AMD really will drop Athlon 64 prices to compete with Intel Core 2 Duo

Sunnyvale (CA) - A spokesperson for AMD confirmed to TG Daily that customers should expect AMD to announce a substantial price drop in its highest performance desktop processors, including Athlon 64 X2. The price drop should be announced at or about the time that Intel announces the release of its next-generation Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors - an announcement which is now expected before the end of the month.

AMD spokesperson Damon Muzny confirmed that a story TG Daily ran late Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning, stating AMD planned to drop Athlon 64 X2 prices to compete, was indeed accurate.

This move will come in the wake of claims of vastly improved performance which Tom's Hardware Guide confirmed - or perhaps more accurately, vindicated with room to spare - in a complete battery of tests for both applications and gaming, pitting Intel's soon-to-be-announced top-of-the-line Core 2 Extreme at 3.2 GHz, against AMD's current top-of-the-line Athlon 64 FX-62 at 2.8 GHz. In one framerate production test, a system with an overclocked Core 2 Extreme (similar to what Dell will feature in its upcoming revised XPS 700) demonstrated 84% better performance than a similarly equipped system with its AMD counterpart.

Despite these numbers which would restore Intel to the throne of performance leader - at least for this month - AMD's Muzny repeated his comment that "we intend to maintain our price/performance leadership" after Intel's launch of Core 2 Duo. As a result, AMD will reduce prices in order that performance-per-dollar metrics will remain competitive with, if not outperform, Intel's. "Intel's been very open," Muzny admitted, in letting the press - including TG Daily and Tom's Hardware Guide - preview the performance figures for Conroe architecture, implying that much of what Intel has been touting to date appears to be correct. There's an application performance level that customers are looking for, he said, and AMD wants to continue to be associated with that level.

"The equation is," Muzny stated, "what is it you're getting for your dollar? We've established a leadership position, and we're just not willing to let that go."

How much of a price drop we should expect to see, Muzny would not comment, though it appears that figure may not yet be determined. He did characterize his company's planned move as "aggressive," apparently with the aim of presenting a performance-per-dollar figure that meets or exceeds the same metric applied to Conroe.

This measure will keep AMD on a competitive pace with Intel, we were told, until that company can bring its 65 nm foundries fully online. Muzny confirmed this price drop will apply to performance desktop CPUs only, not to AMD's Opteron or Turion lines or to the company's Sempron value line.

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