Price/Performance Charts: U.S. retail still waiting for effect of AMD price cut


Chicago (IL) - As we are heading into the Christmas season, AMD this week adjusted the prices of some of its processors. So far, most of the price cuts have not made it into etail/retail and some of the processors impacted even increased their prices this week. Get the update in our Intel and AMD processor price/performance analysis.

In this latest installment of this price/performance comparison series, we adopted some suggestions from our readers. Most importantly, we split up the charts to include data that incorporates overclocked processors to the price-performance curve, as well as charts that only take into consideration the regular speed of the processors. This gives the price/performance relationship for both people who want to see included the highest possible bang for their buck on overclocked processors, as well as for the general user who is interested in just at the standard numbers and want a more universal correlation between price and performance.

Additionally, some readers requested that we add the Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 to our chart. To give a more exact set of data for processor price vs. performance, we agree that the E6300 should be included, but as of now, we do not have access to relevant Tom's hardware benchmark data that compares exactly with all other benchmark numbers. We are working with Tom's Hardware's engineers to get these data, and as soon as we do, we will be sure to add it to these weekly updates.

Since these charts are meant to help you decide which processor provides the most value for your specific needs, we invite you to keep the feedback coming and let us know how we can continue to improve these charts to make them more useful and easier to read. If you have a suggestion or just want us to take a look at something in particular, feel free to e-mail us by clicking the author's name at the beginning of this article. We read every email and try to answer as many as we can.

Let's move on to this week's numbers:

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On the Intel side, the prices of about half of the processors had little to no change (less than $10 from last week). However, fluctuations of the remaining CPUs were substantial. Most noticeable is the Pentium D 820, which dropped 27% from $141 down to $103, thanks to an official Intel price cut this week. The Pentium D 830 followed suit, without an official cut, accounting for the biggest dollar decrease. The average price dropped $54 from $333 to $279, a margin of 16%.

The Pentium D 930 and 840 also saw noteworthy decreases, falling in price on an average of 20% and 6% from last week, respectively. Average price increases were not very prevalent for Intel this week, though the Pentium D 960 and 950 each went up 9%. In the case of the 960, this meant a rise from $320 to $349. The 950 jumped from $236 to $257.

On the very high-end, the latest-generation dual-core Extreme Edition saw a slight increase in price, but remained below the $1000 mark: The EX6800 went up $21 from $921 to $942, a 2% increase. A closer look to the availability at retailer sites revealed that demand for the processor is apparently increasing just ahead of the introduction of the quad-core Extreme version (QX6700), which is slated for a mid-November release. We remain quite confident that demand for QX6700 will push the chip's tray price of $999 well beyond the $1000 mark. Expect the chip to surface on etailer's websites in the $1200 and higher range.

On the AMD side, changes were just as bipolar. The 4800+, 4200+, and 3800+ saw virtually no change in price this week. The rest of the field shifted at least $34, led by the 4600+, which dropped $57 from $302 to $245, or 19%. An 11% price decrease also hit the 5000+. The other major changes came in the form of price increases.

The 4400+ jumped nearly 20%, from $234 to $276. It's interesting to see this reversal in price between the 4400+ and 4600+ this week. Close to each other in terms of performance, the two processors were $68 apart last week, with the 4600+ at $302 and the 4400+ at $234. However, this week, with the dramatic price swings, only $31 separates them. In terms of average pricing, the 4400+ became the more expensive chip this week. The surrounding processors, in terms of performance, were the ones that showed little change. The more powerful 4800+ dropped just 4%, and the two less powerful ones had almost no change at all.

On the high-end, AMD announced a new round of price cuts, which, however, have not yet trickled down into retail. The FX-62 tray price was cut by 13.8%, but the retail price went up by $40 to $727. The FX-62 is now nearly twice as expensive as the 5000+, even though its relative performance index is only 9% higher. The price gap between the two increased by 31% this week.