Recently we have begun to publish a series of reviews with the results of a comprehensive test of modern CPUs we did in our test labs. Right now you can read two articles on that topic:
Thus, we have already covered all desktop processors from both AMD and Intel that are officially priced at below $200. It’s time to move on further now, to more expensive and faster products. As we noted in our earlier articles, $200 is the threshold after which the performance of CPUs does not grow up at the same rate as their price. Therefore we don’t think that choosing expensive CPUs for general-purpose desktop computers is a rational solution. If you seek higher overall performance, your investments into the graphics subsystem or, for example, into SSDs are going to be far more effective.
Well, of course we don’t mean that purchasing top-end CPUs is a sheer waste of money. There are situations and scenarios when high processing power is called for and quickly returns the investment into it. It is when the computer is used for computations-heavy applications. Home users and amateurs often dabble in video processing such as simple transcoding, nonlinear video editing or application of visual effects. Various 3D modeling suites and audio editing/mastering systems may also need high processing power. Gamers may also be interested in top-end processors, especially if they have premium-class graphics solutions and strive for the highest image quality possible. Thus, expensive CPUs are not a luxury but a demanded class of products, even though not as popular and demanded as entry-level and mainstream CPUs.
It must be noted that the top-end CPU market is structured differently than the low-end and midrange segments. The main difference is that there are almost no offerings from AMD here. AMD had to leave the top-end market sector not through the company’s own volition. While Intel’s engineers have been constantly improving their microarchitecture for the last few years, AMD has largely limited itself to polishing off its manufacturing process. As a result, AMD is now unable to offer a serious alternative to Intel’s top-of-the-line CPUs.
Thus, this article will largely be concerned with Intel’s solutions, especially as Intel has spent a lot of effort to develop its high-performance products and even offers a special platform for them.
But let’s be systematic and start out with those AMD models that manage to be objectively priced above the $200 mark.