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

  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Ditto the power consumption at OC'd levels. I always get annoyed to see these fantastic OC results but then fail to see whether we've doubled the power consumption. It would certainly allow us to see a potential benefit if one or the other uses significantly less power under OC load conditions. Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    We will have power consumption and temps up tomorrow for the OC results along with a few benchmarks. It was difficult to get stable (true) volt readings with the X4 810 installed, so I spent my weekend with the DMM on the boards. Reply
  • Kaleid - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Great! Possible to also add difference with non-overclocked and overclocked power consumption at idle? Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    At the wall (total system) or just for the CPU? Do you mean the total system power was fluctuating with the 810? That seems really really wierd. Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    The power was fluctuating on the board at the Core VID side. I should have a BIOS spin tonight to fix it. The 720 was perfect but the 810 had a few problems that have been identified now. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    *weird, please give us an edit function. Reply
  • OCedHrt - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Interestingly, the 810 vs 910, there is no real performance difference outside the margin of error. In some cases, the 810 is faster and in some, the 910 takes the lead. Something I noticed though is that the 810 is faster than the 910 at more times, and faster by a larger amount (~3% when it is faster) as well. Seems like the reduced cache does not actually hamper performance. Reply
  • Moorbo - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    For most applications it seems you're correct that the smaller cache makes little difference. However if you look at the gaming performance the 2MB/core L3 cache of the 720 and 710 clearly makes a big difference despite their slower clock and lack of an additional core. What would the numbers look like with only two cores and 3MB/core and a higher clock? Reply
  • johnsonx - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    indeed, the 710 is also often faster than the 910, but usually slower than the 810.

    I'm a bit surprised we the readers have to thumb through all the benchmark charts to see the 710/810/910 comparison. 3 Phenom II's at the same speed, one 'standard', one with less cache and one with a missing core; that is something AT should have dedicated a page to.
  • stmok - Monday, February 09, 2009 - link

    Yeah, I noticed that as well. It looks like 4MB L3 cache is sufficient with Phenom II. (Any less, it'll start hurting...Any more, you're just wasting silicon space). Reply

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