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Intel AMD Hardware Hacking Build Hardware

Intel Targets AMD With Affordable Unlocked CPUs 207

EconolineCrush writes "For years, AMD has catered to gamers and enthusiasts with mid-range Black Edition processors whose unlocked multipliers make overclocking easy. Intel has traditionally reserved unlocked multipliers for its ultra-expensive Extreme CPUs, but it has now brought the feature to affordable models that compete directly with AMD's most popular processors. The Core i5-655K and Core i7-875K have two and four cores, respectively, and they're priced at just $216 and $342. It appears that both will easily hit speeds in excess of 4GHz with air cooling. Surprisingly, even at stock speeds, the i7-875K offers better performance and power efficiency per dollar than just about any other desktop CPU out there."
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Intel Targets AMD With Affordable Unlocked CPUs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:29AM (#32375962)
    Really, you call yourself a news for nerds site.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:30AM (#32375994)

      What do you expect? It's a kdawson submission. You know: the submissions that always plain incorrect or just total garbage

      • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:51AM (#32376224) Journal

        for once, quite accurate by the anon. Reviews about these have been inconsistent, some citing bad overclocking potential [hexus.net] and generally being not for enthusiasts. [anandtech.com]

        Meanwhile, others seem to state it's a full sweep [overclockersclub.com] and/or basically great [hardwareheaven.com].

        I'm wondering if this is another scenario of handpicked engineering samples or not.

        I'm not at all convinced that this is great, or horrible. Anyone care to weigh in with better comments than kdawson?

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:03AM (#32376362) Journal
          In any overclocking scenario results aren't assured(though, at certain historical moments, they very nearly have been for certain chips). It isn't a huge surprise that there is some variability being seen; but the small sample size(maybe a dozen review sites, with a chip or two each) doesn't let us say too much).

          The only thing that would be really sleazy would be if the review processors "just happened" to perform atypically well compared to the ones that poor saps can actually buy. Since, though, the mixed reviews are coming from reviewers, that seems less likely, and that these chips are simply spotty overclockers more likely(unless, of course, some of the reviewers are reviewing "representative samples" kindly provided by Intel, and others are reviewing representative samples scored from somewhere in the distribution chain.

          The fact that a chip only sometimes outperforms its sticker speed is irksome for the overclocker; but not a big deal. If Intel is feeding handpicks to the reviewers, that sucks.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by poetmatt ( 793785 )

            Well, thats why I want to know. It's not at all unknown for them to handpick the samples. I remember some recent controversy about this with somebody, I forgot if it was Nvidia, AMD, or Intel, or all of them in general.

            The sites with the great results seem to say "this kick ass", and the ones without are meh, so it doesn't seem to be indicative of whether this processor is even worth it or not, all things taken into consideration.

          • the review cpus "just happened" to work better than off-the-shelf cpus in the past too. This happened with last gen 40nm extreme cpus, or actually all quad 40nm. All review sites gave glorifying reviews running with nForce chipset and SLI, or tri-sli. We had 3 to test, 2 extremes, 1 regular (2nd fastest regular), none of them worked well with any nForce chipset if at all, and and SLI was pretty much no go without underclocking. 3 different motherboards, 3 different models were tried aswell.

            CPUs were Q9550 a

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Even with highly overclockable AMD's, you have to search for the production code, then determine which week it was produced. There may be one single week, or a run of two to four weeks, but you have to narrow it down to one of those good periods. One week, you get a near lemon that won't overclock 5% - the following week, you get an "OH MY GOD THAT'S FUCKING FAST! CHECK THE TEMPERATURE!" chip. Even among the known good overclockers, stability becomes an issue. Week 32 will run super fast, but will only

        • As they say: Those who don’t learn from history...

          Intel has a history if anticompetitive behavior, tricks and fraud. If it were a person, it would be a large sea man with a tattoo and bad company in a biker bar, and have at least half a dozen jail tattoos.

          I’m not saying AMD is an angel. Not even remoteld. But it’s always good to look back at history, imagine that company as a person, and think about, if you would even talk to that person...

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Since the wavelength didn't change, that means the increase in frequency could change with a change in speed.

      If it was do to a decrease in wavelength(lambda), then you would have had a point.

  • 4 GHz, eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:34AM (#32376032) Homepage

    I thought we learned that, like sex and the Pentium 4, faster isn't always necessarily better...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I thought we learned that, like sex and the Pentium 4, faster isn't always necessarily better...

      Well, that depends... have you seen some of the women around here?

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:42AM (#32376132) Journal
      When making a direct comparison between chip X running at frequency Y and chip X running at frequency Z, speed does correlate pretty closely to frequency(unless you are being bottlenecked hard by some other aspect of the system). Assuming you don't care about puny things like "deafening fan noise" and "having to throw a baby seal into the boiler every 15 minutes just to keep the lights from flickering"(and, if you are a true overclocker, you care nothing for such trifles) faster is better.
    • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:45AM (#32376158) Homepage

      sex and the Pentium 4

      Is that the new TV show for geeks?

    • Re:4 GHz, eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:52AM (#32376236)

      Yes, faster is always better.

      What we learned is that high GHZ don't necessarily imply a chip is faster.

      • That is, until Apple also started using Intel chips.
        • Yes, because your 3.4ghz dual core is faster then my 3.2ghz quad core. This had nothing to do with the Athlons wooping the Pentiums or Intel releasing "slow" Core Duo processors that were "half the speed" of their Pentium 4s.

          Indeed, let's just throw Apple into this for the +1 relevant.

          • Well, the whole "GHz isn't everything" mantra was repeated over and over by Apple when they were using slower clock speed Motorolla PPC chips. I noticed how they liked to show how much better the new Macs with Intel chips performed over their older PPC models after they made the switch as well. Kind of like "ignore everything we said before about how inferior those Intel chips were over our Motorolla chips now that we are using them too".

            So that is what I was referencing. I wasn't supporting or denying a
      • Man, you two would not have this problem, if you would qualify your deliberately broad terms like “faster”.

        - Faster processing per energy usage = better.
        - Faster processing alone = Not better, if most of the energy it goes up into heat. (Pentium 4: 63%)
        - Faster in terms on MHz = Not better, if it still does less instructions per clock cycle.

    • faster is better as long as the duration remains the same or longer.

  • Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:41AM (#32376114)

    "just $216 and $342"?

    The majority of regular users can get by with just about any modern processor on the market today. Just glancing at Newegg, single core CPU's are starting at $32. Dual cores at $50. Quad cores at $81. I personally haven't spent more than $100 on a processor in ages, and I'm more or less a power user (do heavy programming and video encoding as well as other such tasks on my systems).

    Now, at work, for servers, and I'm sure other users who are doing things like heavy graphics editing and such, people do need faster processors, but the people doing such tasks are NOT going to give two shits whether or not the multiplier is unlocked (anybody using an overclocked processor in a professional environment is just asking for trouble).

    So you're left with the absolute hardcore hardware enthusiast market. Even in this market though you're going to have the "I'm poor and don't want to spend much" people who are still going for the low cost ones and trying to push them, and the "I've got money to blow and want the fastest available" people who were likely buying the really, really expensive stuff already.

    In short, I just don't see this feature, at the stated price points, as really having much of a market.

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Funny)

      by thijsh ( 910751 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:48AM (#32376200) Journal
      Yeah, but the $32 CPU has an e-peen value of zero, while these babies raise your e-peen over 9000!!! It's 'the most e-peen for your buck' (I think that was in the small letters at the bottom of the Intel advertisement).
    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:53AM (#32376242) Homepage Journal

      In short, I just don't see this feature, at the stated price points, as really having much of a market.

      Corvettes and Camaros sell Citations and Celebrities.

      Or in other words, Intel will sell more CPUs than AMD if they can convince the world that they have a bigger penis. Nobody wants their CPU to come from small penis guy, or to imply that they are one.

      It is rather crazy that gamers buy these, though. Far be it from me to tell anyone how to spend their money; whatever makes you happy that doesn't hurt anybody (indictments of the western lifestyle aside for now) is fine with me. But if you stay just behind the curve you can upgrade every year (to last year's kit) and still be able to play virtually every game at quite good settings. Buying the latest and greatest comes with a massive price:performance penalty. Once you get into the new generation of lower-power equipment it seems like there's little motivation to ride the upgrade train so far or long.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rrhal ( 88665 )
        Whats even crazier is that some of these chips will end up in the desktops of the pointy-haired and their chosen minions because they feel that "Big Penis" CPUs will reflect better business practice. Intel sells a huge number of chips at a premium price to corporations when cheaper AMD CPUs would do the same job.
        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          This is why it absolutely necessary for engineers to convinces upper management that their penis size correlate to how ell the engineering dept works.

        • It's a shame too, because the only reason Intel is making this offer at all is to compete with AMD's similar offerings. AMD should see more business for its influence on the market alone, but nobody has financial incentive to be altruistic toward the underdog. More "free" market forces at work unfortunately.

      • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:46AM (#32376962) Journal

        I concur. I just set my watch back one year and save thousands of dollars on everything. New games $50? Nope, mine are $25. New processor $300? Nope, mine are $100 and runs my one year old games perfectly. My last "new" car was $30k new but I bought it with 8k miles and just under 1 year old for $20k with full warranty. I'm about to buy a pair of Motorola Droids, which I can get for $99-$199 for both (2y contract, yes). It doesn't always pay off, but on average it saves up tremendously without sacrificing anything but a little time.

        The net results is that I actually can buy MORE toys for the same money. Delayed gratification can be a beautiful thing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by geekoid ( 135745 )

          However it leads to being a social outcast.

          • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Informative)

            by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @01:39PM (#32378448) Journal

            However it leads to being a social outcast.

            That is a valid point for someone under 25, but I'm in my 40s, albeit not typical, as I still game regularly and enjoy new technology on a regular basis. I also fish and garden a bit to make sure I get some exercise. I don't game socially (multi-player) very often simply because the demands of family and work make it difficult to schedule gaming, but I still play at least an hour a day. For most of us over 30, delaying gratification works out to save some money. This means when the rare something new comes out and I just MUST HAVE IT NOW, I don't feel so bad spending the money, as that is the exception rather than the rule.

        • Dell mobility has those motorola's for a dollar...

      • by Plekto ( 1018050 )

        Or in other words, Intel will sell more CPUs than AMD if they can convince the world that they have a bigger penis. Nobody wants their CPU to come from small penis guy, or to imply that they are one.

        Except that, as GM learned, when you're impotent, the customers figure out that you're a non-player pretty quick. The Corvette no longer sells anything except for itself. In simple terms, the Intel pricing structure completely misses the overclocker's market segment. The average person who wants this feature ea

        • The average person who wants this feature easily enabled like this isn't going to spend much more than $100 in the first place if they can possibly help it. Their "goal" is to make the cheap as dirt CPU work like the $300 one.

          I'm not sure that's true. Clock modders seem to come in three groups, which I will now overgeneralize. There are underclockers who are trying to run quiet and cool, or fanless. There are overclockers who are trying to get the hotness on a budget, like the dual celery 300A owners of old. And then there are overclockers who want to have the fastest PC available, and are getting rates better than the fastest processor speeds you can actually buy. I could make an automotive analogy, but I think the list is fair

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        So, how will the CPUs hypnotize our kids into forming an air force?

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:59AM (#32376334)

      Exactly. You can get an unlocked quad core 3.2Ghz AMD 955 for $160 on newegg, that is more than enough performance for anything a "gamer" is going to be doing. The only reason to even want more than that is if you are chasing ego with benchmarks/folding@home or are doing bulk HD video encoding/graphics rendering.

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:30AM (#32376720) Homepage

      If you do computationally-intensive workstation tasks, like video editing, gaming, virtualization, or using java (sigh); you really will appreciate going from a $100 CPU to a $300 CPU. Using faster components also means having an overall less-frustrating experience with your computer.

      At home, I have an i7, an SSD, a high-end NVIDIA GPU, and the fastest RAM my mobo can take. At work I have a computer made of the budget components you think are good enough. The difference is extremely evident. My computing tasks happen as fast as I can think at home. At work, I often have to wait for things to load, which can derail my train-of-though, lower my productivity, or just generally piss me off.

      A few hundred more for good components is money very-well spent.

      • While your point is well taken, will you appreciate as well the difference between a $200 and a $300 processor?

        Is it possible to get two sextuple-core processors on a single motherboard yet?

          • I built a machine similar to that at home - Intel Skulltrail - its kinda old now, but it has two quad core QX9775 cpu's inside (basically a 3.2 GHz Xeon that has an unlocked multiplier). I wouldn't really wish that process on most people - lots of really specialized components (at the time there was only one company that could provide me with DDR2 ECC dimms that fit - Kingston), 1000 watt power supply etc etc etc.

            On the plus side its still a very fast PC :).

        • Yes, because that can mean the difference between dual-core and quad/six-core. It also means a lot more cache. Modern operating systems tend to have many background tasks, and modern users tend to have many simultaneous interactive tasks and tabs. When your computer can dedicate a core to what you're working on, it will feel smother than when your computer is switching things in and out.

          One other thing I should point out: more expensive CPUs give you more processing power PER WATT. That money buys you a re

      • I'm with you 100%. If spending more means I don't wait as much, I'm sold. Partly because my hourly income is pretty high, and if I spend a few hours a week waiting, it pays for the new processor. And partly because it drives me batty to wait on computers.

        I once had a boss that said "you tell me what you need, and we'll get it". What I needed was 3 high end desktops in a single workstation configuration using Synergy to share inputs. It was beautiful, for once, if I had to wait, I just switched machi
      • by bored ( 40072 )

        If you do computationally-intensive workstation tasks, like video editing...

        I don't know about you, but my video editor, doesn't consume much CPU time. HD speed (or a sh*tload of RAM) makes a much larger diffrence. On the other hand, when I'm done with the editing and I tell it to create the video it can spin for a long time. Generally though, I batch those up and let them run when I'm not at the computer. In that case having them finish at midnight instead of 3 AM, really doesn't matter much.

        But, compiling

    • Re:Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Fross ( 83754 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:44AM (#32376936)

      There is a guy who posts this exact message, almost word for word, every time a new CPU or graphics card is announced. "This is useless - I'm a power user and I can get by with a can of tuna and a bit of string".

      Well, I'm afraid I have to tell you, you're not a power user, if you don't need the power that is now available. 2005's power user, maybe. But if you want to do video editing (and I mean final cut/premiere, not reencoding your dvd rips), play the latest games etc, then you do need that hardware. That software is designed to run on that hardware. And if you manage your own machine, whether it's for gaming of photoshop or whatever, you're going to care that this thing gives you bang for your buck. for what it's worth, this new chip isn't the fastest available. It isn't even close. It's the best value high-end chip, with a view to become even better value if you're open to overclocking it.

      If you're not in that target audience, then fine - why do you complain about it? Do you bitch that lamborghinis are too expensive? "$150,000? I have a ford cortina that I got for $500 and it gets me to the mall just fine!". You don't see there is a market for this, because you are looking at a sample size of 1. Intel and AMD have a multi-billion business riding on this, I for one trust they're going to have done their homework.

      (And I'm interested in the chip too - I'm planning a system upgrade soon - first since my Q6600 - and I like high-end, value chips I can overclock!)

      • Well, I'm afraid I have to tell you, you're not a power user, if you don't need the power that is now available. 2005's power user, maybe. But if you want to do video editing (and I mean final cut/premiere, not reencoding your dvd rips), play the latest games etc, then you do need that hardware. That software is designed to run on that hardware. And if you manage your own machine, whether it's for gaming of photoshop or whatever, you're going to care that this thing gives you bang for your buck. for what it's worth, this new chip isn't the fastest available. It isn't even close. It's the best value high-end chip, with a view to become even better value if you're open to overclocking it.

        Thank you! I mean, hell. I like to think I'm a power user (I'm really not, but I like to think it), and I've talked to people who *are* power users, and every single one of them is always wishing their machine was a little bit faster, had a little bit more space, something. They're never satisfied with their machines, they're simply limited either by resources or technology. Hell, the book designer I know just got a dual quad-core machine with a crap-ton of RAM, and he still has to wait ages on certain proc

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MBGMorden ( 803437 )

        Congratulations on missing the entire point of my post.

        Nowhere in my post did I state that fast CPU's had no purpose. I explicitly stated the opposite. I for example, throw all the CPU I can afford when I setup a database server because there, I will see the ROI.

        My statement was about the clock multiplier being unlocked on essentially a middle of the road (as far as cost - not performance or sales volume) chip. If the announcement had merely been about an ever-faster chip then I wouldn't have even cared.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Having been part of PC building community for a long time with a lot of experience in everything from low-end as-cheap-as-possible builds to ridiculously expensive gaming builds, your comment is not based on reality. Unless you have a very short memory, about 4 years ago you had to spend at least $200 to get any dual core CPU (Pentium D or AMD Athlon X2), so I very much doubt your "ages" comment on a CPU suitable for your uses. And especially vid encoding benefits a lot from quad core CPUs with suitable arc

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Considering that the 875 is exactly the same as the 870 except for the unlocked multiplier, and the 870 has cost $562 then $342 is a quite significant drop and a better bargain no matter how you look at it but none of them are that great. Also, the title of Anandtech's conclusion is Final Words: Not for enthusiasts [anandtech.com]. It seems more like what's been happening in graphics cards, that you will be able to get some "pre-overclocked" systems. This is pretty much a competitior to AMDs $299 Phenom II X6 1090T, giving

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Which part of overclocking makes you think this is for regular users?

  • Nothing to lose (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stan Vassilev ( 939229 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:41AM (#32376124)

    Intel have nothing to lose anymore by keeping the multipliers locked: the bottleneck isn't with the CPU frequency anymore. The biggest differentiators in their higher end models are number of cores and cache size.

    If they can get few more sales with a pointless gimmick some fall for, why not?

    • Re:Nothing to lose (Score:5, Interesting)

      by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <plugwash@p10link ... minus herbivore> on Friday May 28, 2010 @12:32PM (#32377562) Homepage

      The biggest differentiators in their higher end models are number of cores and cache size.
      I'd add the platform to that.

      The low and midrange desktop chips (i3, i5 and i7 8xx) are on the LGA1156 platform. That means dual channel memory, a max memory of 16GB* and only 16 channels of fast PCIe**. What that means is that any addition storage controllers etc end up either stuck behind the PCH or stealing channels from the graphics card.

      The high end desktop chips (i7 9xx) are on the x58 single socket LGA1366 platform, that means triple channel memory, a max memory of 24GB* and 36 channels of fast PCIe**.

      The xeon 5500/5600 workstation/server chips are also on LGA1366 but it's a dual socket variant. That means six channels of memory (three per CPU), a max memory of 144GB* and 36 or 72 channels (depending on whether the motherboard vendor uses one or two IO hubs) of fast PCIe** (and yes there are boards that use all 72 e.g. http://www.supermicro.co.uk/products/motherboard/QPI/5500/X8DAH_.cfm [supermicro.co.uk] ).

      The higher end xeon chips support even more.

      * Max memory figures for desktop chips assume 4GB modules and two modules per channel. I haven't seen a desktop board that claims to support higher configurations than this though it may technically be possible. Max memory for dual socket workstation chips assumes 8GB modules and three modules per channel, more is possible in theory if you can find 16GB modules which supposedly exist but i've never seen for sale.

      ** PCIe channels that run at the 2.0 speeds and are taken from the processor or IOH. Not the channels that are taken from the ICH/PCH that only run at 1.0 speeds and are potentially bottlenecked by the DMI/ESI connection.

  • Goes to 11 (Score:5, Funny)

    by wjousts ( 1529427 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:42AM (#32376126)

    It appears that both will easily hit speeds in excess of 4GHz with air cooling.

    Nigel Tufnel: These go to eleven.

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:44AM (#32376142)

    "Enthusiasts" are people with more money than sense. Why would anyone pay more than $150 for a CPU these days? A quad-core 3.0Ghz chip is not going to be your bottleneck. Yeah, I guess if you spend all day ripping and encoding video then that extra 10%-20% might amount to a few minutes saved, but for most people spending the extra $150 on an SSD drive instead would give them a far more noticeable performance boost.

    Or, if you've still got money to burn, buy a nicer monitor-- or a second one, for that matter. Or some quality case fans that don't make your case sound like a jet engine. Or a decent set of speakers.

    The obsession with CPU "speed" is dumb.

  • LOL (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:44AM (#32376150) Homepage Journal

    Well, I guess when anti-competitive practices fail.....

  • At the $200 price point, AMD is still killing it. Look at the scatter plot, and note what happens on the $200 line. Now, draw an imaginary $100 line, and check that out. It's all AMD. So while you may want to buy intel if you want today's fastest gaming machine, AMD is still the processor for those of us who want performance and money at the same time.

    With that said, can anyone recommend a good AM3 air cooler that's not too spendy? I have a PhII X3 720 retail black edition that I'd like to overclock. The stock cooler won't cut it :) But I want to keep my budget very small, which is why I went AMD in the first place. So far, so good.

    • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

      Not sure what you call "good" but I am using this one on my 140W 965, it is certainly better than stock but still a bit "budget". I have not tried overclocking it yet, no real need. But it should be able to handle the heat of your lower wattage processor while overclocked just fine.


    • Try Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus, or if you want something cheaper, Arctic Cooling Freezer series has been quite good.

      You are wrong about the $200 price point: The chart has put the hexacore AMD above Intel's i5-750, which comes from some synthetic benchmark results and a few real-life apps, and it doesn't reflect the overall real-world results, where i5-750 is still the better choice (this comes again from higher clock speed and better architecture vs. more cores). However I agree that in the cheap end AMD

  • 4GHZ (Score:5, Funny)

    by clinko ( 232501 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:47AM (#32376184) Journal

    The cards! they bounce TOO FAST!!

  • Meh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dlapine ( 131282 ) <lapine@noSPAm.illinois.edu> on Friday May 28, 2010 @10:47AM (#32376188) Homepage

    The article comparing values uses the highest price motherboard available for AMD for a "midrange" system, then claims that the Intel-based total system is a value. If you spend $350 on a 6-core processor, then spending $140 on a high-end motherboard is reasonable. If you're spending $99 for a low end AMD quad, you're probably in the market for more reasonably priced motherboard (~$100) to go with it. The comparison is valid for the high-end AMD cpus, but not their budget stuff, as a $40 drop in price is a big deal for a system with a $100 cpu.

    That being said, being able to overclock this thing is directly aimed at the enthusiast market. "I got 6 cores, w00t!" "Yeah, well I'm at 4GHZ on a quad, so there!" It definitely improves the competition between the high end AMD hexa-cores and the midrange Intel quads, and makes the Intel option more appealing to the enthusisast.

  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:17AM (#32376520)

    NO 1336? so you are stuck with 16 pci-e lanes so a good video card can uses that up and then when you add usb 3.0 and sata 6.0 you cut into the video pci-e lanes.

    for $200 you can get a AMD board with 890fx that has more pci-e lanes so you can have 2 x16 video cards + room for sata 6.0 and usb 3.0 as well.

  • Anyone who can build comparable systems for significantly less than those bozos, raise your hand.

    Shift the second scatter graph to the left from anywhere between $200 to $400, and then draw a new conclusion.
  • by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:25AM (#32376644)

    Intel Targets AMD...

    Nice to see this. In the past 10 years it has always been 'AMD targets Intel.' AMD must be doing something right if Intel is taking notice of it and that means a little competition which is great for the future of the hardware.

  • by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:28AM (#32376684)

    Can someone please explain overclocking to me? Why are processors sold at a slower speed than they can actually perform at? Why don't they ship from the factory at their fastest speed?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by xiando ( 770382 )
      Simple. You run the CPU at a higher clock speed than what it was designed for. It works, and this will give you a higher clock speed, draw more power and produce more heat. The price different really isn't that big these days and nobody really cares about overclocking anymore, but it used to be a big thing back in the day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by adeft ( 1805910 )
      Car analogy: Every car comes from the factory tuned in a conservative manner regarding air/fuel mixture, spark advance.....even torque management and shift pressures/points (in the case of automatics) You are able to change these values for a greater increase in performance or fuel economy. This change (when pushed to the limit or performed incorrectly) can be risky and put extra strain on components of your vehicle.
    • by Endo13 ( 1000782 )

      Lots of reasons, but one of the biggest is because they're often not 100% stable at higher frequencies without increasing the voltage.

    • by Fross ( 83754 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @11:54AM (#32377060)

      Historically, they make a whole batch of processors together, then run some tests to see how fast each will run. Some go faster than others (or more to the point, some are reliable at higher speeds, some less reliable) so they get divided into different speed batches and sold at different prices.

      The reasons behind the reliability are varied, however, and mostly down to heat dissipation. As the chip gets hotter (and they get v hot inside) it gets less reliable. The manufacturer tests against a standard heat diffusion system, but some people will spend more money on good cooling, either a big heatsink and fan, or even water cooling, or down to liquid nitrogen (!). The upshot is, any particular chip will be more reliable at a higher speed.

      Sometimes, however, it's just about the market. It may cost $200 to manufacture your product, but some people want to buy a good product at around $300, some want to buy one at $500 and have the best. So you sell your product for $500, but nobble a few (say in firmware) to run a bit slower, and sell those for $300. Overall, you will sell many more that way than just the $500 ones, so you make more money.

      This is EXACTLY what happened with the Geforce 6800GTS (If I remember correctly) - they used to manufacture dies with 4 cores on them. If it had 4 cores working, it was a high end model, if it had 3 cores working, it was a low end model. This allowed them to increase yields dramatically, as all the ones with just one fault still sold. However, the market demand for the low end one was far greater than the number of defective parts they had, so they ended up taking the 4-core model, locking one core in firmware and releasing it as a low end model - after all, selling a card at a cheaper price is better than not selling it at all, right?

      The upshot was some people could programmatically unlock their 4th core, and get a high end card for low end price! I tried it myself, but had one with a defective 4th core so just got a bunch of video corruption until I locked it again :>

      • I even saw one with two cores (actually "quads" of four cores IIRC) locked, and we successfully unlocked one of them. The other was completely fucked. But you can't say no to adding 50% to the power of a card with just a couple of hours experimenting!

        You've nicely summed up three of the kinds of overclocking (restoring the clock speed of a slow-binned-but-actually-really-good cpu, unlocking extra cores and actually overclocking a cpu using a decent cooling system). I remember in the Athlon XP era all the co

      • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

        Historically, they make a whole batch of processors together, then run some tests to see how fast each will run.

        Nitpick. They don't test each chip, they test a few samples from each batch and grade the whole batch based on them.

    • Overclocking increases both frequency and heat output. Too much heat == many crashes and/or dead CPU.

      CPUs are generally sold a speed that they are stable at, within the expected normal operating temperature range.

      Overclockers usually replace the stock cooling system with something better before overclocking.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      It happens whenever production and market segmentation don't align.

      When a new model comes out, especially if there was a die shrink, imperfections are significant. All chips are manufactured the same, but only a few will run reliably at the top speed. In a process known as bin sorting, all chips are tested at the top speed. Some pass and are so marked. They might run faster than that, they might not, but returns are costly and damage reputation, so a bit of margin is left at the top.

      Everything that failed i

      • Now I understand what is going on.

        Basically, the chips are sold to reliably run at what they are set to run at, but they might run faster, especially if you put in robust cooling.


        I just bought a new system with a i7-930. Supposedly it can be overclocked. I have not fooled with it. The system does have liquid cooling though.


    • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

      Can someone please explain overclocking to me? Why are processors sold at a slower speed than they can actually perform at? Why don't they ship from the factory at their fastest speed?

      Binning [wikipedia.org] and market segmentation [wikipedia.org].

      Same reason you can buy basically the same car at multiple price points with different options.

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Friday May 28, 2010 @12:08PM (#32377268) Journal
    "Surprisingly, even at stock speeds, the i7-875K offers better performance and power efficiency per dollar than just about any other desktop CPU out there."

    -1, Inaccurate

    The 2.8ghz i7-930 is $199 [microcenter.com] vs $342 for a 2.93ghz i7-875K, so almost double the price for 0.13ghz more. How did the author see that and think "better performance per dollar"? The article he linked to even shows the better performance per dollar in a chart, [techreport.com] and btw techreport that chart is pretty piss poor, shoving $200 processors on a chart that goes to $1200 just clumps 90% of the processors in the $50 to $400 range. Learn how to make a chart: you should have left off under $50 (no processors under $50) and anything past $1000 (no processors over $1000). Because of your crappy chart the i7-875 is right next to the i7-930 despite the $142 difference.

    The i7-930 is locked but it does reach 4ghz on air rather easily.

    I suppose all of this is a mute because the LGA 1156 platform and LGA 1366 platform are being discontinued next year [bit-tech.net], so if you don't already have a i7 compatible motherboard you'd be buying a board that won't be compatible with any cpus made 7 months from now. I wouldn't buy a i7 cpu unless intel started selling them for $50, while AM3 boards available now are compatible with future 16-core cpus [anandtech.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) *

      The 2.8ghz i7-930 is $199 vs $342 for a 2.93ghz i7-875K, so almost double the price for 0.13ghz more.

      To be fair, the Microcenter price is a bit of a loss leader. Trying to get a 930 just about anywhere else, and it goes for ~$288. While the multiplier is locked, the FSB on both the 920 and 930 can be bumped up to some crazy amounts. My experience with the 920 let the x21 multiplier clock up to a stable 4.6ghz [multiply.com] using a H50 cooler. Same sort of overclocks folks are seeing with the $1000 975 Extreme Edition

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I suppose all of this is a mute because...

      -1, Poor Language Skills

      The word you were looking for is moot not mute.

      Also, the entire world does not live near a Microcenter.

  • Intel is not affordable compared to AMD.

    My system here has been frizzing out on me after 4+ years, and literally 2 hours ago I ordered an AMD 3ghz 3-core processor for 75 bucks. the board (with on board GPU) , 2gb memory, and cpu with shipping came to $230...

    JUST 14 bucks more than the only Intel's dual-core processor listed in the article.

If a subordinate asks you a pertinent question, look at him as if he had lost his senses. When he looks down, paraphrase the question back at him.