Friday, March 02, 2007

Tech Link (Processor): AMD Athlon64 X2 5200+ vs Intel Core 2 Duo E6400

This is a cheat post :) done on Saturday, March 03. But hey, I have to make up for the days I haven't posted since I was out on vacation. Anyway, enjoy this head to head review by LegionHardware.

It is amazing to think that the Athlon64 X2 processors are now 2 years old while the original Athlon64 architecture is 4 years old. For so many years the Athlon64 processors made Intel’s numerous versions of the Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors look somewhat silly. Only in the last 7 months or so has Intel been able to take the performance crown from AMD. Of course, to do so they had to completely redesign the Core 2 architecture from the ground up and while the result is incredibly impressive, it hardly makes the existing AMD processors look silly.
Of course the Athlon64 X2 5200+ was never meant to cost just $220 US, especially in the first quarter of 2007, but for obvious reasons it does. Even though the 5200+ never won a gaming benchmark it was able to match the E6400 on a number of occasions. Given the age of the Athlon64 X2 this is a tremendous achievement and although the 5200+ does have a fair clock advantage, it is still rated at well below 3.0GHz! These Athlon64 X2 processors will have to do for now, as backup is not expected until 2008 and even then AMD does not expect a speedy transition to their new platform.

AMD has done a lot for the industry and even more for the consumer and this is something everyone should recognize. Unfortunately, the only mistake made by AMD over the years that has hurt the consumers is their crazy need to re-invent new sockets. The Athlon64 started life as a 754-pin processor and then after everyone purchased one, AMD quickly migrated to a 939-pin socket. At the same time they managed to pull off a big juggling act between the 939-pin and 940-pin platforms before they became one when the AM2 socket was introduced. This also saw the demise of the 754-pin socket which was still being used by the Sempron processors.

For the moment at least the AM2 platform is a safe option uniting Opteron, Sempron and all Athlon processors. So given the option between the Core 2 Duo E6400 and Athlon64 X2 5200+ which would you choose? Personally I would still go with the Core 2 Duo as it really is a remarkable processor series. As I have stated in the past when on a tight budget, I would select the E6300 and if funds allow the E6600 would be my high-end option. However, if you have a similar budget to that of my friends which allows for a $220 US processor, the E6400 is a fine option.

While I would chose the E6400 based on the results seen here today, my friend still went with the Athlon64 X2 5200+ and with reason. As I said earlier, he wanted a high-end ASUS motherboard, preferably something that supports SLI should he choose that path, and a Nvidia chipset was a must. If he was to purchase the E6400 the ASUS P5N32-E SLI was the number one choice and with a price tag of $250 US it would have cost more than the processor. Therefore by going with the 5200+ he was able to pick up the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe for just $180 US. At the end of the day the performance difference between these two processors is quite limited.

The reason I would chose the Core 2 Duo processor is because I am always seeking the very best performance for my dollar. This is what the Core 2 Duo delivers and given there are relatively cheap motherboard solutions out there, I see no reason not to purchase a Core 2 Duo processor. Both platforms have matured to a point now where building a system based on either can suit a number of budgets. Overall, I must admit I am amazed at how cheap the Athlon64 X2 processors have become and how well they compete with the Core 2 Duo’s at their price point!

Source:AMD Athlon64 X2 5200+ vs Intel Core 2 Duo E6400

No comments: