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8/31/2006
09:51 AM
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Dual-Core CPU Buyer's Guide

With Intel and AMD embroiled in a performance and price war, choosing a desktop processor can be tough. We'll make the decision easier with a guide to chip choices and specs, as well as pointers to some bargains.

Quick Reference: CPU Specs & Prices

Amid the slew of recent dual-core introductions as well as intense competition between AMD and Intel, prices for many processors are changing more frequently than in years past. Prices of older models -- both dual- and single-core -- are dropping. However, some of the newest Intel parts are in tight supply and command more than the manufacturer's list price.


Dual-Core Buyer's Guide


•  Introduction

•  Performance Dual-Core CPUs

•  Mainstream Dual-Core CPUs

•  Bargain Dual-Core CPUs

•  Single-Core CPUs

•  Quick Charts: Specs & Prices


Accordingly, the prices on this page are our subjective assessment, drawn from the vendor's list price and the street prices of the top online sellers, of what you're likely to pay for a processor in a single-quantity purchase as of September 1, 2006. These prices are subject to change and will likely drop over time.

We've also included the top specs on this page. You can find more detailed specifications for the companies' entire processor lineups on the AMD site and the Intel site, respectively.

Performance Dual-Cores | Mainstream Dual-Cores | Bargain Dual-Cores
High-End Single-Cores | Value-Priced Single-Cores


Notes:
1. Intel's and AMD's CPUs run at different clock speeds. This does not indicate faster or slower performance.

2. All of AMD's current processors are fabricated using 90-nm process technology. A 65-nm process is being readied at the company's new Dresden facility.




Performance Dual-Core CPUs

AMD Processors

     
Clock Speed
 
L2 Cache
 
Bus Speed
 
64-Bit
 
Socket
 
Price
 
  
Athlon 64 FX-62
   2.8 GHz    2 x 1MB    2000 MHz    yes    AM2*    $900   
  
Athlon 64 FX-60
   2.6 GHz    2 x 1MB    2000 MHz    yes    939    $600   
  
Athlon 64 X2 5200+
   2.6 GHz    2 x 1MB    2000 MHz    yes    AM2    N/A**   
  
Athlon 64 X2 5000+
   2.6 GHz    2 x 512KB    2000 MHz    yes    AM2    $325   

* The new AM2 socket enables support for AMD Virtualization Technology.

** The X2 5200+ is due in Q4 of 2006.


Intel Processors

     
Clock Speed
 
L2 Cache
 
Bus Speed
 
64-Bit
 
Intel VT*
 
Fab. Proc.**
 
Price
 
  
Core 2 Extreme X6800
  
2.93 GHz
  
4MB (shared)
  
1066 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $1,099   
  
Core 2 Duo E6700
  
2.66 GHz
  
4MB (shared)
  
1066 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $570   
  
Core 2 Duo E6600
  
2.40 GHz
  
4MB (shared)
  
1066 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $330   
  
Core 2 Duo E6400
  
2.13 GHz
  
2MB (shared)
  
1066 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $243   
  
Core 2 Duo E6300
  
1.86 GHz
  
2MB (shared)
  
1066 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $196   

* Intel Virtualization Technology support         ** Fabrication Process



Mainstream Dual-Core CPUs

AMD Processors

     
Clock Speed
 
L2 Cache
 
Bus Speed
 
64-Bit
 
Socket
 
Price
 
  
Athlon 64 X2 4600+
   2.4 GHz   
2 x 512KB
   2000 MHz    yes    AM2*    $256   
  
Athlon 64 X2 4200+
   2.6 GHz    2 x 1MB    2000 MHz    yes    AM2    $199   

* The new AM2 socket enables support for AMD Virtualization Technology.

Intel Processors

     
Clock Speed
 
L2 Cache
 
Bus Speed
 
64-Bit
 
Intel VT*
 
Fab. Proc.**
 
Price
 
  
Pentium Extreme Edition 965
  
3.73 GHz
  
2 x 2MB
  
1066 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $999   
  
Pentium Extreme Edition 955
  
3.46 GHz
  
2 x 2MB
  
1066 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $999   
  
Pentium D 960
  
3.60 GHz
  
2 x 2MB
  
800 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $327   
  
Pentium D 950
  
3.40 GHz
  
2 x 2MB
  
800 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $224   
  
Pentium D 945
  
3.40 GHz
  
2 x 2MB
  
800 MHz
   yes    no    65 nm    $179   
  
Pentium D 920
  
2.80 GHz
  
2 x 2MB
  
800 MHz
   yes    yes    65 nm    $178   
  
Pentium D 915
  
2.80 GHz
  
2 x 2MB
  
800 MHz
   yes    no    65 nm    $146   

* Intel Virtualization Technology support         ** Fabrication Process



Bargain Dual-Core CPUs

AMD Processors

     
Clock Speed
 
L2 Cache
 
Bus Speed
 
64-Bit
 
Socket
 
Price
 
  
Athlon 64 X2 3800+
   2.0 GHz    2 x 512KB    2000 MHz    yes   
AM2* and 939
   $162   

* The AM2 socket enables support for AMD Virtualization Technology.

Intel Processors

     
Clock Speed
 
L2 Cache
 
Bus Speed
 
64-Bit
 
Intel VT*
 
Fab. Proc.**
 
Price
 
  
Pentium D 820
  
2.80 GHz
  
2 x 1MB
  
800 MHz
   yes    no    90 nm    $120   
  
Pentium D 805
  
2.66 GHz
  
2 x 1MB
  
533 MHz
   yes    no    90 nm    $93   

* Intel Virtualization Technology support         ** Fabrication Process

(Specs & Prices, continued)

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