The first impressions left by the new Core 2 Duo processors from Intel that arrived to replace not the best Pentium 4/Pentium D processor families turned out to be highly positive. Since the Intel processors with Core microarchitecture have been officially launched already, we had a lot of opportunities to check out their strengths and attractive features. Core 2 Duo CPUs demonstrated unprecedented performance, relatively low heat dissipation and excellent overclocking potential. Everything indicated that a new favorite appeared in the processor market. It is true, all objective data proves that Athlon 64/Athlon 64 X2 processors that used to offer the best combination of consumer-friendly features cannot be a serious competitor to the new Intel CPUs on Core microarchitecture anymore. However, the actual situation is not quite like that.
AMD doesn’t really feel defeated at all. On the contrary, the company is revising its strategy so that its CPUs didn’t lose any of their attractive features against the competitor’s background, but gained some new ones instead. Thus, AMD Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2 processors retained their attractiveness for the customers thanks to the significant price reduction that touched upon all AMD processor line-ups and took place together with the Intel Core 2 Duo launch. Although they cannot be positioned as solutions for the high-end computer systems any more, they still remain a great choice for mainstream platforms, which we have already discussed in our article called Contemporary Dual-Core Desktop Processors Shootout.
However, AMD processors have suddenly acquired one pretty serious drawback against the background of Intel’s new CPUs. AMD Athlon 64/Athlon 64 X2 used to be the most economical solutions compared with CPUs on NetBurst architecture. Now that Core 2 Duo appeared, AMD processors turned out pretty power-hungry all of a sudden. Of course, all the obvious consequences followed: such as the need for noisy, technologically complex and expensive cooling solutions and high-capacity power supply units.
However, we should give due credit to AMD: their engineers managed to save the situation. Namely, they will very soon move the special niche economical processor models with the 65W and 35W heat dissipation into the fully-fledged mass market. Although AMD’s Energy Efficient processors are still not available in retail, we were lucky to get a few samples for our tests, and today we are going to tell you we can find out about them. Hopefully, Athlon 64 X2 processors with lower heat dissipation level will be able to successfully compete with the youngest Core 2 Duo models not only from the price-to-performance prospective, but also from the today’s popular “performance-per-watt” prospective.