Conroe puts Intel back on top

Summary:A $180 Core 2 Duo E6400 CPU can outperform an AMD Athlon FX-62 (which costs $1,059). Not only that, but it thrashes the Intel Extreme Edition 965 too. At that end of the Conroe scale, the performance differences are small (but not when you factor in the price), but take it to the other end of the scale, the Core 2 Extreme X6800 has everything eating it's dust.

A few weeks ago I blogged a couple of times about the Intel Conroe CPU, and how it seemed that this CPU was going to be At a stroke, every other desktop CPU is, from a performance perspective, now obsoleteable to beat anything that AMD currently had (and are likely to have for some time to come).  While some people believed the results of the independent tests at face value, others expressed doubt.  After all these tests were carried out on pre-production models, which could made the test unsound and unfair.  The tests were posted by forum members hiding behind fake names and avatars.  These chips might never come out.  The results could have been doctored.  Who knows what AMD might have by then ... there was a long list of doubts.

Well, now that the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) preventing disclosure of data on Conroe has come to an end, we can now see the results of more open testing (here's some more, thanks to AnandTech and this one on Tom's Hardware).  There's also a test of a pre-built system making use of the Conroe X6800 CPU - a monster system!

The verdict - A $180 Core 2 Duo E6400 CPU can outperform an AMD Athlon FX-62 (which costs $1,059).  Not only that, but it thrashes the Intel Extreme Edition 965 too.  At that end of the Conroe scale, the performance differences are small (but not when you factor in the price), but take it to the other end of the scale, the Core 2 Extreme X6800 has everything eating it's dust.

This is exciting for a number of reasons:

  • The era of powerful, cheap and low-power consumer CPUs is now here
  • At a stroke, every other desktop CPU is, from a performance perspective, now obsolete
  • AMD is no longer the king when it comes to gaming, a position where it has been traditionally very strong and this will see a huge market shift
  • Prices of other CPUs (both Intel and AMD) will come crashing down (in fact, I agree with George Ou when he says that AMD might have to slash the prices of the FX-62 by around 70% in order to be able to compete)

Everyone's a winner ... well, except for AMD.  Their stock price has nearly halved since Intel announced the Core2 line in March (although the previous highs do seem more like a blip), and things don't look like they are going to get better for some time to come.

Over the next couple of months I expect to see the number of AMD-based systems stocked by OEMs to shrink as a response to this.  Come the end of July, it's just not going to make any sense to buy an AMD-based desktop PC.  Between now and Conroe release, it doesn't make sense to buy anything, because, whether you're going to buy  AMD or Intel, prices are going to change dramatically over the next couple of weeks. 

Exciting times!

Topics: Processors

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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