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With Intel CPU prices so low, can AMD compete?

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June 6, 2008 4:17:50 AM

I noticed today that Microcenter.com has a retail boxed Pentium E2160 for $56 shipped (!!!), and that got me thinking: at what price point is an AMD CPU a better buy over an Intel CPU? It used to be that AMD was the way to go for a cheap dual core CPU, but now, I'm not so sure.
June 6, 2008 5:54:11 AM

Starting to look like Intel wants to kill off AMD in a hurry.
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June 6, 2008 6:15:57 AM

clearing room for new cpus?
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June 6, 2008 6:31:39 AM

Quite possible but its still got to hurt AMD
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June 6, 2008 6:51:52 AM

IIRC the X2s perform better than the E2160 at stock. That's pretty much where AMD wins, at stock. OCed and AMD dies.
June 6, 2008 6:57:15 AM

Randomizer, true but as Intel hits the 45nm crossover towards the end of the year both the 45nm and 65nm chips will become much cheaper.
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June 6, 2008 7:32:58 AM

Yea, once Nehalem mainstream chips launch Penryn will get pushed to a lower price point. What will AMD sell their top end chips for? $40?
June 6, 2008 8:22:07 AM

At that point AMD loses quite a bit of money per CPU sold.
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June 6, 2008 8:31:39 AM

AMD is going to have to start skimping on QA so they can get poorer silicon out on the market for the low-end. Stuff that runs fine at stock but isn't any good for overclocking. They need to do anything to increase yields, and they better do it fast, they don't have long. Perhaps an AMD/Nvidia/VIA alliance? Nvidia and Intel are at each other's throats right now and both AMD and VIA could do with a finanical parter for the extra resources. I think it could work, sorta.
June 6, 2008 8:53:36 AM

Generally AMD motherboards are cheaper so if you going for a platform price then you should count that in also.

TOP Intel motherboards reach $300+ while you can get a TOP AMD 790FX motherboard for about $150.

I think many people don't usually account this but they should.

Yes you can buy intel 2160 with a crappy MB but then you wont be able to OC so much and you will get inferior performance. Processor is not all ;) 
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June 6, 2008 8:56:49 AM

P35-DS3L + 3GHz E2160 = AMD fail.

You don't need a $300 mobo to OC.
June 6, 2008 9:10:36 AM

P35-DS3L + 3GHz E2160 = $170

MSI K9A2 CF-F 790X + 3.2GHz 4800X2 = $160

AMD system will be at least 10-20% faster (clock per clock AMD is faster than Aliendales)

Here AMD wins
June 6, 2008 9:12:04 AM

Rawsteel, nope Allendales are still based on the Conroe architecture just with reduced cache wich means 4 IPC while AMD has a 3 IPC giving the edge to the Allendale.

Also the E2160 isn't an Allendale either and the E2160 is a 1.6ghz chip if I remember correctly, my mother's E2200 is a 2ghz.

Edit: Spelling and yes I know its still bad...
June 6, 2008 9:14:17 AM

do you have benchmarks?
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June 6, 2008 9:16:40 AM

780G + Athlon X2 45W
Yup a great HTPC...
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June 6, 2008 9:20:27 AM

randomizer said:
Yea, once Nehalem mainstream chips launch Penryn will get pushed to a lower price point. What will AMD sell their top end chips for? $40?


Yes, its true that Nelalem will perform very well, but the die size is much bigger, meaning that Intel can't push prices are low (unless they have a separate line of stripped down ones...) Deneb is smaller but Propus, a Deneb without L3 cache should be smaller still in die size. Performance-wise however, we do not know (I mean like non-simulated) how much of a performance degradation we'll see...
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June 6, 2008 9:29:37 AM

EDIT: Took too long finding something for comparison, so this is actually in reply to rawsteel.

IMO, they would be close. Look at these benchmarks:



The X2 5000 at 2.86GHz is slower than the E2160 at 3.06GHz. If you extrapolate the results (increase the score for the 5000 and rename it to a 4800; slightly decrease the E2160 score), they would fall pretty much the same. Of course, it will be application dependent.
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June 6, 2008 9:34:17 AM

amdfangirl said:
Yes, its true that Nelalem will perform very well, but the die size is much bigger, meaning that Intel can't push prices are low (unless they have a separate line of stripped down ones...) Deneb is smaller but Propus, a Deneb without L3 cache should be smaller still in die size. Performance-wise however, we do not know (I mean like non-simulated) how much of a performance degradation we'll see...

Nehalem is not what will cut AMDs throat with low prices, it will be Penryn. Once Nehalem (mainstream) is released, Penryn will need a price drop to remain competitive with Nehalem.
June 6, 2008 9:37:27 AM

Randomizer is right. Also Intel will have lots of 45nm fabs to keep busy (or loss money on) when the 32nm Nehalems come so the Penryns will be around for a while.
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June 6, 2008 9:38:05 AM

randomizer said:
Nehalem is not what will cut AMDs throat with low prices, it will be Penryn. Once Nehalem (mainstream) is released, Penryn will need a price drop to remain competitive with Nehalem.


If my prediction's right then AMD's Propus should fall short of the Penryn... It will take at least Deneb to get some on-par performance going...
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June 6, 2008 9:39:29 AM

JDocs said:
Randomizer is right. Also Intel will have lots of 45nm fabs to keep busy (or loss money on) when the 32nm Nehalems come so the Penryns will be around for a while.


I suppose, but Intel at least has some sort of competition... I'd hate to see AMD die out...
June 6, 2008 4:42:58 PM

rawsteel said:
P35-DS3L + 3GHz E2160 = $170

MSI K9A2 CF-F 790X + 3.2GHz 4800X2 = $160

AMD system will be at least 10-20% faster (clock per clock AMD is faster than Aliendales)

Here AMD wins

I'm not sure where you got your numbers, but newegg has that DS3L for ~$98. Add The $56 for the Pentium e2160 from Microcenter.com, and I get $154. I'd say that's close enough to the X2 4800 to not matter at all really. Plus, for me, I'd be using that e1260 on a $30 open-box Biostar nvidia 7050 board I previously purchased, with a simple pin mod to 333fsb for a nice 3.0GHz. That would be just $86 total, although the single channel nvidia chipset probably takes at least a 10% performance hit compared to that DS3L board, it's just an example for how far you can overclock a low FSB Intel, even on a very cheap board. The Gigabyte P31 board would be a decent alternative to the DS3L, and it only costs ~$75. What I'm saying is, the "AMD boards are cheaper than Intel boards" mantra is not exactly true. The only great thing about an AMD board right now is the superb integrated graphics, which admittedly is important to some people.

Also, clock for clock, I think the Pentium e series is a bit faster. Usually, the 1.6 GHz e2140 matches up well with the X2 3600, with the 1.8 GHz e2160 competing with the X2 4000. At least that's what X-bit labs showed in their review. I also find the following review by Chinese website PCOnline to be a good review. As it shows the effect of L2 cache on CPU performance with clock scaling, using the e2160, e4300, and e6850, all running at 3.0 GHz, 333 fsb, and being compared to the AMD X2 3600, running at stock and at 3.0 GHz, 333 fsb (9x multiplier).

article:  fficial%26hs%3Djee" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=zh-CN&u=...
sample bench from said article:
June 6, 2008 10:41:20 PM

randomizer said:
IIRC the X2s perform better than the E2160 at stock. That's pretty much where AMD wins, at stock. OCed and AMD dies.


Of course the thing to remember here is that the vast majority of mainstream CPU's are installed in OEM systems that have no overclocking functions.
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June 6, 2008 10:54:32 PM

^True.

randomizer said:
P35-DS3L + 3GHz E2160 = AMD fail.

You don't need a $300 mobo to OC.

Agreed. Imo, AMDs only chance is to focus on one thing for the time being, either GPU or CPU, and once they get money from either one then they can spend it on R&D on either CPU or GPU or both. Also AMDs doing pretty well in the HTPC area, mostly due to the 780G and cheap Phenoms.

Btw, the max clock possible (with less than 1.5v) for the E21x0 CPUs are 3.25. If you get a E2180 you can hit 3.2Ghz.
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June 7, 2008 1:43:43 AM

Just_An_Engineer said:
Of course the thing to remember here is that the vast majority of mainstream CPU's are installed in OEM systems that have no overclocking functions.

And the vast majority of OEM systems are also Intel systems, so either way AMD has several knives in its wrists. They need to take more OEM market share, that's where they can be strong.
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June 7, 2008 1:53:57 AM

Still AMD does kinda dominate the low-end OEM systems from Hp, Dell and etc.
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June 7, 2008 1:56:08 AM

They need to take over the dual-core OEM market.
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June 7, 2008 2:42:45 AM

rawsteel said:
Generally AMD motherboards are cheaper so if you going for a platform price then you should count that in also.

TOP Intel motherboards reach $300+ while you can get a TOP AMD 790FX motherboard for about $150.

I think many people don't usually account this but they should.

Yes you can buy intel 2160 with a crappy MB but then you wont be able to OC so much and you will get inferior performance. Processor is not all ;) 


Um no. I have to agree with the rest. A P35 OC close to a X38 or even a X48 (X48 just supports the 1600FSB stock). And you don't need the highest end one.

Personally even with AMDs low prices the older technology will just get older and after a while the newer chips will have an advantage since they will have features the older chips don't.

Maybe AMDs refresh of K8 (I'll call it K8.5) will be good but the cost will not be as low since it will basically be a new chip in its ways.
June 7, 2008 3:15:50 AM

AMD is competing with Intel on OEM PCs as others said, AMD is trying to capture some of the mainstream gamer market as well. I would not say that AMD's current target market for CPUs is high end enthusiasts.

Bear in mind when you compare AMD to Intel that AMD is also a graphics card designer, and with 4000 series in developement/on the way you have to somewhat expect that their CPU end is going to slow down a touch until the 4000 was released (which it basically is)

AMD is not competing with Nehalem CPUs because there is no point in AMD even trying to compete with Nehalem CPUs because most consumers have no interest in a 1000$+ CPU at all, most consumers are interested in sub 1000$ PCs which is where AMD is trying to recapture market. Even though Intel is well ahead in most markets, AMD is starting to make a comeback for Sub-1000$ PCs and if they can continue to do so they will bring that end of their business out of the pit it is in.

How will they compete with cheap penryns? Well I would assume that they intend to work on a processor release between now and Nehalem and I think its reasonable to assume this will be developed targetting Penryns in mind; of course, unless they are totally retarded and blind to their own market which I somewhat doubt they are.

I own Intel and AMD and systems in my home, and I like both to be quite truthful; my main gaming PC is an Intel SLI NV system and my HTPC is an AMD Phenom, and for what I use both for i'm pretty happy. For that matter i've even gamed on the phenom with more than decent success really :x
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June 7, 2008 3:27:04 AM

^ I think AMD could come back by relying on Ati. They could combine in Fusion and use CUDA to finish off the Intels... Besides from what I hear Larrabee's not all that fabulous...
June 7, 2008 3:34:24 AM

Won't know until its out, but it'll likely cost a fortune like all Intel 1st gen tech does it seems.

I really, honestly love my Intel Box; its a baby i've been tweaking a lot; however, there is no way I would buy a QX9770 at the price its at. Buying a 1200$ processor really defeats the purpose of overclocking - getting more for your money.

I think after the 4000 is out, AMD really does need to get back on the ball with mainstream processors; meaning better tri cores and quads with a more intel centric design. Its really chill that AMD got a nice market on servers and workstations out of the phenom/opteron x4, but they gotta hit the mainstream gamers with a lot more love.
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June 7, 2008 3:41:05 AM

My brothers got a Skulltrial machine (with 2- 9800GX2) and my Athlon X2 (with 690G) just owned him
June 7, 2008 4:59:51 AM

amdfangirl said:
My brothers got a Skulltrial machine (with 2- 9800GX2) and my Athlon X2 (with 690G) just owned him


lol...Boom headshot!
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June 7, 2008 6:05:01 PM

amdfangirl said:
Still AMD does kinda dominate the low-end OEM systems from Hp, Dell and etc.

Question: Then why do we still see E21x00 CPUs on the builds when they could have put in X2s? I believe this is because Intel can actually give OEMs the amount of CPUs they want along with the lower price. Remember in 1000 units, the Intel CPUs usually become cheaper than AMD.
June 7, 2008 7:20:14 PM

Intel is a larger company than AMD.

I don't know, you really expect the opposite in this situation being: AMD focused on quality not quantity given that they are the smaller guy and thats how smaller guys survive generally in a competitive market. I don't think there approach is wrong, but I guess you would hope that AMD would have better offerings for the market they do target.

I wouldn't so far to say Phenoms are bad - I mean they are pretty nice in their price point, they really do have a lot going for them; but Intel is still the better mainstream gamer system by a good margin.. eh :S
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