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AMD's and Intel's End-of-Year CPU Buyer's Guide

Price-performance Analysis

To arrive at a useful price-performance value we included the costs of a suitable platform in the calculation. We assumed the following costs:

AthlonXPAthlon64Athlon64 FXPentium 4Pentium 4 Extreme Ed.
Cost for motherboard and 512 MB memory$200$250$350$200$350

Game Index

Based on our analysis (images per second per US dollar), it's abundantly clear that fast processors cost disproportionately more than the added performance they offer. The index is made up of the cumulative frame rates of our benchmark results playing Wolfenstein Enemy Territory, Unreal Tournament 2003 and Warcraft III that we then divided by the processor price.

Multimedia Workload

The multimedia workload is made up of the test results of the MainConcept (MPEG-2 encoding), XMPEG/Divx (MPEG-4 encoding), Lame (MP3 encoding) and WinRAR (data compression) benchmarks. For each CPU we consolidated all time units required and the time savings based on an AthlonXP 2600+ using the faster/overclocked models.