AMD has been taking a beating lately; when Intel released its Core 2 microprocessor family it was priced and performed aggressively, too aggressively for AMD to adequately compete with at the time. AMD's marketing even went into remission as reviewers weren't even seeded for speed bumps to the Athlon 64 X2 line, the X2 5000+ and FX-62 were the fastest Socket-AM2 parts AMD sent out for review and they were the first ones we'd ever reviewed as well. Sometimes no PR is good PR, and an article around the launch of the Athlon 64 X2 5200+, 5400+ or 5600+ simply proclaiming that Core 2 is once again on top would only work in Intel's favor.

Quad FX came and went with limited interest from the enthusiast community, but the new platform signified a change in AMD's product lineup. Expensive FX series processors would no longer be simply speed bumps of mainstream CPUs with more cache, they would be reserved for a completely different socket as well and sold in bundles of two for Quad FX platforms. It's almost fitting that the FX line has been relegated to a platform that we didn't recommend as it makes the task of encouraging users to stay away from FX-class processors a little easier. And if having to move to a new socket wasn't reason enough to pick an AM2 processor over its FX counterpart, AMD's latest price cuts should seal the deal:

CPU Clock Speed L2 Cache Price
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.0GHz 1MBx2 $459
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ 2.8GHz 1MBx2 $326
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400+ 2.8GHz 512KBx2 $267
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ 2.6GHz 1MBx2 $232
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6GHz 512KBx2 $222
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.5GHz 512KBx2 $217
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ 2.4GHz 512KBx2 $195
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 2.3GHz 512KBx2 $170
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2GHz 512KBx2 $159
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ 2.1GHz 512KBx2 $144
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 2.0GHz 512KBx2 $113
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ 1.9GHz 512KBx2 $102

The most expensive Athlon 64 X2, in fact the one being introduced today, is priced at under $500. Clocked at 3.0GHz with a 1MB L2 cache per core, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ isn't even the most attractive part of AMD's lineup. Shave 200MHz off the 6000+ and you get the Athlon 64 X2 5600+, priced at $326. Note that the X2 5600+ is simply a FX-62 in disguise, what used to be a $999 processor has been reduced to less than a third of its cost - ain't competition grand?

Of course a price war isn't in AMD's best interest when it comes to making money, but it's the best AMD can do until its new micro-architecture makes its debut later this year. As a reference, below is a table of Intel's Core 2 price list:

CPU Clock Speed L2 Cache Price
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz 4MB $999
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz 4MB $530
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz 4MB $316
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz 2MB $224
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz 2MB $183
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 1.80GHz 2MB $163

The Core 2 Duo E6700 is $70 more expensive than the X2 6000+ but it is Intel's closest competition to the new AMD processor. The E6600 lines up pretty well with the Athlon 64 X2 5600+ at a price $10 lower, while the E6400 is only $2 away from the X2 5000+. While we know that Intel's Core 2 processors are faster, the question that remains is whether AMD's aggressive pricing changes the value equation at all.

Still 90nm

Despite AMD's recent move to 65nm, the highest clocked cores are still built on a 90nm process; this is usually the case when a new process isn't mature enough to produce adequate yields at higher clock speeds. There's also the fact that higher volume processors run at lower clock speeds so it makes sense for a capacity constrained company like AMD to move high volume parts to 65nm production before the lower demand SKUs.

The Test - Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit


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  • hubajube - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link


    I just changed FSB from 266 to 350, I have a 2.8Ghz C2D.
    Wow, no shit? That IS easy.
  • Rolphus - Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - link

    You think that's easy...

    I've got 2.4GHz E6600 on an nForce 680i-based Asus P5N32ESLIWTF board (I forgot the model nubmer, can you tell?).

    Last night as I was disabling the onboard audio, in the BIOS, I was curious so I went to the "extreme tweaker" menu, hit "AI Overclock", selected "20% overclock", and there you go - a 2.88GHz E6600.

    The machine's fast enough to run everything I want at stock speeds, but who's going to complain about spending 15 seconds to bump the clock speed by 20%?
  • customcoms - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    I would like to point out that overclocking S939 and AM2 chips is equally easy-and probably why C2D overclocking has proven easy for many people-they started on the AMD chips when they were king and very overclockable (50-60% is not uncommon on the low end AMD chips).
    For example, my main rig is still an Opteron 165 (basically an X2 3800+ with twice the cache) clocked at 2.7ghz, no voltage change, stock cooling, raised FSB speed from 200 to 300mhz. Required MAYBE 5 bios boots total, all of which were concerned with ram stability (switched ram to 2x1gb at same time installed processor), which can be a pita with a DFI Ultra-D.

    The difference between AMD and Intel when it comes to overclocking: highest possible speeds. C2D has A LOT of headroom, which means E6300 AND E6400's can usually reach >3ghz, topping out around 3.5ghz; E6600's can be pushed to 3.7ghz. X2 3800's commonly top out at 2.6gh. Stellar chips can be pushed to 3ghz (actually, good Opty's normally reach 2.8-3ghz, very few X2 3800's get there). No AMD cpu I've seen online has been pushed to 3.2ghz or greater on air. This means C2D is king for now, when we are talking about overclocking.
  • Neosis - Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - link

    You are right about Conroe but actually single core AMD CPUs reached 3200 Mhz with air cooling. And some Opty 165-170-175s managed to exceed 3Ghz Barrier with low voltages. Here is an old thread about San Diego:">
  • neogodless - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    The whole time I was seeing how the X2 6000+ stacked up against the E6600, which would be the CPU I bought if I go with Intel. And suddenly I get to Power Consumption and it's mysteriously absent. I suppose I can try to extrapolate based on the other chips, but if you have data for it and accidentally omitted it, can you please add it in, for the sake of my laziness? Thanks! Reply
  • Imnotrichey - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    i found it interesting the 6700 consumes less power than its younger brothers. But wow, this article made a 6600 really look awesome

  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    Not sure why E6600 is missing on the power charts (perhaps Anand was running a downclocked E6700 for performance testing, which wouldn't be valid in power numbers), but it's pretty safe to say the E6600 would be right around the power draw of the other C2D chips - between the E6700 and E6400. Voltage settings also vary on the C2D CPUs IIRC, so you can get some CPUs that run at 1.1V and others that run at 1.3V, even though they're the same model number. Reply
  • jelifah - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    Is the author making a hint of 'things to come' when Barcelona arrives?

    A thinly veiled hint that AMD could actually compete? One can only hope. As was said repeatedly in the article, competition is the reason we have these prices and these processors. Without competition I doubt we would be seeing the performance, let alone the price, that we see today
  • hubajube - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    The X2 5600 does actually compete well with the E6600 and they're very close in price. Although, OCing is another story. Reply
  • goinginstyle - Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - link

    I was expecting to see another "just like me" article on this CPU and was surprised to see benchmarks under Vista and 64bit at that. Thanks for an interesting read and hopefully the motherboard editors will start using Vista in their articles now.

    I still think AMD is close enough in performance that it does not matter that much which platform you use. After all of the troubles I had with my 965 board I wonder why I switched now. Was there any reason why you did not use the nvidia 680i board for testing since the 590 board was used for the AMD system?

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