Rapid drop of dual-core processor prices that took place in April led to the minimum prices of $70-$80 for a piece. For about a month already this is the price you have to pay either for the youngest AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPU or for Intel Pentium D working at 3.0-3.2GHz. As a result, processors with two computational cores turned into a pretty good solution not only for high-performance and mainstream systems but also for budget computers. Economical users have already realized that and are shopping for inexpensive dual-core CPUs thus increasing the sales of these particular processor models.
AMD should have been extremely happy about it as their budget processors have so far offered the best price-to-performance ratio. In the upper and mainstream price ranges, AMD is not doing too good, because Intel’s competing offers based on progressive Core micro-architecture defeat Athlon 64 X2 just like that. However, in the lower price segment Intel has so far been offering only old Pentium D processors on NetBurst micro-architecture that yielded to dual-core AMD solutions. This situation helped AMD to avoid dramatic drop in their sales volumes, which would have been very unwelcome until K10 processors came out.
In the meanwhile, Intel continues to expand their product range on Core micro-architecture. And this expansion is very actively moving to the “bottom” of the market, towards inexpensive solutions. Core 2 Duo E4000 processors supporting 800MHz bus and based on Allendale core with L2 cache cut down to 2MB started selling just recently. Any day now they should also start offering single-core Celeron 400 with Conroe-L core that will replace Celeron D processor family.
The Pentium D processors are also destined to soon leave the stage for good, they will be eventually replaced with CPUs on Core micro-architecture. However, Intel is intending to replace Pentium D processors not with the new low-cost Core 2 Duo CPUs, but with a special dual-core processor series that will be selling under the same brand name but will have new ratings and progressive micro-architecture. In other words, Pentium D will be replaced with Pentium E2000 that strangely enough have nothing to do with the older CPUs bearing the same name.
We can continue arguing about the need to keep the old name for the CPUs with new micro-architecture, but Intel’s logic in this matter is fairly simple. Pentium trademark is very well recognized by those users who are not following the new product launches and new technology announcements very closely. These users usually address their PC as a consumer electronics product, and do not really hunt for highest performance. This is exactly the type of user that Intel marketing specialists are going to offer their new processor family under the old name. As for us, we don’t really care. If you are reading this article, it means you will not get confused with the old Pentium name on the new processors.
Well, the new Pentium CPUs are being delivered to distributors as we speak, so it is high time we took a closer look at them. Especially, since a new dual-core Pentium E2000 processor family on Core micro-architecture should threaten the position of the youngest AMD Athlon 64 X2 models. In other words, it should cause certain disposition changes in the processor market that we cannot disregard.
In our today’s article we are going to discuss the peculiarities of new Intel solutions and see how their performance corresponds to their price, so that we could conclude what sub-$100 processors are going to be proclaimed the today’s best buy for the buck.