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AMD Hardware

AMD One-Ups Intel With Cheap Desktop Chips 362

Posted by samzenpus
from the price-war dept.
CWmike writes "Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday announced inexpensive desktop microprocessors with up to six cores to put pricing pressure on rival Intel. AMD's new chips include the fastest AMD Phenom II X6 1075T six-core processor, which is priced 'under $250' for 1,000 units, AMD said. AMD also introduced a range of dual-core and quad-core Athlon II and Phenom II desktop microprocessors priced between $76 and $185. By comparison, Intel's cheapest six-core processor is the Core i7-970 processor, which is priced at $885 per 1,000 units, according to a price list on Intel's website."
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AMD One-Ups Intel With Cheap Desktop Chips

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  • by mykos (1627575) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:35AM (#33672602)
  • nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:43AM (#33672626)
    This is really nothing new. Everyone can say AMD is worse than intel all day until you actually look at the prices. I've put together computer quotes for people and I can't even put in a wolfdate core2 for remoately close to a 3.0GHz AM3 Regor which is around $62! And for an i3 board and processor together, it's over double an AMD board and processor even with a Phenom in it instead. I mean if you want something so fast that AMD doesn't even make it, only Intel does, go for it otherwise there's a darn good reason why AMD has been "losing" and isn't out of business yet. Their chips are better speed for the price in most cases!
  • Budget (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:44AM (#33672634)

    I like AMD because their processors are usually fast enough for me and are usually much cheaper than the processors that Intel sells. I really can't afford to pay nearly as much for the processor as I do every other part for the computer combined, so I go with AMD.

  • Re:nothing new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:48AM (#33672654)

    I mean if you want something so fast that AMD doesn't even make it, only Intel does, go for it otherwise there's a darn good reason why AMD has been "losing" and isn't out of business yet. Their chips are better speed for the price in most cases!

    Haven't AMD's recent profits come from a) ATI and b) Intel?

    Their chips are lower priced for the same speed because that's the only way they can sell them. If AMD could make faster CPUs than Intel's, they'd be charging $1000+ as well.

    Obviously that's good for us, because you can get a decent AMD system for less than Intel at the same performance level, but their low prices certainly aren't keeping them in business... I'm pretty sure that everyone at AMD wishes they could be selling their chips for twice as much.

  • by tacarat (696339) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:52AM (#33672668) Journal
    When selling to a non-tech person, though, such things make little difference. Most aren't savvy enough to know the difference and mostly look at the number of cores and speeds as final arbiters on performance. It's like explaining that while a motorcycle engine may have higher RPMs, a truck has more torque and can move big loads better. Hell, that's the simplest analogy I know for modern chip comparisons and it still goes over some people's heads.

    Then, of course, is the SUV-that-never-goes-offroad-computing crowd that throw down big bucks so they can have 3D accelerated, multicore/non-multithreaded MS Spider Solitaire. God bless them.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:57AM (#33672680)

    Is that AMD's 6 core chip only competes against Intel's 4 core ship speed wise, and then only for apps that can use all 6 cores.

    Currently Intel just has an untouchable performance advantage. Now, we'll have to see what the future holds. Both companies have new architectures coming soon. Intel's Sandy Bridge is in final production and slated to launch beginning of 2011, though only in the mainstream market at that time (the high end will come later in the year). AMD has a new architecture called Bulldozer that is supposed to come out in 2011 though they haven't been more specific as to when.

    However as of right now, the Core i series kills anything AMD has. Their 6 core CPUs can only keep up with Intel's quads, and then not even the high end. They have nothing that touches Intel's 6 core line.

    As such their prices are lower for any given part. They are a more budget solution, not a performance one.

  • by Lueseiseki (1189513) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:05AM (#33672692)
    Yeah, because you should take aggregate data from three whole samples seriously.
  • Re:cache difference (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:08AM (#33672700) Homepage

    The cache difference would not explain the price (or the transistor difference, 1.1bil vs 0.9bil), since we are talking about 3x+ the price. It is just that Intel enjoys a speed advantage so AMD has to pit its hexa-cores against Intel's quad-cores. And because, as it has always been, Intel is the more "recognized" brand, AMD makes sure that it gives you more performance for the price.
    It has been the same deal since my first ever PC: I could get, for about the same price, either an intel 486@66 or an AMD 486@100. My next was an AMD-K6 @ 233 which cost as much as the Pentium MMX 200 (yeah, the K6 lagged behind a PII, but it was no match for the Pentium MMX). Then I went with some Athlons, you remember how those did vs P3 at first, and then, even easier against P4. I am not a fanboy, but on a budget so I did get a Core 2 E8400 at some point because that was the only time I was buying a PC and AMD did not have a performance advantage at my desired price point. Now I am mainly on a Phenom II X4.
    But I digress, the point is that the Intel CPU's have traditionally been priced based on how much they can go for, not how much they cost. So right now they can get away with things like $1000 CPU's. If it wasn't for AMD, it would be like the 90's where they had mainstream cpu's at $1000, not just high end ones.

  • by haruchai (17472) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:17AM (#33672726)

    I love AMD ( and buy them ) as they are good enough for what I do and have really been the ones driving x86 innovation for the last 10 years. They've made Intel a better Intel by forcing them to keep up and cutting cost. Things would be even better for the consumer if AMD were closer to Intel in fabrication prowess - Andy Grove's company isn't called
    Chipzilla for nothing

  • by seifried (12921) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:37AM (#33672780) Homepage

    They have nothing that touches Intel's 6 core line.

    I'm pretty sure the AMD 12 core CPUs will "touch" Intel's 6 core CPUs quite nicely (locally they are both about $1200 retail from the store).

  • by kestasjk (933987) * on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:57AM (#33672866) Homepage
    I wonder what the $/performance ratio looks like, rather than $/core...
  • Re:Technology (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vectormatic (1759674) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:59AM (#33672878)

    ah right, when you said AM2 chip i assumed non-am2+, rulling out any phenom I/II based thing. enjoy that 940, it is a killer chip (my gf has one, i get by with my x2 7750)

    and yeah, bulldozer wont be a leap like pentium>pentium pro, but it might take multi-core in an interesting direction

  • Re:cache difference (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eskarel (565631) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:09AM (#33672922)

    AMD might try to give you more performance for the price now, and when they started they certain did, but remember that AMD are in the boat they are now largely because they used the advantage they gained from Intel's Itanium blunder to sell $400 mid range chips. Intel won their market back because AMD got greedy and Intel under cut them by about 50% with faster chips.

    AMD have no high end, with no high end they cannot survive because today's high end is tomorrow's mid range. You need to be tooling up that process 6 - 12 months in advance to compete. As much as I love AMD(I bought AMD for years, until my most recent PC), they're done.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:17AM (#33672944) Journal

    Intel provides currently the highest buyable performance. But AMD provides the best performance for value. If you buy a 200euro amd you get the best bang for your buck. If you buy a 800 euro Intel you get more bang but pay more bucks per bang.

    Intel offers no chip that provides the same bang for buck ratio as AMD. Hasn't done so in a long time.

    That is why AMD is the choice for price concious buyers who want high performance on a budget and Intel for the rich people who simply want the most powerful CPU.

    There are plenty of reviews comparing AMD vs Intel, Intel comes out ahead often but only by a small margin and for a HUGE price difference. Your choice wether you pay top money for minor gains.

    Just as a super car costing 10x as much as a regular one isn't going to go ten times as fast. By that logic the Shuttle would have to break the speed of light.

  • by keeboo (724305) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:30AM (#33672996)
    If you use your computer for heavier stuff like Qemu emulating weird architectures, heavy compilation, HD video and things like that:
    Go for the X4 models with 6MB L3 cache, it will do wonders with your aging AM2 motherboard (check for compatibility first, of course).

    Really, forget the 1 or 2MB L2-only models. Those are quite a disappointment for such tasks (to me? they're rubbish).
    I was considering a full upgrade to a Intel i5 (processor, mobo & memory) because my annoying sluggish old AMD Athlon 64. Frankly, my previous bad experiences with AMD processors (K6-1, old Athlons) did not help to form a positive opinion about the brand. But, hey, that Phenon processor was so cheap that I thought "heck, why not" and I was quite surprised.
  • by beelsebob (529313) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:34AM (#33673004)

    Intel already does have chips that compete with at the same price. The i5 760 will beat these in pretty much any task, and costs $208. So it doesn't have 6 cores, but it is sufficiently faster on a per-core basis that it doesn't matter.

  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:54AM (#33673078)

    Price/performance is not the criterion here. There are applications where this is important, but an average desktop user is not one of them.

    These systems are all quite bloody fast enough for "normal" desktops. The question is :how much does it cost? and AMD will get you a much better price for this class of machine.

  • Re:cache difference (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tyrione (134248) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @05:26AM (#33673192) Homepage

    AMD might try to give you more performance for the price now, and when they started they certain did, but remember that AMD are in the boat they are now largely because they used the advantage they gained from Intel's Itanium blunder to sell $400 mid range chips. Intel won their market back because AMD got greedy and Intel under cut them by about 50% with faster chips.

    AMD have no high end, with no high end they cannot survive because today's high end is tomorrow's mid range. You need to be tooling up that process 6 - 12 months in advance to compete. As much as I love AMD(I bought AMD for years, until my most recent PC), they're done.

    Not even close. Bulldozer architecture, merged with their rock solid GPGPU structure in OpenCL is a reality and a fundamental architecture design shift that Intel will work at copying.

  • by Vectormatic (1759674) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @05:35AM (#33673230)

    for the price segments where both AMD and intel are active in (so, that is the below $250 segment), $/performance is roughly equal, with AMD stealing some leads (and in some cases, very significant leads, in some segments intel only offers some insanely slow old celeron, where amd offers a x3 or so). AMD mostly wins because they are offering more cores/$. In single threaded performance, a c2d chip might just beat that athlon II x3, but as soon as threading comes into play, the 3rd core wins the battle for AMD

    Taking all things into account (cpu/mobo), a performance equivalent AMD system will be somewhat cheaper then a comparable intel build

    Personally i prefer AMD for that reason (not to mention i got into PC building in the amd 64 days, which might have contributed to my AMD preference)

  • by RogerWilco (99615) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:12AM (#33673384) Homepage Journal

    I think AMD really only One-upped Intel twice: When they were the first past the 1GHz mark and when they developed AMD64 while Intel was mucking around with Itanium.

    I've owned many non-Intel machines, the full list goes like this: Intel 8086-4.77, NEC V20-8, Cyrix 286-20, AMD 386-40, Cyrix 486DX2-66, AMD DX4-120, Cyrix P166+, AMD K6-300, AMD Duron-700, AMD K7-1,400, Intel PIV-3,06 Intel PentiumM-1,7, AMD Athlon64 X2-2,0, AMD Phenom X6-3,2

    I've never had any trouble with any of them, even though some had motherboard chipsets from SIS or VIA. The DX4-120, K6-300, K7-1,4 and all the newer ones are still running. (The DX4 is a stand-alone DOSbox for my dad to run some ancient software (on 360k floppies!), The K6 serves as a firewall somewhere, the K7 is used when my mom needs Windows (she's got 2 macbooks), the P4 is now in a laptop and now a media server, the PentiumM is in my current laptop, the Athlon64 is in my dads current computer and I run on the X6).
    Now I look at it, even though I left my parents over 15 years ago, they are still a kind of dumping ground for my old computers. :-D

  • Re:nothing new (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:52AM (#33673560) Journal

    AMD's lower prices are because of Intel's brand, not because of actual performance. You said it yourself: lower prices at comparable performance levels. The same holds true in the high end.

    Further, because of the market share of Intel, other the software giants don't do very much in the way of optimizing code to run on AMD, so they're always going to be compared on the subset of chip features that Intel also supports.

    Multiple equal giants would be a better situation for the rest of us, because then they'd be able to compete on architecture instead of just implementation. And yes, I'm aware of the Itanium fiasco, which i'd bet was driven by intel's x86 market inertia as much as anything: even Intel can't compete with Intel...

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:58AM (#33673854) Homepage Journal

    Intel could compete on price...

    That's for sure.

    From TFA:

    Core i7-970 processor, which is priced at $885 per 1,000 units

    Somebody is marking those things way up by the time they get to my local store.

  • Re:cache difference (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pranadevil2k (687232) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:55AM (#33674194)

    AMD's chips perform threaded tasks faster than Intel's - if you want to talk about tomorrow's chips you should also look at tomorrow's software, where heavy threading is going to be the norm. From that perspective, the value of the AMD chips easily doubles.

  • Re:cache difference (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CajunArson (465943) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:13AM (#33674394) Journal

    Only on Slashdot can Powerpoint slides of what AMD's chips will be doing in the second half of 2011 be called "rock solid" and get modded interesting in 2010.....

    1. Bulldozer will NOT have GPGPU until 2012 at the earliest unless you think AMD is lying.

    2. When it comes to GPGPU ATI is nowhere near NVIDIA. Oh don't get me wrong, when it comes to making a good graphics card that plays games (which is what 98+% of the market actually wants) ATI is definitely ahead of NVIDIA. When it comes to GPGPU that the HPC sector wants, NVIDIA is still way ahead not only on hardware but also on software. I know all about the hype around OpenCL, I also know people who do this stuff for a living and CUDA is simply better and while Fermi sucks for playing games, it shreds anything ATI has for GPGPU.

    3. Note the "98%" figure I gave above about what the market cares about. For all the hype on Slashdot, the number of applications that can actually take advantage of GPGPU is vanishingly small and inside of that small subset the biggest niche that exists is for video transcoding. Guess what? Using 3 square millimeters of silicon Intel's Sandy Bridge (that will be out at least half a year before Bulldozer) already does this. Also when it comes to normal Floating point performance, an equivalently clocked Sandy Bridge with 4 cores will have TWICE the AVX computing power of an EIGHT core Bulldozer... yes you heard me right 4 cores Intel vs. 8 cores AMD, due to AMD only including 1 full AVX unit in each "module" that contains 2 "cores" in Bulldozer. This is true unless AMD is intentionally lying about Bulldozer to make it sound worse than what the actual architecture will be. Oh.. and before you say that nobody will ever use AVX just remember that you called openCL "rock solid" a few minutes ago. GCC is already able to emit AVX instructions that existing code can be tweaked for RIGHT NOW while OpenCL is stil a pipe dream in many ways.

  • Go AMD (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:31AM (#33674564)

    My last system was an AMD build and I just built another right before he 6 core Phenoms came out. I play games and got Phenom II X4, Crosshair III motherboard, and a AMD5850 video card, 800W Corsair PS and a samsung LED. IBasically it amounted to the best an AMD system could offer at the time. The best Intel could offer was more than 1k more. Maybe some Intel systems benchmark higher than mine, but you CANNOT see the difference. That what pisses me off so much about benchmarks is that they are just numbers and people start saying what is what. Try a system, try the operations YOU will be performing on that system and then tell me whats worth it. Benchmarks are a guideline, nothing more. You think because Intel can encode faster that it is better? When was the last time John Doe encoded anything? When was the last time John Doe did anything other that look at porn and type in word. Most people could live with current Netbook performance for their daily tasks. Hell, the iPad seems to be enough for most people nowadays. You should always value your dollar, with any purchase, for anything. I will keep buying AMD until their performance does not match the price, but that won't be for a while cause I'll probably be able to put any next gen chip of theirs in my AM3 socket.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:36AM (#33674634)

    absolutely shitty fabrication.

    What, do the bits fall out when you shake them? Or do you have an STM in your house?

    (captcha: oxides)

  • by afidel (530433) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:46AM (#33675552)
    No, it compiled them for a *different* codepath, when you were comparing Athlon to Netburst that was a *good* thing because the Netburst stuff was optimized for the crazy long pipeline whereas the regular i586 codepath was optimized for a more sane pipeline length and so had superior performance on the Athlon.
  • Re:Does not compute! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anUnhandledException (1900222) <davis.gerald@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @11:06AM (#33675780)

    i5 starts at $180. So IF (big IF) you want to spend $180+ on CPU then yeah you really can't go wrong with Intel i5-xxx series.

    However for many users they aren't CPU limited. CPU power makes very little difference in game performance once you get past dual core 2.5Ghz. It makes a difference but not as much as a GPU.

    In the $100 to $200 segment is where AMD really shines.

    From tomshardware.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-core-i5-760-core-i7-970,2698.html [tomshardware.com]

    Best Gaming CPU for ~$70 - Athlon II X3 425
    Best Gaming CPU for ~$85 - Athlon II x3 445
    Best Gaming CPU for ~$115 - Core i3-530
    Best Gaming CPU for ~$140 - Phenom II x4 945
    Best Gaming CPU for ~$160 - Phenom II x4 955
    Best Gaming CPU for ~$180 - Phenom II x4 965
    Best Gaming CPU for ~$200 - Core i5-760
    Best Gaming CPU for ~$290 - Core i5-930

    When someone has a fixed budget spending $50 to $100 LESS on CPU allows them to buy $50 to $100 more GPU and that system will offer better overall game performance.

    I do agree that $200+ Intel dominates and AMD doesn't really have anything that answers but that is a small segment of the market. One also has to consider that i5 boards tend to run $10 to $20 more than comparable AMD board and i7 boards run $60 to $100 more.

  • Re:cache difference (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CajunArson (465943) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @01:03PM (#33677292) Journal

    AMD's chips perform threaded tasks faster than Intel's

    Please provide one shred of evidence that supports this claim.. and I don't mean a comparison of a 6 core AMD CPU to 2 core Intel chip from 2007.

  • Re:cache difference (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eskarel (565631) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:22PM (#33682556)

    I'd also like to see the evidence that heavy threading is going to become the norm any time soon in most applications. It's had the better part of a decade to get there and still substantially less than half of all software supports multi-threading and most of that is lucky to support 2 cores.

    People don't seem to realize how much more difficult writing properly multi-threaded software is, or that not all software lends itself to multi-threading.

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