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AMD Releases Budget Dual-Core Athlon 64 X2

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the putting-pressure dept.

AMD 24

TheRaindog writes "AMD has bolstered its dual-core processor lineup with a more affordable dual-core Athlon 64 X2 3800+ that will sell for only $354. Despite its comparatively low 2.0GHz clock speed and only 512KB of L2 cache per core, the X2 3800+ is often faster than Intel's fastest dual-core chips, including the $999 Pentium Extreme Edition 840. The new X2's incredibly low power consumption is also impressive, especially when compared with that of power-hungry Pentium D processors that consume 50-90% more power under load."

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In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13212688)

Cores Dual YOU!

a step (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13212712)

The problem right now is there is just not enough of a gain to justify buying a dual core chip for the average consumer .
They are generally outperformed by chips which cost a lot less (except in programs which can make use of the SMP set up) .SMP will start to take hold in the future and more and more programs will be optimised for an SMP set up but this leaves us with a catch

People won't make user level programs optimised for SMP till SMP systems have a sizeable market share.
People won't buy dual core chips till there are programs which can use them .

  they see no reason to spend the money on this when an ordinary chip they can buy now will perform better and a SMP processor they can buy when SMP is common will be faster and cheaper.

Bringing the price of these chips down should help a lot . If AMD and Intel are betting their future lines on dual core they will need to take a load of risks on pricing to get the idea out.

but why would any normal consumer want this chip when they can have a similarly clocked Athlon 64 for about half the price though. This although a really great cheap dual core chip is not cheap enough to win mind share IMHO . It will get the enthusiast market I'm sure but until Dual core chips cost around 200(or less) that is where they will stay(consumer level i mean , server and workstation is another debate).

Having said that , I am tempted to get one of these , I use linux as one of my main OS(that OS X and Solaris sparc) So I'm fairly sure i could see instant benefits with an SMP kernel and some tweaking .
Th

They *will* see an improvement! (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13212765)

Given what your average person does with a computer, they are in fact running many background tasks at any given time. On a Windows XP box being run by anyone normal, you'll probably find some sort of system software (anti-virus, Windows Update, Windows Firewall and/or ZoneAlarm), some sort of P2P software (hopefully Shareaza ;-), maybe some email software, and a game running over all of it. If they're media nuts, it's possible they're ripping a CD, encoding some files, and/or recording a TV show off a tuner card.

Basically Dell and co. should advertise dual-core not as "Run a few specially designed apps faster, and everything else the same!" but as "Do two things at once without skipping a beat!", e.g. you can rip and encode music, run P2P, etc... without having games lag.

Of course, just like with CPU speed and hard drive space, programmers with über-fast boxen will ensure that their software expands to fill the available resources, and in 2 years we will be looking for quad-core chips so we can run 2 dual-threaded apps at once! ;-)

Re:They *will* see an improvement! (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13212853)

The average consumer basically uses the computer to perhaps write school/uni/office work , check e-mails ,maybe copy/burn a CD, browse the internet , maybe listen to music now and then and perhaps play the odd game. For almost all of those things a Dual core system is over kill .
As part of my work I do on occasion advise companies and private individuals on systems .
I do not make money on selling the systems , I make money on the consultancy .

I have spoken to managers who spout to me a bunch of computer jargon they have no idea the meaning of , explaining to me how a sales man had told them that their office computers will need 3Ghz processors with 1GB of ram for simple office work. totally prepared to throw out their old systems and upgrade. Same for many of the normal folks i speak to , They have walked into some PC shop and been advised that their 1Ghz pentium 3 is far too slow for modern e-mail browsing and using an office program.
There are only a few reasons i will advise people to upgrade.
1:) If someone comes to me wanting a games/video editing/multi media hub system to do all the latest and greatest I will be all to happy to help them set it up(advising a suitable set up , OSS if i can).
If their system is on its last legs i will also advise an upgrade
or if considerable gains can be made from power saving or work efficiency
Right now i just don't see any reason to advise a dual core chip , bar of course for audio video work , development and certain types of servers.

Sure many people have multiple tasks running in the background , my first job would be to advise them what they really need , If they run windows i normally advise a anti-virus program , they normally take up a tiny amount of resources and you would hardly notice the absence and a firewall on many occasions. but honestly for most people burning a CD and ripping a movie is something they hardly ever do(in the case of a movie , if ever) so you can't justify the extra cash for an activity like this.even a virus scan is something done about once a month.
For your average windows gamer , your far better off getting a faster single core chip as well .

Re:They *will* see an improvement! (1)

Linus Torvaalds (876626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13213227)

I have spoken to managers who spout to me a bunch of computer jargon they have no idea the meaning of , explaining to me how a sales man had told them that their office computers will need 3Ghz processors with 1GB of ram for simple office work. Same for many of the normal folks i speak to , They have walked into some PC shop and been advised that their 1Ghz pentium 3 is far too slow for modern e-mail browsing and using an office program.

But this isn't about tripling the processor speed to get faster apps. This is about adding one extra processor to get more responsive apps. I don't care about being able to encode a CD 10% faster. I care about my system being laggy when I do it at the same time as playing a game - something you've already described as typical home user tasks.

Sure many people have multiple tasks running in the background , my first job would be to advise them what they really need

What's more relevant here - what you think home users really need, or whether or not these chips are worthwhile for what home users actually do?

There's a difference between software packages and software processes too. Install Windows and an anti-virus package, and you'll have a couple of dozen background processes, not just two. Add in typical spyware, their email app, their IM app, MS Office background stuff, the usual applets installed from driver CDs and... oh yeah whatever it is they happen to want to do, and that's a lot of processes all contending for the same CPU.

This is most noticable in applications that need to run in realtime - playing DVDs, playing games, etc, but it makes the whole system feel laggy because the UI is competing with a hell of a lot of other stuff just in order to run. This is why the dual core processors are such a boost, even though they clock at a much lower rate than normal processors.

Re:They *will* see an improvement! (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13213497)

Sure Dual core would speed them up , but not by anything close to justify paying twice the price for the processor . There in is my argument ,The advantages do not out weigh the negatives.
Sure you will have a more responsive system whilst doing multiple heavy duty tasks , but ordinary users do not do many heavy duty tasks at the same time .
Background process such as AV programs whilst consuming a fair amount of resources during a scan are negligible during regular monitoring tasks.
Sure if your an enthusiast or power user then I'm fairly sure you will benefit greatly from a dual core chip.
however , your average user will likely not notice that much of a difference just yet.

I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13219841)

Sure a honda civic will get you from point A to point B with good gas mileage, but it is nothing near the experience of driving a nissan maxima.

Point is, my home users are always complaining about slow downs which are typically related to background tasks they are unaware of. Dual core will make the entire experience that much more positive for MANY people. What price will people pay to have their computer not annoy them at times? That will vary from user to user, but in a substantial amount of cases, IMO, it would be worth a couple hundred bucks more.

Re:They *will* see an improvement! (1)

theapodan (737488) | about 9 years ago | (#13220020)

Look to the future though, with Vista coming out, and increasing loads put on the system by running other cpu and io intensive GUI's, multicore does and will provide acceptable performance. Being able to offload the OS to a second core increases responsiveness in general.

I used to have a dual pentium pro that was slick as butter on a hot ass in July that was better than any pentium 2.

So look to the future, as well as the now.

Memo to Steve Jobs... (1)

speights_pride! (898232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13212813)

Look at our lovely dual cores. Yours Sincerely AMD

No kidding. dual lower wattage cores, even. (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#13213243)

I didn't have a problem with Apple dumping Power architecture as much as the idea that, by going with Intel, they will turn their backs on HyperTransport and AMD's excellent use of it. Apple could try to steal Dell's shoes if they'd come out with desktops with that kind of power and AMD under the hood.

I really have to wonder if Intel's choice wasn't so much the pretense of "power per watt" as much as it was Steve Jobs taking offense at the shade of green in the AMD logo, or something. I'm not flaming; I want Apple to succeed -- my mini is my main box now. I just seem immune to the (worst of) the RDF. That, and my other box is an Athlon XP :)

Re:No kidding. dual lower wattage cores, even. (1)

corrosive_nf (744601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214715)

Once again, AMD wouldnt be able to provide enough chips for Apple. They can barely make enough now.

Re:No kidding. dual lower wattage cores, even. (1)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214845)

The choice of Intel was about DRM and "trusted computing". AMD's low volumes didn't help their case either.

Re:No kidding. dual lower wattage cores, even. (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#13217688)

The choice of Intel was about DRM and "trusted computing". AMD's low volumes didn't help their case either.


Hmm. TC over power. So much for the customers' best interests.

hrmmm (1)

dabug911 (714069) | more than 8 years ago | (#13212876)

wonder if i could build a rotissary (sp?) into my computer case and just put in dual core xeons, recycle power. hrmm, might have to give amd a chance after seeing this.

I refuse to purchase a CPU over 250$ US ever again (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13213269)

I know this might sound silly but considering the speed technology moves, my age and lifestyle - I can't afford anymore to spend 1000$ US a year upgrading my PC just as a hobby.

I love them sure and have done for years but the time for hardware companies to make a mint in high priced low volume items is in my opinion ending rapidly.

I'm sure there's a lot of other guys out there like me who are now over 25 and have a good rig or two, maybe a laptop and a nice TV that kind of thing and just don't truely see where there'd be any benefit in spending over 350$ US on an incrimental CPU upgrade alone (let alone board, ram, new pci-e video card etc)

Sure I'll get these parts and heck I could easily afford them but I just can't prioritise them like I used to.

If I were in the process of chosing an upgrade right now AND if my PC were substantially slower then I might consider this chip, but really 250$ is just that mental sweet spot I have difficulty accepting without cringing.

I've currently got a Pentium 4, 3ghz - it's got to be 12 or 18 months old - yet nothing seems to drastically blow this machine away at all.
I mean sure there's CPU's which are 50% faster again - but are they worth 350$ US ?
Also why buy one? - despite it being 50% faster, these benchmarks actually make it look worse if you ask me.
Sure the bar's on the chart look sinister, since I'm at the bottom of the chart nowadays, but if you look more closely the SLOWEST things on the benchmark still are damned snappy, like the slowest benchmarks seem to be 50+ frames a second for games etc..

It's a great time to be a buyer - just sit back and wait as far as I'm concerned - sooner or later the right prices will come to you.

Re:I refuse to purchase a CPU over 250$ US ever ag (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13213310)

Sure I'll get these parts EVENTUALLY,.. (whoops)

Re:I refuse to purchase a CPU over 250$ US ever ag (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 9 years ago | (#13219199)

I mean sure there's CPU's which are 50% faster again - but are they worth 350$ US ?

Processors are fast enough now that it's easy to wait for a 2x performance boost over a period of 4 or so years before upgrading.

Plus you've got to remember, this thing is two CPUs. I've been running my Dual MP 1800+ for almost 4 years now (Actually XPs with some conductive paint). A dual core 3800+ for $300 seems like a bargain to me. More than twice the performance for less money than I paid for what I've got. Near top-of-the-line SMP has never been cheaper.

Re:I refuse to purchase a CPU over 250$ US ever ag (1)

lobotomy (26260) | about 9 years ago | (#13219804)

I know the feeling. I gave up long before you, though: my PC is an 800 MHz P-III. I also bought a used 1.1 GHz ThinkPad. They do me just fine. There are a few times I wish I had something faster, but I just cannot justify the expense. My kids have a 3.2 GHz P-4. We had to get that to be able to play current games. Me, I don't need anything that fast since I think the pinnacle of computer games was Zork.

Someday I will upgrade -- but not this year.

a good way to get this mainstream (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 8 years ago | (#13213388)

would be to ONLY offer dual-core CPUs. If my only choice is a dual-core, I'll definitely buy one. In fact, you don't even need to advertise heavily it is a dual-core chip. And if you more or less stop making single-core processors, the average consumer won't know the difference. This would give a true mandate to the technology and accelerate development of applications that take advantage of SMP.

Re:a good way to get this mainstream (1)

DeathPenguin (449875) | more than 8 years ago | (#13215944)

You don't by chance work for Microsoft, do you?

Re:a good way to get this mainstream (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 8 years ago | (#13215998)

You don't by chance work for Microsoft, do you?

hehe, no. I don't work for any software or hardware company.

I do still think it's a viable route towards pushing SMP, though. It's most likely how Apple would've handled dual-core processors in their product lines had they stayed with PowerPC, and will handle it with the switch away from IBM CPUs.

Re:a good way to get this mainstream (2, Interesting)

Pranadevil2k (687232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13218165)

It's different for Apple. If Apple had stuck with PowerPC, there'd be no choice for your PPC chip other than what Apple decided to put in their G# PCs. For AMD to only offer SMP processors would be suicide. With as low market share as they have, they simply can't afford to drop more than half their product line in order to push the technological envelope. Intel, with money literally falling out of their assholes, can stand to take this risk and can probably bully enough OEMs to only carry dual core chips that it would make a significant difference. AMD doesn't have that kind of power at this time. Their main market is the tech enthusiast, the hobby guy who likes to build computers, and the guy with too much money who buys everything on the bleeding edge. They have almost no OEM support, and retailers carry very few AMD powered products as well. In short, if AMD were Intel, they could do it, and it could work. If AMD were Apple, they could do it, and it could work. If AMD is in fact AMD, however, it just isn't a viable option.

Re:a good way to get this mainstream (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | about 9 years ago | (#13221476)

Except AMD actually has a decent amount of "marketshare" (a nebulous concept), and are increasing their shipments quarterly.

Re:a good way to get this mainstream (1)

Pranadevil2k (687232) | about 9 years ago | (#13224702)

If you call 10% of the market (that is, the mainstream commercial market) a 'decent amount,' then yes, they have a decent amount. Unfortunately Intel dominates a good 70-75% with IBM and the likes taking whatever bits are left.
And barring any significant changes from the Intel/AMD lawsuit, Intel can still bully OEMs into keeping 90% Intel stock and not advertising AMD products. If AMD went solely dual core, OEMs would most likely drop them entirely because costs would be too high and Intel could backhand them for carrying cooler stuff than Pentium Ds.
AMD just doesn't have the economic sway that would allow them to do what you propose.
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