The Economic Problem

For the consumer, AMD's pricing strategy is incredible. For AMD and its shareholders however, the pricing is a bit tough. The Phenom II X4 940 is priced similarly to the Core 2 Quad Q9400, a chip that is 36% smaller than AMD's offering. The Phenom II X4 810 goes up against the Q8300, again, a chip that's 36% smaller. The Phenom II X3 720 is even worse shape; AMD is selling a chip that's 258 mm2 at the same price Intel sells a 82 mm2 chip; that's a 68% smaller die at the same price.

AMD CPU AMD Die Size Competitive Intel CPU Competitive Intel Die Size Intel Size Advantage
AMD Phenom II X4 900 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9xxx/Q8xxx 164 mm2 36%
AMD Phenom II X4 800 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Quad Q8xxx 164 mm2 36%
AMD Phenom II X3 700 series 258 mm2 Intel Core 2 Duo E7xxx series 82 mm2 68%


AMD in many cases delivers greater performance than the similarly priced Intel CPUs, but not nearly a large enough performance gap to make up for the difference in die size. Again, great for consumers, but potentially painful for AMD in the long run. As yields improve AMD should be able to make more of these cores members of the 900 family, but without a separate, smaller die there will still be economic inefficiencies at the lower end.

The Core 2 Duo E7500, Intel's high-margin competitor to the Phenom II X3 700 series

Index AMD Flirts with DDR3


View All Comments

  • Denithor - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Such as power consumption/heat charts for the dual core chips.

    (I mean, come on, these chips still hang with the quads in many cases, I want to see how much better they are from a power consumption standpoint - is it worth the upgrade to quad if you've got a speedy dual?).

    To me it looks like the AMD chips give a lot better scaling when increasing the core count (X3 720 -> X4 920) than the Intel chips (e8400 -> Q9650). In most of the multi-threaded apps the AMD processors saw >95% increase (of the theoretical 33.3% possible) versus Intel with about 70-80% (of the theoretical 100%) on average. I wonder if this has to do with the fact the AMD chips are monolithic in design (more efficient interface among cores).
  • waffle911 - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    The image of the "socket AM3" is actually of the AM2... it still has 940 pin sockets, not 938. Reply
  • JimmiG - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    You need to change the "compatibility matrix" to reflect that an AM3 CPU will "maybe" work with an AM2+ mobo. Second-rate manufacturers like Asus will not release the needed BIOS updates for some of their older boards like the 790FX/SB600-based Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe. If you have a SB7xx-based board and it's not made by Asus or another second-rate mobo manufacturer, the matrix is probably accurate. Reply
  • fishbits - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    "We really have to applaud both companies here. Intel for responding so quickly and effectively; the 40% price drop on the Q9650 just made sense and now you can have a chip with 12MB of L2 cache for under $300 thanks to the Q9550."

    You're applauding Intel over this? To me, looks like they were screwing over customers with a gigantic artificial price premium. If it weren't for stepped-up competition from AMD, the price would have remained in the stratosphere. Intel is entitled to price however it wants, but I'm not going to applaud them for lowering prices only because another company exposed their gargantuan profit margin.

    Juat a tiny taste of what would be to come if only Intel were left standing. If fanbois who wish AMD harm ever got their wish, there'd be no competitive pressure on CPU prices, and we see what Intel does in that position. We really need two healthy CPU makers in business.
  • Finally - Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - link

    You know something's fishy, when a supposed article about a new AMD CPU starts with one full page of how Intel is the greatest evar... (and how much dropped their prices, which shall suggest to your mind that they are more interesting while they in fact go from Gargantuan to "normal" pricing for their products...) Reply
  • Maroon - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link


    Why in the hell would you "applaud" Intel for price gouging? I know it's partly AMD's fault by not having truly competitive cpus for the last 2 years, but I'm not gonna give Intel props because they had to reduce prices to remain competitive in those price segments.

  • poohbear - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    AMD Phenom II X3 710 is gonna be priced at around 125-135 i imagine, maybe even less, and for that price im sorry its a clear pick for those on a budget!! Its got 7.5mb cache, 3 cores, and will overclock to 3.6ghz if the 720 is any indication. Such sweetness. Any eta on em yet? Reply
  • BLaber - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    As far as I have read on some other sites AMD sent an email along with the test samples to reviewers to test the cpus on AM2+ mobo for time being bcz AM3 mobo bios are having some performance issues. Reply
  • Nightstalker - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    I don't understand the conclusion that there is no benefit to DDR3, when these CPU's were tested with DDR2. How about including results on these CPU's with both types of memory so we can see how they perform? Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    We will have additional DDR3/DDR2 results this week, we had AM3 BIOS releases coming until Friday night, the last one actually worked although it broke AOD and TurboV compatibility on the ASUS boards. We still cannot get DDR3-1866/2000 working. Of course, DDR3-1333 is the highest official support offered but we figure if it is in the BIOS then it should work. Reply

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