Head to Head: Athlon 64 X2 3800+ vs. Pentium D 830

Is the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ worthy of its Pentium D opponent?  Not to spoil the surprise, but yes, emphatically yes.

Not only are there significant advantages in single threaded games, but everything from encoding to the multitasking tests put the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ ahead of its Pentium D counterpart. 

Note: The iTunes scores are Encoding Times in Minutes, lower numbers are better.

Although they aren't pictured here (for space reasons), you'll see in the coming pages that there is only one benchmark where Intel ends up ahead.  The Roxio VideoWave test in PCWorld's WorldBench 5 suite completes 6 seconds quicker on the Pentium D 830 than on the Athlon 64 X2 3800+.  That is one loss out of 31 total benchmarks for the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (once again, not all pictured here, but you'll see them on the coming pages). 

The victory is clear and without debate, at the $300 - $400 price point, the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ is the dual core processor to get. 
AMD’s Efficiency Advantage? Business/General Use Performance


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  • gibhunter - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    Whatever, point of entry into dual core is $250. Like it or not, if someone wants it for what I said, than the cheapest way to get there is with an Intel chipset with built-in graphics and the P4 D820. For my personal computer I'd go with the AMD, but for a cheap PC that will be good for everything but gaming, the Intel solution is the way to go.

    Ps. The D820 is not as hot as you make it out to be.
  • krisia - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    Uh, funny, My Intel D820 runs the same games I was running on my AMD 3500 and I can't tell any difference.
    And, no the 945 mobos and DDR2 memory aren't any higher in price if you look...
    I voted with my $$$. :)
  • SDA - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    Just because you can't tell the difference doesn't mean that one doesn't exist. This is stock advice. And anyway, this isn't about whether or not you're happy with your purchase decision, it's about whether that purchase decision is a genuinely good choice. Bose speaker buyers are generally happy with their purchases, but that doesn't mean Bose speakers are any good. Reply
  • krisia - Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - link

    Well, I have my systems OC'd, the D820 by 10% and my ADM 64 3500 by 20% and ran x2demo. Both systems running Geforce 6600GT. Came out virtually the same frame rates. As I paid less $$$ for my D820, yes I'm happy with it for what I do... Any other analogies that might help? Reply
  • SDA - Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - link

    I never said it was a bad choice, krisia, only that you can't extrapolate from your own very limited experience and tests and say that it must be a better choice in general. I'm sure that you made the perfect choice for your situation, but that doesn't mean it's the right choice for everyone/anyone/someone else.

    Again, the Bose analogy. A Bose buyer might put their favorite CD in their Bose system and decide that it sounds just fine compared to their neighbor's stereo. They made a fine choice for them, but that doesn't mean it's a choice they should recommend to others. Ever.

    Any other analogies that might help? ;)
  • SDA - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    Use the reply button to reply to comments. ;)

    Actually, I would say that I have a fairly accurate idea of how hot the 820 and 830 run. The 820 is quite possible-- easy, even, to cool (how could it not be), but the fact of the matter is that it is nearly impossible to get a silent air-cooled system with one, and it is quite difficult to get one that's merely quiet instead of "noise-reduced." If you beg to differ, you'd be arguing with an SPL meter, meaning that you have probably been deafened already.

    Also, "whatever" is not an adequate response to "Intel dual core motherboards make up most of the cost difference." Try again.
  • gibhunter - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    Repeat after me: NOT CHEAP ENOUGH!!!

    I do not care that it's faster than Intel's dual core cpu. Intel's CPU is $100 cheaper. If I'm building a new PC for web, office and occasional DVD encode, I'm buying the Intel chip. Plain and simple, the $100 sure as hell makes a difference. No enthusiasts will go for the 3800+ unless he is willing to OC the hell out of it. Your regular guy that just wants a good, stable PC with adequate power to do anything and dual core to be able to encode video and happily keep on making his powerpoint presentation, the Intel chip will aloow him to do so and save a hundred bucks in the process.

    Whatever, AMD is obviously not listening.
  • Zebo - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    AMD's cost much more to make because they must have perfection over two cores on a single die vs. intel who slaps two prescotts together. You pay a performance price for Intels way of doing things which is reflected in the lower price.

    Too bad you're only looking at CPU price.. when you consider power, mobo, and ram the pentium dually setup costs more money.
  • fitten - Thursday, August 04, 2005 - link

    AMD's cost much more to make because they must have perfection over two cores on a single die vs. intel who slaps two prescotts together.

    What are you smoking? The AMD X2s are a single chip. The Intel parts are also a single chip. Intel does not "slap" two Prescotts together to make the dual core parts. They are two cores on a contiguous piece of silicon just like the AMD parts are. Now, you can talk about Intel's implementation of dual core logic not being as good as AMD's and the like, but please quit with the myth that Intel's dual core chips are actually MCMs because they aren't.
  • kmmatney - Monday, August 01, 2005 - link

    From what I can see, Intel 955 chipset motherboards are around $180 - $220, which is a lot more expensive than a decent Socket 939 motherboard. SO overall thge system cost is much cheaper than the Intel 830, and very close to the 820. Reply

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