Affordable Quad Core: AMD Athlon 64 FX-74 vs. Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700

AMD doesn't have any quad-core CPUs on the market today, but you can get four cores in a single motherboard by going with a Quad FX platform. AMD's attempt at building a enthusiast class dual socket, dual core platform is far from the most elegant solution in the world, but it does provide an interesting upgrade path. The Quad FX platform uses Socket-1207 CPUs and will be able to be upgraded to dual quad-core chips when they are available, giving you eight cores on a desktop motherboard. Intel has a similar offering called V8, but the AMD Quad FX platform uses standard desktop DDR2 memory which makes it infinitely more attractive.

The problem with Quad FX is that the motherboard is expensive, the whole platform consumes a great deal of power, and you can just as easily get a single socket, quad-core solution from Intel for less money. We haven't revisited Quad FX vs. Quad-Core since AMD introduced the platform, and since then there have been some price cuts on both sides of the fence. AMD now sells two Socket-1207 Athlon 64 FX-74 processors (3.0GHz) at $599 for the pair, making it quite cost competitive with Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6700 ($530).

If we forget about the added cost of a Quad FX motherboard for the moment, how do the two similarly priced processors stack up? The chart below shows the performance advantage/disadvantage the Q6700 holds compared to the FX-74:

That's not very pretty for AMD. The Athlon 64 FX-74 ends up being 1.1% faster in Cinebench but on average, the Q6700 is 14.1% faster than the more expensive Quad FX platform. The only benefit you get with Quad FX is the ability to eventually upgrade it to eight cores, but in our opinion for the majority of users the upgrade path is simply not enough to justify the means to get there.

Taking advantage of four cores on the desktop is tough enough today, and if you really need 8 cores today buying a platform that will support it in the future isn't going to help make your applications faster now. The market for Quad FX continues to be limited and our original recommendation from the first Quad FX review stands: you're better off with Intel's quad-core.

Do Four Cores Need a 1333MHz FSB? $180 Battle: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ vs. Intel Core 2 Duo E6750


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  • mbf - Monday, July 23, 2007 - link

    I accidentally posted this in the comment section for the earlier article, but it seems to fit better here. Sadly I cannot delete the other comment...

    I've been wondering how older motherboards will work with the new FSB1333 processors. Specifically I'm interested how an ASUS P5W DH Deluxe without the latest BIOS would react to having e.g. an E6750 dropped in. ASUS claims support for FSB1333 processors for the P5W DH Deluxe as of 2205 beta.

    Would the system boot and run using a pre-2205 BIOS (although not at peak performance), so a BIOS upgrade can be performed? Or would the system fail to boot at all, like when the first Core 2 Duo processors surfaced and needed a BIOS upgrade to run at all on certain boards.

    The reason I ask this is that I've my eyes set specifically on that board (I have several reasons, ECC memory support being one of them). I had originally planned on getting an E6600 after the July 22 price cuts, but right now there's nearly no FSB1066 processor to be had locally. Also, I'd of course love to have a access to the latest processors in any case.
  • number - Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - link

    Marvelous article. However, one benchmark is missing. Quad core processor may be used in the following way: two cores are working on a job that utilizes them to the max, while remaining two run a game. How well the processors fare under this scenario? Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - link

    Was the Q6600 compared to the E6850 at stock speed, and not with the boost from setting 1333 FSB? Is it really 10% faster in CS3 than the 3GHz E6850 (and therefore a lot quicker than my E6600)? And would similar improvements carry over to CS2, or did they improve multicore support in the transition from CS2 to CS3? Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - link


    Despite theoretical showings on paper, the 1333MHz FSB appears to do very little for performance even when feeding four of Intel's fastest cores.

    Maybe you should also add scores of 1066MHz FSB on the P965 rather than showing 1066FSB on P35 only. Your earlier tests with P35 have shown that there is performance improvement just by moving from P965 to the P35 chipset. Moving to P35 showed greater improvements than changing P35's supporting CPU from 1066FSB to 1333FSB.
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link"> Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    (no edit button?)">
  • scott967 - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    Seen various comments to "wait for G0" stepping coming out now or very soon. What stepping was used on this comparo and any comments on this stepping issue?

    scott s.
  • clairvoyant129 - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    I love how all these AMD proponents claim that Intel motherboards are too expensive. Then they claim the difference can buy them a much better video card.

    There are tons of cheap Intel motherboards that are just as good as comparable AMD motherboards.

    These fanboys are pathetic. Whats the next excuse?
  • mamisano - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    Curious, anyone find these new Intel CPUs in stock, and if so are the prices in line with what has been listed? Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    I have to agree this was a superb article. Well thought out and logical in all repects. Answers all buying questions from various angles.
    Of course, IBM's 300GHz CPU perhaps may make all this irrelevant - heh">

    While I am at it, the article on 32 bit addressing was also very clear and informative explaining the 4GB "wall", and the 2GB/2GB split. I am sure many on the web will make reference this article in the future.

    And the first power supply review was the third in this triad of superior investigation by the AT crew. Those graphs showing the PSU voltage vs wattage load are simply the best insight I've ever seen in a PSU review anywhere. Also interesting was the fact the Silverstone was advertised as a single 12V rail, but was in fact 4 separate.

    AT seems to be reinvigorated for some reason - kudu's to you, top notch work.

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