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Price/Performance Update 14 Oct 2006

Intels' Core 2 Duo E6400 joins the Price/Performance Charts
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Once again, we've separated the price-performance graphs into two variations - one that includes the upcoming Core 2 Extreme QX6700 and one that doesn't. Because it is so much more powerful than the other processors, it skews the look of the graph. Also, since it has not yet been released, comparisons between it and other processors are somewhat artificial. But we remain certain that retail versions - if available at all this year - will hover around the $1200 range when the processor will be released.

In this graph, it's clear that the correlation of the AMD curve is not quite as strong as it was last week. As noted, the surprising jump in price for the X2 4400+ is the most obvious stray point. The other processors more or less fit the curve. The correlation is still 0.903, which indicates a very strong relationship between price and performance, but it is not quite as good as the uncanny, almost linear 0.965 correlation AMD showed last week.

However, that's all small potatoes compared to what we have with Intel. Even more so than last week, there is almost no underlying correlation between the processors' prices and performance levels. Last week, the correlation coefficient was about 0.50. This week, most substantially because of the addition of the overclocked E6400, the coefficient dropped to 0.34. There is not a single point that even touches the curve.

Our decision to include the overclocked versions in the chart contributes to this scenario, but there is no denying that buyers of Intel processors have to be more watchful what processors they are buying, if a price/performance rationale plays a part in the purchase decision.

There is one more point to be made, which can be seen from all the data we've shown, but it becomes especially evident in this graph. AMD had lost some of its advantage in the entry-level processor market. Last week, AMD's price-performance curve showed a better value per dollar for processors up to the relative performance value of a little over 1.6. However, now, it has dropped to 1.55. The single reason for this event is the addition of the E6400 processor to the chart, whose performance became available to us this week.

The outgoing Pentium D 805 still offers an outstanding value in terms of plain, overclockable performance, but users who are looking for a more power-efficient processor may find their new champion in the E6400 - and the possible the E6300, which we will add as soon as performance data becomes available.

Overall, the shift of the curve in favor of Intel is obvious and it is clear that AMD will need a higher performance processor rather sooner than later. Industry sources suggest that a 4x4 package, consisting of two FX dual-core processor, could hit the market later this month for a price of $800 to $900, which could bring down the green curve significantly, if the performance of the platform comes close to Intel's quad-core QX6700.