What CPU to Pick?
Some users base their decision on the processor performance in specific applications. Some care more about their power consumption and heat dissipation levels. However, most PC users working in diverse applications look at the average performance numbers. Therefore we calculated this number for all our testing participants as the arithmetic average of the normalized CPU performance in all tests. This average value is given on the diagram below:
Note that since the processor performance is related to AMD K8 and Intel Core micro-architectures in pretty much the same way in different applications, the integral average performance value represents their speed in most applications fairly well.
Actually, we can estimate if the official pricing of the today’s acute dual-core processors is justified or not basing on this graph.
We can make a few conclusions right away by just comparing the two diagrams. But for the sake of even more illustrative picture, we would like to offer you one more chart showing both: processor pricing and their average performance index.
You can see right away that AMD processors are currently overpriced. Intel processors offer better performance at a lower price. And it works for any price segment. However, the worst happens to top Athlon 64 X2 CPUs. After the launch of the new Core 2 Duo E8000 processors with the prices starting at $163, AMD can simply forget about this part of the processor market. Athlon 64 X2 6400+ and 6000+ can only compete against Core 2 Duo E4000 family, which will very soon welcome a new member with E4700 rating.
As for the different Intel CPUs, Core 2 Duo E8200 and E8400 seem to be the most attractive choices from the price-to-performance prospective. These are the today’s best buys, if you can find them at the price close to Intel’s official one (unfortunately, it is hardly possible until the market gets saturated with 45nm solutions). The top Wolfdale model, Core 2 Duo E8500, is a little overpriced – the price you have to pay for unprecedentedly high clock frequency of this solution.
We also suggest checking out similar price-to-performance charts we put together for different types of applications.
Some dual-core AMD processors look quite competitive against Intel solutions in gaming tasks. For example, the lower part of Athlon 64 X2 family can boast the same price-to-performance ratio as Pentium E2000 series. The price of Athlon 64 X2 5600+ is also absolutely justified as it works faster than Core 2 Duo E4600 on average. So, despite the changes in the market, some AMD solutions can still be recommended for inexpensive gaming systems. Although we have to admit that this situation is pretty unstable, because this is the only type of applications where the price of Athlon 64 X2 CPUs can be justified. Most Intel solutions working at about the same level in games prove faster in all other applications, which makes them more attractive than the competitors.
Video and audio content encoding and processing are hardly suitable for AMD CPUs. These processors are very slow in applications of this type and cannot justify their price at all.
Those systems that mostly work with 3D modeling tasks will also benefit more from Intel processors. At least in the dual-core segment.