The word is out on Intel Core2 Conroe processors. The price and model numbers have been set on the new Intel processors while the price on older Pentium D processors have been slashed. Even the dual core Pentium D 945 running at 3.4 GHz has been slashed to $163 on July 23rd which is cheaper than the slowest C2D E6300 at 1.86 GHz.It's noteworthy that the C2D E6600 2.4 GHz dual core Conroe which has a list price of $316 is able to beat the fastest AMD AM2-based FX-62 processor which costs around $1000. There have been rumors of large price drops on AMD processors but it will be interesting to see what AMD's response will be. In order for the fastest AMD desktop processor to compete on a price/performance ratio, it would have to be slashed by 70% which would be very hard for AMD to swallow. Since the announcement of the Core2 products at the Intel Developer Forum in March 2006, AMD has seen their stock price nearly halved.
The new Conroe processors will have a devastating effect on current inventory from AMD or Intel. It's kind of like a scorched earth tactic where Intel's own legacy "Netburst" inventory will suffer collateral damage in the war against AMD. Anyone who's buying computers right now should definitely hold off for 2 more weeks since there will be massive price drops on current AMD and Intel CPUs. A reader of mine asked me if he should be building the cheap dual core 4 GHz machine I blogged about two months ago and I told him to hold off on it. The good news is that no matter what you buy 2 weeks from now, it will be a lot cheaper or it will be a lot faster.
There's little doubt that even the cheap 2.4 GHz Conroe will deliver a lot of performance, but what I'm really curious to see is if will actually clock to 4 GHz. Even if it clocks to 3 GHz it will be a huge achievement and I'm going to be putting together a system based on this CPU by the end of this month. I've got plenty of personal 1080i HDV footage that I need to re-encode and shrink and the new dual core processors will come in handy. It's also going to be nice to dump my power hogging 3.45 (that's overclocked from 3.0) GHz Pentium 4 system that's eating up 250 watts in idle. The newer Conroe Dual Core CPUs take up 65 watts at peak power levels though that will undoubtedly go up when I overclock it but still be much lower than my current setup.