AMD's Athlon64 X2 trumps Intel's Pentium D

Westlake Village (CA) - The first review of AMD's dual-core desktop processor Athlon64 X2 is in. Test results show a solid performance lead of the AMD chip over Intel's dual-core Pentium D.

A few weeks ahead of the official launch of the AMD's and Intel's desktop-dual-core chips, users are getting a better idea how the chip strategies of the two companies unfold and which benefits and performance the first dual-cores will offer. While both processors will bring substantial improvements, especially for multimedia applications and multitasking, a first in-depth of Tom's Hardware Guide concludes that the Athlon64 X2 will hold the performance crown.

In a head-to-head comparison , the X2 chip dominated 20 out of 25 benchmark tests, evaluating both multitasking and pure performance disciplines. In contrast to the Pentium D, the X2 is also not slower than its single-core counterpart in most applications. The chip scales all the way to a clock speed of 2.4 GHz, the maximum value also offered by the currently fastest Athlon64 - leaving the FX part out of the picture. Power constraints forced Intel to limit the clock speed of the Pentium D at 3.2 GHz, while the fastest Pentium 4 is offered at up to 3.8 GHz. As a result, the Intel dual core chips will be somewhat slower under single-threaded environments in the near term.

The review also examined the power consumption of the chips which revealed a more efficient AMD architecture. While the complete Intel system consumed more than 350 watts, the AMD platform topped out at a more acceptable 235 watts.

Of course these two chips are debut processors and Intel may catch up with AMD's advantage in the coming months. Presler, which will carry the 900-series product name, will transition the dual-core to 65 nm early in 2006 and will bring visible improvements in power consumption. A completely new architecture is scheduled to be introduced for the end of 2006: Conroe will move away from the NetBurst architecture introduced back in 2000 and is expected to use take ideas from the Centrino platform to reduce power consumption.

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Intel preps second generation dual-core: Pentium D 900 series