Can AMD'S 65 nm Core Fight Back?

Conclusion: Nothing Has Changed

At this point, AMD's new 65 nm product is a simple die-shrink of an existing product with some minor modifications. Whether you run a 90 nm Windsor core or the 65 nm Brisbane newcomer only makes a difference on your energy bill: under load, the new processor is capable of reducing the power requirements of the overall system by up to 11%. This is a tremendous improvement given that the rest of the system remains unchanged, and the performance is very much the same as well.

However, performance isn't exactly the same. For some reason, AMD applied longer L2 cache latency settings, which does have an impact on synthetic benchmarks, and likely will have a minor impact on application benchmarks as well. However, this should not be a reason to step back from purchasing a system that utilizes the new processor. The difference in the real world will be negligible, especially if you are running 3D games or applications that do not only rely on huge CPU performance.

From an overclocking point of view, the new processor doesn't do better than the existing 90 nm products, offering an overclocking range of up to 3.0 GHz. We expect this to change as AMD tweaks and improves its manufacturing process, and we clearly anticipate that Athlon 64 X2 processors will be overclockable to at least 3.2 GHz in the near future. However, until you read or hear about that on the Internet, we recommend against going for the Brisbane for overclocking reasons.

Out conclusion is pretty clear: Core 2 Duo remains the better overall choice until AMD's new 65 nm process can finally show some muscle. At the same time, there is nothing that speaks against the Athlon 64 X2 65 nm chips for the average user. In fact, we consider the new processors the better AMD choice, due to their reduced power requirements, an improvement that also results in lower cooling requirements. Now, if only Brisbane processors only were available at retail...

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