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


View All Comments

  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    coomar: The motherboard costs are a little more negligable than I first originally thought. You can get a 945P board for about $130.

    An nForce4 Ultra Socket 939 board runs about $90 (unless you love Biostar).

    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. Let's just hope they ship near launch time so that we won't be waiting as pricing on the D820/D840 and X2 chips plummets.

  • coomar - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    the difference between the x2 coming in august and the lowest pentium-D is 345/240 or 1.4, factor in that the pentium needs a more expensive motherboard than the x2 and that drops down to 15-30% more, which is reasonable

    we can ignore ram prices, ddr and ddr2 are pretty much equal
  • boban10 - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    The problem with Pentium D is power consuption. And nobody mentioned how much you need to pay more energy bill with those cpus.... Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    I'm getting nothing at all showing up in the lists of prices, except for maybe one or two parts every page or two. For instance on the AMD Desktop page, all I see is

    AMD Athlon 64 (754) 3400+ 512KB Newcastle CDW 319.76 9.99 329.75 +158.03 Check Prices

    there are no S939 parts in the upper table, and thats all that it finds for S754.
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    sprockkets: I don't know if you've used an Intel CPU lately... they basically mount the thing on the motherboard with plastic anchors. Then again, they've done that since the original Pentium if you really think about it!

  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    JGunther: AMD's fab 30 is hardly a high production fab (it's barely more than a foundry) and yes, the entire facility isn't even dedicated to X2/Opteron A6 production. Meanwhile all of Intel's fabs are doing dual core production...

    Let's be honest, Intel doesn't have a chance on the technology front here. No doubt about it, AMD has Intel licked as far as tech goes. Unfortunately, they can't seem to make it on the cheap like they did the Barton series.

    Throw me a sub $300 A64 dual core chip (even a Sempron) and I am sure it will do circles around the D820. Unfortunately, AMD isn't even close to something like that right now. Maybe 01'06.

  • JarredWalton - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    5 - the point is that there's a reason Pentium D can cost quite a lot less than the X2. You can love AMD all you want, but the simple fact of life is that Intel is way ahead in production capabilities, and that leads to the higher prices. Even the upcoming X2 won't change that too much. It will still cost over 50% more than the 820 I think, and is it 50% faster?

    I want to try to get some OC tests done with some of these chips, particularly the Turion/Mobile Athlon parts. We'll see....
  • ElJefe - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    OH, I have to add to the Ext. Edition post:

    a 3700 754 socket outperforms that in gaming.

    lol. check it out.... across the board.... lol. wtf intel?

    i know the EE of course does video really well, but er, yeah. what a minute % of computing time is devoted to video compression..... and that cant wait another minute....
  • ElJefe - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    Ya know, I can't understand the high level dual core intels, the low end, they sound neat for certain uses and business things def. so.

    However, I would rather eat glass in truth than buy any intel besides a Dothan 2.1ghz, which is more money than it should be.
    amd just has a retarded freakin way to explain their cores and chips.

    I dont personally think that the Toledo 4400 is going to drop anytime until january by any noticable degree. They have the market cornered on the best dual cores, and well, for 600 dollars I can get myself a sick proc and also feel dumb that I spent that much.

    i wonder if M2 is going to be anything. it must have something up it's sleeve. as it stands now it doesnt offer a blessed thing.
  • sprockkets - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    The intel dual core processor is nice, well, doesn't that thing run very hot?

    Well anyway, can you elaborate as to what you mean by Intel being a "plastic monstrosity"?

    What is cool is that the new boxed amd processors come in a green tray that feels like styrofoam but says it's really made out of paper.

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