While performance tests may raise some questions about the most optimal dual-core CPU choice in the ~$70 price range, then power consumption measurements and overclocking tests eliminate all doubts about the answer to this question. Sadly we have to admit that today’s AMD dual-core solutions cannot compete against Intel Pentium CPUs yielding to them from almost all standpoints, except, maybe, pure performance.
But even if we focus only on performance numbers and disregard everything else, the final verdict will hardly change. Athlon X2 7000 series processors yield quite a lot to competitors in many applications, and there are very few tasks where they are better than Pentium E5000. Therefore, there is only one way the today’s dual-core AMD solutions may be of interest to you: if you are looking to upgrade your old Socket AM2 platform. It seems totally unreasonable to assemble a new computer system based on Athlon X2, even if it is a new one of K10 (Stars) microarchitecture.
In other words, the answer to the question we raised in the beginning of our article is totally unambiguous: Intel currently offers better dual-core processors, even if they belong to the Pentium series that has discredited itself during the NetBurst microarchitecture era. Today’s Pentium processors have nothing in common with the old Pentium 4 or Pentium D CPUs, they are based on the same microarchitecture as Core 2 Duo but have an L2 cache of different size, different bus frequency and different clock speed. As a result, the contemporary Pentium series looks pretty attractive offering appealing combination of price, performance and power consumption levels. Besides, Pentium processors are an excellent field for overclocking experiments.
However, we wouldn’t stop our discussion of dual-core processors just yet. The thing is that in about two weeks we are going to welcome totally new dual-core AMD solutions that will be built on the latest cores manufactured with 45nm process. And these CPUs currently known as Callisto and Regor should be positioned as competitors to more expensive Intel solutions than Pentium. We hope that they do much better against their competitors. At least, we have every reason to believe this is going to be true: these upcoming processors will not just get new cores made with more advanced technological process, but will also work at higher clock speeds, feature more cache-memory and support DDR3 SDRAM.