Price Guides, August 2005: Labor Day CPUsby Anand Lal Shimpi & Howard Johnston on September 4, 2005 4:27 PM EST
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As always, we like to start off our price guides with a little plug for our Real Time Price Engine; quite possibly the fastest growing price engine on the internet. A handy feature of the RTPE is the ability to compare several products using the OR function depicted by the pipe ("|") symbol. For example, if you wanted to compare the prices of an AMD Athlon 64 3800+ and the Intel Pentium 4 670 you would run the following search in the RTPE: "amd athlon 64 3800+ | intel pentium 4 670." We have more details in our forums.
You may also start to notice new graphs for RTPE and AnandTech. Unfortunately, GNUPlot wasn't cutting it anymore, so we switched to a .NET engine that also powers the rest of the graphs on AnandTech.
The processor scene has settled down a bit since our last price guide. Although we've started seeing the new Intel Celeron D lineup with EM64T enabled, we're still eagerly awaiting the Intel Pentium 4 662 and 672 with virtualization support. Check out our updated Intel Roadmap for the latest info on Intel's soon-to-be released processors. On the AMD side of things, we've seen the X2s sharply dropping in price since September making them a much better value since their introduction.
Dual Core Desktops
Prices on Intel's dual core desktop lineup haven't seen much action since our last processor guide in late July. Although the price of the Pentium D 820 (2.8GHz) [RTPE: BX80551PG2800FN] has shown a slight incline since our last guide, we still recommend it as this week's dual core choice. The sub-$250 price tag makes it a great value for multitaskers.
The rest of the dual core Intel processors have also show very little change over the past few weeks. Hopefully with the release of the 9xx series next quarter we'll see these prices drop.
We know AMD's dual core processors outperform Intel's offerings clock for clock, but they have thus far been too expensive to compete with Intel in terms of pricing (a sharp contrast when you think about the AthlonXP days where AMD held the price advantage). Since August we've seen AMD's entire line of X2 dual core products continue to drop in price steadily. The X2 3800+ [RTPE: ADA3800BVBOX] has proven to be a worthy match both price and performance wise to Intel's lineup. This week we also saw the Toledo version of the X2 3800+ [RTPE: ADA3800CDBOX] showing up on a few vendors' sites. The Toledo X2 3800+ is an interesting animal in the fact that it is actually carries 2x1MB L2 cache, but with half of that cache disabled. If you're looking for an AMD dual core option we would definitely recommend one of these offerings. Be sure to check out Anand's article on AMD's unofficial DDR480 memory support on the X2 processors to see how to squeeze a bit more performance out of your X2.
We still feel the lowest cost X2 offers the best bang for your buck. From our X2 3800+ review you can see that each speed grade in X2 processors continues to offer only a 3 to 4% difference in performance. A 3% performance doesn't justify a $100 price hike in our book.