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

  • ryanv12 - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    #5 - you sound extremely pro-AMD with that statement, and you probably are.

    I didn't detect any subtle pro-intel remarks in this article at all. If you notice, Kris recommends against a Prescott processor. I'm afraid I don't see the bias here...
  • JGunther - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    "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."

    Sigh, Kris... could you try any harder to make it sound like AMD is struggling with dual-core chip production?

    Of course Intel is going to have more fabs producing dual-core chips: they have more fabs, period. Fab30 is THE chip production facility for AMD: Fab 25 is used for flash memory production, and Fab 36 hasn't yet entered production.

    The fact that AMD is only producing X2s out of Fab30 is NO SURPRISE AT ALL, and I can't for the life of me figure out why you even mentioned it other than to try to put AMD down.

    Just one of the many little sentences in this article that are subtly pro-Intel when they shouldn't be.
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    Sorry about that Rand. The tables are generated on keywords and apparently I didnt have the right keywords for the XE chips. It should show up now.

  • Rand - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    I'd be mildly interested to see the results of the P4 580 relative to the 3.73GHz EE should it ever pass through your hands.

    Speaking of the P4 EE. any reason why you didn't list it despite listing it's direct competitor in the A64 FX?
  • Rand - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    At $163 and $263 respectively the 3400+ and 3700+ S754 models aren't too badly priced for users that have an older 280+ A64 of which I suspect there are still a decent number.

    2.4GHz/512K or 2.4Ghz/1MB provides a reasoably respectable upgrade over a 1.8GHz/512K 2800+, at those priced I'm not sure you gain much by jumping to a similarly performing S939 processor and motherboard given the extra cost.

    For low end A64 S754 users that want something faster, unless they need the absolute highest single core performance (A64 FX/A64 4000+) or DualCore they may as well grab a 3400/3700+ S754 and use that to tide them over until Socket M2 hits... though that would require replacing the DRAM as well, but eventually they'd have to do that regardless.
  • vitamalt - Sunday, July 24, 2005 - link

    And my next upgrade will be? Who knows, gonna see how all this pans out after the "budget' X2 arrives. Reply

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