Unfortunately, we have no information about the upcoming AMD’s pricing policy; therefore we cannot make any definite conclusions about the inexpensive dual-core processors from the price-to-performance stand point. However, there are a few things we are pretty certain of.
After the upcoming price drop and the launch of the new processor models, Core 2 Duo processors will finally be able to fit into relatively inexpensive computer systems. Since Core based processors used to sell for at least $200, they couldn’t enjoy vast popularity among budget and low-end mainstream users. However, this situation will very soon change. Especially, since their performance level will allow them to compete successfully against other inexpensive dual-core processors, such as AMD Athlon 64 X2 and Intel Pentium D.
There is the whole bunch of popular applications, such as office tasks, games, image editing and media content processing, where Core 2 Duo processors perform faster than Athlon 64 X2 from the same price range.
In this case, AMD will either have to put up with the loss of the mainstream price segment, or correct the price list accordingly. However, relatively high production cost of the 90nm dual-core processors on K8 micro-architecture as well as too slow adoption of the 65nm manufacturing process may hinder this correction.
The obtained results suggest that AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ should cost no more than $180, and Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and 4600+ - no more than $140, if they want to successfully compete with the new Intel CPUs. However, we doubt that a price cut like that will ever be possible.
However, inexpensive Core 2 Duo processors may face another problem on the way to the market: the absence of adequately priced feature-rich mainboards for them. Hopefully, the mainboard makers resolve this issue ASAP, or the effect from this great Intel offer will be completely ruined.
In conclusion I would like to say that Core 2 Duo processors have another very important advantage, which will be valued by hardware enthusiasts. All these CPUs feature pretty good overclocking potential. Even the slowest models can run at 3GHz speed with very little effort on the user’s part, which pushes their performance to the level of Core 2 Extreme and hence cannot be outpaced even by overclocked Athlon 64 X2 based platforms. This should definitely become another reason for the growing popularity of the Core 2 Duo family after the upcoming price reduction and the launch of the new CPUs.