Santa Clara (CA) – Intel introduced six new Core 2 Duo variants, bringing the total for notebooks and desktop PCs to 29 different models: The Core 2 Extreme X7800 is the new flagship of the mobile CPU portfolio, new 2.66 GHz and 3 GHz quad-core desktop processors as well FSB 1333 dual-core chips extend the mainstream product line. Price cuts ring in a new round in the price war with AMD.
Intel is showing off its firepower with half a dozen new processors which extend the company’s performance lead both in the mobile and desktop space. The new X7800 is the first “Extreme” mobile processor that has adopted the enthusiast-aimed brand from the firm’s desktop CPUs. The CPU, clocked at 2.6 GHz, is the first of two expected versions, with an X7900 (2.8 GHz) expected to follow later on.
According to Intel, the power consumption of the processor climbs to 44 watts, up from the 35 watt power envelope of other Core 2 Duo T-series processors. The company also claims that the chip is “the world’s highest-performing mobile processor,” which shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Intel has been offering the fastest mobile processors for quite a while. AMD has not claimed that title with any of its mobile processors yet and recently declined to comment on whether the upcoming Griffin mobile processor will be able to challenge the performance of Intel’s 65 nm Merom cores or 45 nm Penryn cores in 2008.
Intel noted that it will be offering a “battery friendly” quad-core processor for notebooks next year.
For the desktop, Intel introduced its FSB1333 upgrade for Core 2 Duo E-series. The upgraded chips of the E6x50 series include the E6850 (3.0 GHz), E6750 (2.66 GHz) and E6550 (2.33 GHz). There is also a new FSB1333 quad-core chip for gamers (QX6850, 3.0 GHz) and a FSB1066 quad-core for the upper mainstream (Q6700, 2.66 GHz).
These new processors come with a somewhat unexpected steep price drop, which is likely to increase the pressure on AMD once again. Let’s have a look at a current list of tray-prices (1000-units) as well as retail prices:
Intel C2Q/D DT processors AMD X2 desktop processors Model Tray Retail Model Tray Retail QX6850 999 N/A FX-74 599 668 QX6800 1199* 1304 FX-72 599 N/A QX6700 999 919 6000+ 178 174 Q6700 530 N/A 5600+ 157 152 Q6600 530* (266**) 471 5200+ 136 128 E6850 266 N/A 5000+ 125 133 X6800 999 975 4800+ 115 129 E6750 183 N/A 4600+ phased out 106 E6700 316* 323 4400+ 94 97 E6600 224* 223 4200+ 83 116 E6550 163 N/A 4000+ 73 N/A E6420 183* 184 3800+ phased out 68 E6400 183* 182 3600+ phased out 66 E6320 163* 162 BE-2350 91 N/A E6300 163* 163 BE-2300 86 N/A E4400 133* 138 E4300 113* 127 E2160 84* 95 E2140 74* 85
* Price before anticipated price reduction
** Price after anticipated price reduction
Intel is using its quad-core processors to dominate the segment of upper mainstream processors between $300 and $600. The prices of the E6x50 series suggest that another big price drop for the E6000/4000 series is on its way, which could mean that AMD’s latest dramatic price adjustment may not enough. While the E6850 is priced significantly above the fastest AMD X2 CPU, the E6750, which is expected to offer superior performance when compared to the 6000+, is priced in the neighborhood of AMD’s fastest mainstream processor. Next down, the E6550 undercuts the tray price of the 6000+ by 9%.
Volumes in the enthusiast arena are low, but Intel has put a lot of effort in pulling gamers on its side and establishing itself in this prestigious and emotion-filled market segment. Currently there are four processor versions that are selling in the $1000 range, three of which are quad-core CPUs. AMD still cannot match Intel in this field with the 4x4 processors FX-72 and FX-74 trailing Intel in volume, performance and price.
Intel’s latest Core 2 Duo salvo highlights once more that AMD will need competitive Phenom X2 and Phenom X4 processors rather sooner than later.