Final Words

Now armed with final silicon, our stance on AMD's Athlon 64 X2 doesn't change at all - AMD clearly has the faster overall dual core desktop solution, but at a price that will be out of reach for most users. Eventually, AMD's pricing will fall to a level that is far more reasonable, but unfortunately, that time won't be until 2006 at the earliest. We've already looked at the slow dual core vs. fast single core debate, but be prepared to be put in that very position later this year as both AMD and Intel bring their dual core CPUs to market at very different price points.

What we did find interesting was that while AMD generally maintains a large performance advantage in single threaded applications, our multitasking scenarios were a mixed bag of results between AMD and Intel. The multitasking gaming tests were obviously very strongly in favor of AMD, but the general usage tests were more mixed between AMD and Intel. In many cases, Intel's Pentium D actually pulled ahead in terms of performance.

Also, in our multitasking tests, there were a couple of cases where we saw no major performance difference between the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and 4200+. It was mostly in the single application (both single and multi-threaded) that we saw the most noticeable performance difference between the two CPUs.

The other thing we continue to see is that dual core with Hyper Threading in these multitasking environments is very much the double-edged sword. There are some situations where having both Hyper Threading and dual core gives Intel a huge performance boost, but there are others where the exact opposite is true. As it currently stands, we're not sure how much of a future Hyper Threading will have in future Intel architectures - but it's definitely not a sure win.
In terms of availability, AMD is encouraging all reviewers to mention that the Athlon 64 X2 will be available starting in June. However, that availability in June will only be through select system builders, probably very similar to Intel's current dual core "availability". Widespread availability of the Athlon 64 X2 won't be until Q3 or Q4 of this year, and we aren't sure when we'll see widespread Pentium D/Extreme Edition availability either. AMD did deliver on their promise and is making sure that dual core Opterons are out and available for the enterprise markets, however.

With the last of our product-specific dual core previews out the door, now we all play the waiting game. But with both AMD and Intel pushing dual core heavily, we can only hope that the wait won't be too long - especially from the standpoint of improving software support for dual core systems. Today, we're able to show some very tangible performance gains for dual core CPUs in multitasking usage environments, but in the future, single application performance should get a very tangible performance boost as well.

Gaming Multitasking Scenario
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  • Ender17 - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Would have been nice to have a 2.8GHz Pentium D so you could get a sense of how the Intel chips scaled with an increase in the clock speed. Reply
  • RadeonGuy - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Great Article Anand

    very depthful
    Reply
  • ashegam - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    I'm having a woodygasm :) Reply
  • nourdmrolNMT1 - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    looks very promising

    MIKE
    Reply
  • potato pc - Sunday, October 20, 2019 - link

    I just looked into this article because my destkop in 2019 on windows 10 has it.

    man its insane how dual cores were powerful at this time.
    Reply
  • brug69 - Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - link

    so crazy that this was 15 years ago, and yall never had a clue that there would ever be 64 core processors today... Reply
  • DARK_BG - Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - link

    Hah I was reading this review 15 years ago and with their prices back then I was only dreaming about the 1024kb dual core ones :) Well I took it 3 years later second hand Athlon 64X2 4800+ :D Still working on Asus A8N-E with a ATI HD4850 now used by my grandfather just to read the news :) Reply

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