Articles: CPU
 

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Pricing

And important aspect, which matters a lot not only when you are making a buying decision, but also when you are trying to evaluate the future potential of the CPU is the price. The processors we tested are officially priced from $200 to $1000 that is why I suggest that you check their price before we pass over to the benchmarks results. This will also help us to understand the positioning of Intel and AMD processors relative to each other.

Despite the fact that Pentium 4 Extreme Edition and Athlon 64 FX are similarly positioned by both companies as solutions for extreme gamers and hardware enthusiasts, who care most of all about performance, the pricing strategies applied to these processor families by both companies are completely different. Intel prices its Extreme Edition solutions around $1000, while AMD makes its Athlon 64 FX-51 only twice as expensive as the top Athlon 64 CPU. As a result, we simply cannot compare the prices of Pentium 4 Extreme Edition and Athlon 64 FX: Intel’s extreme processors are about $200-$250 more expensive.

As for the mainstream processor families, AMD and Intel appeared surprisingly unanimous: Athlon 64 3400+ costs the same as Pentium 4 3.4GHz. The same correspondence can be observed for 3200+ and 3000+ models as well. I would also like to draw your attention to one more very interesting fact: Pentium 4 processors on Northwood and Prescott cores working at the same clock frequencies cost the same amount of money, even though their architectures and features are very different.

As for AMD Athlon XP processor family, it goes right below the “youngest Athlon 64”. Although AMD promises to continue supporting Socket A processors for quite a long time, this processor family has evidently started moving towards low-end.

Testbed and Methods

We used the following equipment for our test systems:

  • CPUs:
    • AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 (2.2GHz);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (2.2GHz);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.0GHz);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (2.0GHz);
    • AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (2.2GHz);
    • AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (2.0GHz);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz (Northwood);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz (Northwood);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz (Northwood);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.2E GHz (Prescott);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.0E GHz (Prescott);
    • Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz.
    • Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.2GHz.
  • Mainboards:
    • ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe (Socket 478, i875P);
    • ASUS SK8V (Socket 940, VIA K8T800);
    • ABIT KV8-MAX3 (Socket 754, VIA K8T800);
    • ASUS A7N8X 2.0 (Socket A, NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400).
  • Memory:
    • 1024MB DDR400 SDRAM (Corsair CMX512-3200LLPRO, 2 x 512MB, 2-3-2-6);
    • 1024MB Registered DDR400 SDRAM (Mushkin High Performance ECC Registered 2 x 512MB, 2-3-2-6).
  • Graphics card: ASUS RADEON 9800XT (Catalyst 4.10).
  • Disk subsystem: 2 x Western Digital Raptor WD360GD in RAID 0 array.

Notes:

  • Since Intel is now experiencing some problems with the supplies of the new Prescott based processors with 3.4GHz core clock, we didn’t manage to get this processor for our test session. That is why we used Pentium 4 (Prescott) 3.2E GHz overclocked to 3.4GHz by increasing the bus frequency to 212MHz in order to obtain the performance numbers for the analysis. This way, all the results for Pentium 4 3.4E on the diagrams correspond to 16x212 work mode. The memory in this case worked at 424MHz, however, the timings were reduced to 2.5-3-3-7.
  • In all other cases the memory (unbuffered and registered) worked in the same mode with the timings set to 2-3-2-6.
  • We ran all tests in Windows XP SP1 with the installed DirectX 9.0b package.
 
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