Price/Performance Analysis: AMD increases pressure on Intel


Chicago (IL) - It is our final processor price/performance article before Christmas, and just because the big day is right around the corner, it doesn't mean we're going to skimp out on this week's installment. In fact, we've added AMD's 4x4 processors to our ranking. The FX-70 FX-72, and FX-74 pairs have been added, and you may be surprised how they affect AMD's overall position.

Before we jump into this week's price/performance analysis, let's do some house-cleaning first. Several readers have asked us how we calculate the performance index of processors. We gave a brief explanation of this in our original article, but will run it again here and add it as a permanent piece page of every price performance article in the future. Your feedback is highly appreciated, as it helps us tremendously to make this series more useful to every reader.

The relative performance index value is calculated by taking a relative sample of benchmark data recorded by Tom's Hardware. We have logged the benchmark data for the following categories for each of our processors - AVG Antivirus, Quake IV, Clone DVD, Lame MP3, PCMark 2005 CPU, and Windows Media Encoder. We then translate the numbers from each test to a relative scale based on the data for our baseline processor, the Pentium 4 520, and then compute an average of all five numbers to create one relative performance index level for each processor. Thus, a relative index of 1.9 is, on average, 1.9 times more powerful than the Pentium 4 520.

There is also a "relative price" column, which indicates how much a processor should cost, if cost increased with performance on a linear level. Traditionally more performance always meant substantially higher prices on a non-linear, but exponential level. As we are still experiencing the after-shocks of this-year's dramatic price drops, you'll see quite a number below the linear level, while the fastest processors and processors in constrained supply more the patterns we are used to.

Also, we still have not received data for the Intel E6300 processor. We expect those to come in sometime in January, so please bear with us a couple more weeks. Also, we do expect AMD's 65 nm processors, as well as the X2 5400+ and 5600+ versions (comparable to the FX-62) available as well as Intel's 2.4 GHz quad-core Q6600 in January.