AMD Dual Core/High-End CPUs

We'll start with the high-end AMD parts, which for purposes of this Price Guide means all of their Athlon X2 chips for sockets 939 and AM2, as well as the socket 939 Opteron chips.

We've grouped both sockets into a single table so that you can better compare prices. A couple weeks ago when they first launched, the socket AM2 Athlon X2 chips were extremely difficult to find, and they were also priced higher than their socket 939 counterparts. Supply has increased on most of the parts now, and the prices of the AM2 parts have dropped to the point where they're almost at parity with their elder siblings. The exception to that overview is availability of the 1MB cache chips. As reported on DailyTech, AMD is planning on halting production of the 2x1MB Athlon X2 parts and will focus instead on producing more 2x512KB parts. In addition to being cheaper to produce due to their smaller size, focusing production on the 2x512KB chips will allow AMD to increase the supply and improve efficiency (since they won't have to worry about supporting multiple CPU dies). Prices should also drop, and AMD has announced significant price cuts for late July.

If you don't want to wait another month, the best bang for the buck obviously belongs to the X2 3800+, currently going for $297 for socket 939 [RTPE: ADA3800BVBOX] or $324 for socket AM2 [RTPE: ADA3800CUBOX]. For the overclockers of the world, this chip is also very attractive and the new AM2 model is generally capable of reaching 2.6 to 2.8 GHz.

We mentioned pending price cuts, but those are only scheduled for the 2x512KB models. If your heart is set on one of the 2x1MB models -- and you don't want to fork out the $807 for the FX-60 [RTPE: ADAFX60CDBOX] or the $1222 for the retail FX-62 [RTPE: ADAFX62CSBOX] -- you might be best off purchasing now rather than waiting. The most attractive option is still the lowest price option, the AM2 X2 4000+ [RTPE: ADA4000CSBOX] for $385 OEM/$421 retail. For socket 939, the cheapest option costs quite a bit more, the X2 4400+ [RTPE: ADA4400CDBOX] currently sells for $460 -- but of course it also comes with a higher stock clock speed.

We already mentioned the Athlon FX processors, but here you can see the complete list of options for both socket 939 and AM2. Prices on these parts are substantially higher than other options, and we certainly wouldn't consider getting any of the single core versions these days. If you want the absolute fastest official CPU speed and you're willing to pay any price, however, the FX-62 is currently king of the hill. Just don't expect it to remain king for much longer, overclocked or not.

Rounding out the high-end AMD offerings, we have the popular Opteron 939 chips. Due to the more rigorous testing that takes place on Opteron parts, these chips generally overclock better than their Athlon 64 counterparts. They also cost a bit more, so it ends up being something of a wash, but the Opteron 165 [RTPE: OSA165CDBOX] for $327 and the Opteron 170 [RTPE: OSA170CDBOX] for $395 continue to sell well. The 170 is essentially the 939 equivalent of the AM2 4000+, and it's available from numerous resellers. Unfortunately, it also costs more than the AM2 4000+. Prices are always going to change in the future, so in the end you have to decide whether you want to upgrade or not. If you're currently happy with your CPU's performance, there's no sense in upgrading merely for the sake of upgrading -- unless that's what you really want to do.

Index Intel Dual Core/High-End CPUs


View All Comments

  • Calin - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    The only reason you could have to buy an Sempron (AM2) over an Athlon would be the lower power use (35W TDP for the new Semprons compared to the 65W TDP of the Athlons64 AM2 (or 89W of the X2 versions).
    Could there be an evaluation of the difference in power use between the same frequency Sempron and Athlon64 processors? Thanks
  • johnsonx - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    The low power Semprons aren't available yet, nor are the low power Athlons at the current time. Currently shipping Semprons and Athlons are all 65W TDP.

    Looking at the recent price lists, I'd make a bet that all the single-core Athlon64's are going away before long, with the possible exception of the highest performing parts. It's the same logic that applies to the 1Mb cache parts: single-core A64's cost AMD more to make than Semprons, yet AMD can't really charge more money for them because of their convoluted model numbering system.

    Having an Athlon64 3000+ that is clocked the same but has 4x the cache as a Sempron 3400+ just makes a mess of things.
  • mino - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    Well they are :)

    AFAIK pretty much any 90nm Sempron(doesn't matter which socket) is in the 20W-35W power consumption range.
  • Calin - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    I saw on offers Sempron (AM2) processors with TDP of 35W, compared to the Athlon64 (AM2 versions) with TDP of 65W and the dual cores (again AM2) with 89W TDP.
    I suppose the low voltage versions are not here yet, but the power rating in offers still remains
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    You will also be able to get low power X2 and Athlon 64 chips in the near future. I will see about testing an Athlon 64 3000+ (AM2) compared to the Sempron 3400+ (AM2). My experience in the past is that AMD's TDP power numbers have been extremely conservative, so I would be surprised if Sempron chips are more than 5 Watts lower. That might matter for notebooks/laptops, but for desktops 5 W is basically meaningless -- you're looking at $5 (or less) for power costs over the course of an entire year, assuming the system is running 24/7/365. Reply
  • Calin - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    Thank you very much Reply
  • SonicIce - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I can't belive how cheap single core Athlon 64's have gotten. This is a very good thing! Hopefully dual cores will fall soon. Reply
  • jelifah - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    That's what Jarred was trying to say in his article when he said 'if you can wait a month'

    July 24th AMD is expected to slash prices by around 50%. And yes that includes the pretty little X2 3800+, which should be available for $150. Now the only question is how quick NewEgg can ship them on that day, because I WILL place an order at that price.

    I'm actually going to be paying LESS for a dual core than I paid for my socket 939 3000+ single core 18 months ago.
  • ChronoReverse - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    I'll be watching prices very carefully in the upcoming months. Right now I'm still undecided as to getting an used s939 3800+, a new AM2 3800+ or getting the $160 Conroe.

    Great times ahead now that there's competition again.
  • Rebel44 - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    Yeah they will - I´m just waiting for release of new Intel´s procesors because AMD announced to lower prices of X-2´s by up to 50%:-) Reply

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