We've got a CPU Price Guide for you this week, and with the recent launch of AMD's AM2 platform there have been quite a few changes. For the first time since the days of socket A, AMD has a unified platform for their budget, mainstream, and high-end processors. Assuming everything goes as planned, you should be able to purchase any AM2 motherboard right now and you will have the option of running everything from the lowly Sempron 64 up through dual core Athlon X2 processors. What's more, AMD should be launching additional CPU designs for the platform later this year, and in 2007 we should see the first quad core processors for the platform. That makes socket AM2 a platform with potentially the most longevity we have seen to date, hopefully following on the success of the socket 754 platform. Socket 939 is of course still doing well, but AMD's roadmaps indicate that socket 754 will actually outlive socket 939 now.

The Intel side of things is not quite so clear, in part because we're still waiting for the launch of the Core 2 Duo processors and platform. From what we saw at Computex 2006, many motherboard makers should be able to run Core 2 Duo processors on current Intel chipsets -- we saw everything from 865/875 through 915, 945, and of course the official 965/975 running the upcoming processors. It appears that the only requirements are proper voltage regulation modules (VRMs) and a BIOS that works with Core 2 Duo. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the past, Intel sanctioned support (at least on Intel chipsets) of Core 2 Duo may be limited to the 965 and 975 chipset families. We will have to wait another month or so for the official launch to find out how things pan out in terms of motherboard/chipset support.

All this talk of chipsets and motherboards is starting to muddy the waters, as this is supposed to be a CPU Price Guide. However, it is virtually impossible to talk about processors without at least giving a quick overview of the various chipsets and platforms that run them. We will be providing a Motherboard Price Guide in the near future to cover the other half of this equation, but for now let's talk about processors.

As with all of our Price Guides, we will be providing prices from our Real-Time Pricing Engine. Our price engine team does their best to keep on top of the currently available products, and you can find prices on everything from CPUs, RAM, and graphics cards to hard drives, motherboards, and LCDs from vendors that we consider to be reputable. Of course, we're always looking for ways to improve, so if you have any suggestions feel free to send them our way. Due to the sheer number of processors available, we won't be covering every single option in this article. The price tables are already long enough as it is, so we will try to focus on the most frequently purchased parts. However, if you're looking for an older processor or something a bit more esoteric, chances are you can find it in the RTPE.

AMD Dual Core/High-End CPUs
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  • GTVic - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    The 930 is the same except for double the cache. Why is it so much cheaper????
  • Robberbaron12 - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    Intel are dumping the 65nm netburst processors as fast as possible, so thats why they are so cheap. The 90nm smithfields are now out of production all together except for the 805 (so I hear). I assume the 65nm netburst must be being shunted to the side to make room for all those Woodcrests and Conroes on the same production lines.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I think Intel is probably about ready to halt all NetBurst production, and they have a ton of inventory to clear I would guess. Anyway, *all* of the Pentium D prices are quite nice. $140 for the 820 isn't bad either, as it will then get the faster FSB relative to the 805 for only $30 more. The 9xx series is good as well, but they all seem to OC into the 3.9-4.1 GHz range, so you might as well grab the cheapest one (930).
  • eetnoyer - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    I doubt that Intel is "about ready" to stop producing netburst chips, considering that current predictions are for ~30% of shipments being C/M/W exiting the year. Unless, of course, they want to lose a bunch more market share. I'm more inclined to believe that they are flooding the market with cheap netburst chips in an attempt to hold unit share at any cost. Their gross margins for Q2 are going to be horrendous.

    By the way, would it be so hard to include clock speeds in these articles? The model numbers in many cases are almost meaningless to alot of people anymore, and will only get worse going forward. I'm pretty sure that the average reader here is more than capable of understanding the IPC differences.
  • bamacre - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I don't agree that the Pentium 805 is the most interesting Intel cpu, even with it's low price. The 940, which runs cooler and uses less power, is simply awesome at roughly $75 cheaper than the X2 3800+, and running very close to it's speeds in gaming, and beating it in almost everything else. Easily, IMO, the best bang for your buck dual core cpu.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I don't know... overclocked 920 at 4.0 GHz doesn't match an overclocked X2 3800+ at 2.6 GHz, so at least to me AMD X2 still comes out ahead in gaming performance. However, price is definitely in favor of Intel right now. I guess "most interesting" is all a matter of personal preference - for some people, FX-62 and Core 2 Extreme are probably the "most interesting". :)
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I think single core will stick around, but all the 1024KB chips are going away. The question is whether Sempron chips are going to be different cores, or just Orleans with some of the L2 disabled. I wouldn't be surprised if AMD goes the disabled cache route.
  • gerf - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    754 outlive 939? I remember some build reviews where 939 was only to be used because of "future upgrade choices." Ouch.

    What I wonder, is if my Averatec 6235's mobile A64 (754) can be swapped with a new Turion.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    Your best bet is to ask Averatec; there's a reasonable chance you will need a new BIOS version, but other than that it should be capable of supporting the Turion. Turion is also built using and 90 nm process where is the socket 754 Athlon 64 Mobile chips are 130 nm, so even at the same clock speed Turion should run cooler.
  • gerf - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    Well, Averatec doesn't apparantly do bios updates. I'd have to check the chipset type, and find something more oem

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