wondering how older motherboards will work with the new FSB1333 processors. Specifically I'm interested how an ASUS P5W DH Deluxe without the latest BIOS would react to having e.g. an E6750 dropped in. ASUS claims support for FSB1333 processors for the P5W DH Deluxe as of 2205 beta.

    Would the system boot and run using a pre-2205 BIOS (although not at peak performance), so a BIOS upgrade can be performed? Or would the system fail to boot at all, like when the first Core 2 Duo processors surfaced and needed a BIOS upgrade to run at all on certain boards.

    The reason I ask this is that I've my eyes set specifically on that board (I have several reasons, ECC memory support being one of them). I had originally planned on getting an E6600 after the July 22 price cuts, but right now there's nearly no FSB1066 processor to be had locally. Also, I'd of course love to have a access to the latest processors in any case.
    Reply
  • number - Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - link

    Marvelous article. However, one benchmark is missing. Quad core processor may be used in the following way: two cores are working on a job that utilizes them to the max, while remaining two run a game. How well the processors fare under this scenario? Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - link

    Was the Q6600 compared to the E6850 at stock speed, and not with the boost from setting 1333 FSB? Is it really 10% faster in CS3 than the 3GHz E6850 (and therefore a lot quicker than my E6600)? And would similar improvements carry over to CS2, or did they improve multicore support in the transition from CS2 to CS3? Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Despite theoretical showings on paper, the 1333MHz FSB appears to do very little for performance even when feeding four of Intel's fastest cores.


    Maybe you should also add scores of 1066MHz FSB on the P965 rather than showing 1066FSB on P35 only. Your earlier tests with P35 have shown that there is performance improvement just by moving from P965 to the P35 chipset. Moving to P35 showed greater improvements than changing P35's supporting CPU from 1066FSB to 1333FSB.
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/31822/135/">http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/31822/135/ Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    (no edit button?)
    http://www.thetechrepository.com/showthread.php?p=...">http://www.thetechrepository.com/showthread.php?p=...
    Reply
  • scott967 - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    Seen various comments to "wait for G0" stepping coming out now or very soon. What stepping was used on this comparo and any comments on this stepping issue?

    scott s.
    .
    Reply
  • clairvoyant129 - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    I love how all these AMD proponents claim that Intel motherboards are too expensive. Then they claim the difference can buy them a much better video card.

    There are tons of cheap Intel motherboards that are just as good as comparable AMD motherboards.

    These fanboys are pathetic. Whats the next excuse?
    Reply
  • mamisano - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    Curious, anyone find these new Intel CPUs in stock, and if so are the prices in line with what has been listed? Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    I have to agree this was a superb article. Well thought out and logical in all repects. Answers all buying questions from various angles.
    Of course, IBM's 300GHz CPU perhaps may make all this irrelevant - heh
    http://www.newtechspy.com/articles06/crystalcomput...">http://www.newtechspy.com/articles06/crystalcomput...

    While I am at it, the article on 32 bit addressing was also very clear and informative explaining the 4GB "wall", and the 2GB/2GB split. I am sure many on the web will make reference this article in the future.

    And the first power supply review was the third in this triad of superior investigation by the AT crew. Those graphs showing the PSU voltage vs wattage load are simply the best insight I've ever seen in a PSU review anywhere. Also interesting was the fact the Silverstone was advertised as a single 12V rail, but was in fact 4 separate.

    AT seems to be reinvigorated for some reason - kudu's to you, top notch work.
    Reply

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