Sunnyvale (CA) – The competition between AMD and Intel may appear to have calmed down a bit over recent months, but the retail market shows every sign that a new battle has begun: Following the dual-core fight, it now appears that triple-cores in fact are increasing the pressure on dual-core PCs and quad-core PCs have officially arrived in the mainstream.
For about half a year it seemed like entry-level quad-core PCs were stuck in the $800 to $1000 range, with Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q6600 controlling supply and demand. But suddenly we are seeing a whole new dynamic in this market. Large retail chains are selling what we would consider cheap multi-core processor systems that are competing with some aging dual-core systems still in inventory and are pushing more up-to-date dual-core PCs below $500 and even into the sub-$300 segment.
Newegg is currently selling a Gateway PC (without monitor) using AMD’s triple-core Phenom 8400 processor for $530 (the same PC is available at Circuit City for $580 and for $550 at Best Buy). Circuit City is also offering a Gateway quad-core Phenom 9500 computer for $580 as well as ZT Systems Intel Q6600 PC for $600. The product lineups in fact are somewhat confusing as older dual-core computers, such as systems with AMD’s Athlon X2 CPUs are overlapping into the quad-core price level and are, in some cases, actually more expensive than newer processors with more cores.
At Best Buy, the AMD triple-core is the cheapest desktop computer you can buy at this time and there are no dual-core PCs available through its online store at this time. Circuit City still carries dual-core PCs, which, however are mostly entry-level systems and are priced as low as $299.99 for an Intel E2160 system.
With the exception of the Q6600 model at Circuit City, Intel quad-core PCs are substantially more expensive than AMD models. Systems without monitors are available from $850 (Q6600) to $1100 (Q9300) at Best Buy.
Triple-core CPUs have actually been launched to help AMD compete with Intel’s dual-core processors. And so far they appear to be working very well. And if you are looking into building your own triple-core system, it looks like you can pick up a triple-core 8400 processor for about $150 right now, while the quad-core 9500 has just dropped below $200 at some stores.
Intel’s quad-core processors remain more expensive, according to Pricegrabber.com. The Q6600 is selling for an average of $268, with a low of $216 today, while the Q6700 version is, following the most recent price drop, available for an average of $322 and a low of $275.