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The Competitor: Intel Pentium D Processor 840

AMD's Dual Core Athlon 64 X2 Strikes Hard
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Our look at Intel's dual core Pentium is now one month old. While our article was a detailed product preview only, Intel launched the Pentium Extreme Edition a few weeks after the sneak peak, together with the 955X platform. However, we have not done a review of the new Intel dream combo yet, as it is both unreasonably expensive and not really generally available. In addition, the changes from the 925XE to the 955X chipset are rather evolutionary (DDR2-667 and optional RAID 5 support). However, there will be a small 955X roundup shortly. Also, one should not forget that there is an appealing alternative called nForce4 Intel Edition .

The real dual core launch will be around the time of Computex later this month. While AMD states the X2 won't be shipping in decent quantities before late summer, Intel very likely could already provide lots of dual core Pentium D processors. Yet the chip giant has to be patient, until the motherboard makers are ready with their 945 boards.

Asus P5ND2-SLI, NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition

We tried to provide an ideal platform for both the AMD and the Intel processors, so the Socket 775 motherboard we chose was the Asus P5ND2. Using the nForce4 Intel Edition chipset was an almost obvious choice, since it is available and also has some slight performance advantage over the Intel core logic. This is due to NVIDIA's memory controller, which benefits from the firm's long experience in the 3D graphics business. In addition, the feature set of both nForce4 platforms obviously is very comparable.

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