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

  • GTVic - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    The 930 is the same except for double the cache. Why is it so much cheaper???? Reply
  • Robberbaron12 - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    Intel are dumping the 65nm netburst processors as fast as possible, so thats why they are so cheap. The 90nm smithfields are now out of production all together except for the 805 (so I hear). I assume the 65nm netburst must be being shunted to the side to make room for all those Woodcrests and Conroes on the same production lines. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I think Intel is probably about ready to halt all NetBurst production, and they have a ton of inventory to clear I would guess. Anyway, *all* of the Pentium D prices are quite nice. $140 for the 820 isn't bad either, as it will then get the faster FSB relative to the 805 for only $30 more. The 9xx series is good as well, but they all seem to OC into the 3.9-4.1 GHz range, so you might as well grab the cheapest one (930). Reply
  • eetnoyer - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    I doubt that Intel is "about ready" to stop producing netburst chips, considering that current predictions are for ~30% of shipments being C/M/W exiting the year. Unless, of course, they want to lose a bunch more market share. I'm more inclined to believe that they are flooding the market with cheap netburst chips in an attempt to hold unit share at any cost. Their gross margins for Q2 are going to be horrendous.

    By the way, would it be so hard to include clock speeds in these articles? The model numbers in many cases are almost meaningless to alot of people anymore, and will only get worse going forward. I'm pretty sure that the average reader here is more than capable of understanding the IPC differences.
  • bamacre - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I don't agree that the Pentium 805 is the most interesting Intel cpu, even with it's low price. The 940, which runs cooler and uses less power, is simply awesome at roughly $75 cheaper than the X2 3800+, and running very close to it's speeds in gaming, and beating it in almost everything else. Easily, IMO, the best bang for your buck dual core cpu.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I don't know... overclocked 920 at 4.0 GHz doesn't match an overclocked X2 3800+ at 2.6 GHz, so at least to me AMD X2 still comes out ahead in gaming performance. However, price is definitely in favor of Intel right now. I guess "most interesting" is all a matter of personal preference - for some people, FX-62 and Core 2 Extreme are probably the "most interesting". :) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I think single core will stick around, but all the 1024KB chips are going away. The question is whether Sempron chips are going to be different cores, or just Orleans with some of the L2 disabled. I wouldn't be surprised if AMD goes the disabled cache route. Reply
  • gerf - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    754 outlive 939? I remember some build reviews where 939 was only to be used because of "future upgrade choices." Ouch.

    What I wonder, is if my Averatec 6235's mobile A64 (754) can be swapped with a new Turion.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    Your best bet is to ask Averatec; there's a reasonable chance you will need a new BIOS version, but other than that it should be capable of supporting the Turion. Turion is also built using and 90 nm process where is the socket 754 Athlon 64 Mobile chips are 130 nm, so even at the same clock speed Turion should run cooler. Reply
  • gerf - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    Well, Averatec doesn't apparantly do bios updates. I'd have to check the chipset type, and find something more oem Reply

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