The launch of dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 and Intel Pentium D/Intel Pentium Extreme Edition processors gave way to endless debates on numerous web-sites and hardware forums. Although these CPUs are not available in retail yet, the violent discussions of the performance highs and lows of the new dual-core AMD and Intel processors keep going on. Actually, it is evident already that AMD dual-core architecture turned out more successful from the performance point of view.
Due to the fact that the top AMD Athlon 64 X2 processors work at the same core clock frequency as the top Athlon 64 CPUs, they prove quite efficient even in single-threaded environments. And in multi-threaded applications they are simply beyond any competition. The competitor from Intel, the Pentium Extreme Edition working at 3.2GHz core clock yields to AMD Athlon 64 X2 in both cases.
It looks like this verdict should have wound up the competition matter between dual-core processor solutions from different manufacturers. However, in our comparison of the top processor models in both dual-core families from Intel and AMD we didn’t take into account one more very important factor: the price.
Actually, you can notice a few pretty interesting things when you compare the price of AMD Athlon 64 X2 processors with that of the youngest Pentium D models:
Athlon 64 X2 4800+
Pentium Extreme Edition 840
Athlon 64 X2 4600+
Athlon 64 X2 4400+
Athlon 64 X2 4200+
Pentium D 840
Pentium D 830
Pentium D 820
As we see, AMD and Intel position their dual-core processor absolutely differently, so that the direct side by side comparison is only fair for the top models of the processor families. AMD Athlon 64 X2 processors extend the single-core Athlon 64 processor family from the top. In other words, dual-core processors from AMD occupy the niche above the single-core ones (we do not take into consideration the exclusive Athlon 64 FX here). Intel, on the contrary, “dilutes” the single-core processor line-up with the dual-core ones. It means that today Intel is offering users the choice between single-core and dual-core solutions. They are offered at about the same price. Therefore, although Athlon 64 X2 processors are very attractive, they are still targeted for pretty wealthy users. Those guys who work in multi-threaded applications a lot but do not want to spend tons of money on the new processors are most likely to go for Pentium D. No other way.
These particular suppositions pushed us to return to dual-core processors discussion again and to take a closer look at the performance of the youngest Pentium D CPU models relative to the solutions offered at the same price point. So, today we would like to particularly dwell on the features and performance of the new Pentium D 820 processor compared against its direct competitors: Pentium 4 and Athlon 64 offered in the same price range.
Note that in our today’s article we will not speak about the peculiarities of the dual-core architectures from AMD and Intel. If you want to learn more about them you can always check our previous articles called:
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Dual-Core Processor Review
- Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 Dual-Core CPU Review