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AMD Phenom vs. Athlon Core Shootout

The initial comparisons between the new quad core Phenom and the Intel processors weren't favorable for AMD, as Phenom cannot compete with Intel's top of the line Core 2 offerings. Especially out of reach for AMD is the 45 nm Penryn generation, which was presented some weeks ago as the new Core 2 Extreme QX9770, and which will launch into the mainstream in January. Once again, Intel seems to be almost one manufacturing cycle ahead, as it is about to switch from 65 nm to 45 nm. Meanwhile, AMD is still struggling at 65 nm. Consequently, its strategy was adjusted to attack the mainstream.

Despite all the delays and Phenom's L3 TLD bug, there is nothing wrong with Barcelona from the standpoint of how it was designed. We found noticeable performance advantages in every benchmark, which proves that Phenom is indeed faster than the Athlon 64 X2. In order to get a true core to core comparison, we ran both an Athlon 64 X2 and the Phenom using only a single processing core. This way, we were able to find evidence for AMD's claims of 25% better performance on Phenom when compared to Athlon 64 X2. While the single core comparison didn't show that much of an increase, we should consider that you'll be using three more cores in productive environments.

Some of you may now point to the performance increase Intel was able to achieve when it went from the Pentium D to the Core 2 Duo. Compare Prices on Core 2 Duo Processors Looking at the performance gains and the performance per watt ratio, AMD certainly didn't make such a leap, but Phenom doesn't represent such a major generation change either. Let's hope that AMD can finally fix the remaining bugs with Phenom and get the manufacturing to a level that allows Phenom to run cool and quicker, and to enable the company to be profitable in its core business. Until then, there is no option but to leer at the upgrade market.

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