Oct 10, 2005

Affordable Dual-Core

AMD comes out ahead in our first lab tests of mainstream dual-core systems. Plus: Hands-on with the new 64-bit Celeron and Sempron chips.

Source: PC World
Written By Kirk Steers

Have you been lusting after a dual-core processor but are unwilling to pay the premium price? Your wait may be over. New dual-core CPUs from AMD and Intel are showing up in desktop systems priced around $1500, within the budget of mainstream computer users. Our first tests of such systems indicate that dual-core chips provide good value.

If you wanted to own one of the first dual-core systems to hit the market, you had to pay the typical cutting-edge premium: Intel’s first dual-core chip, the 3.2-GHz Pentium Extreme Edition 840, initially sold for $1100. Now the company’s cheapest dual-core processor, the 2.8-GHz Pentium D 820, is about $250 online.

When AMD launched its dual-core chips in August, it also targeted the high end, with its 2.4-GHz Athlon 64 X2 4800+ processor. That chip still sells for almost $900. Now AMD is offering several more-affordable dual-core chips, including the Athlon 64 X2 3800+, which currently goes for as little as $359 online.

To rate the performance of affordable dual-core CPUs, we ordered two nearly identical computers from HP and ran them both through PC World’s WorldBench 5 applications benchmark, as well as through our desktop graphics tests.

On our WorldBench 5 test, the AMD-based Pavilion outperformed the Intel-equipped system by 10 percent, with a score of 100 to the other’s 91.

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