Round 7: Price vs. performance
Which CPU has the most juice per dollar?
Our price-vs.-performance chart shows just how much performance you're getting per dollar spent. We based our price figures on the suggested prices from each company, but that strategy has a caveat: For AMD, the X2-series chips have per-individual-unit pricing, which you can read for yourself here
. Intel, on the other hand, provides only a suggested equivalent price of a chip as if it was purchased in a 1,000-unit lot
. And of course both of those listings are estimates of what you'll really find in the market, so while we used the vendor-provided figures for the sake of consistency, we suggest you shop around.
Price vs. performance
Given the provided prices then, it's plain that Intel can afford to put its 80 percent market share to good advantage, at least with the low-end chips that most people are likely to purchase. At a suggested price of $241, the Pentium D 820 chip is the least expensive of the bunch. But while lower is generally better on such a scale, keep in mind the balance between the two ratings. The best bang for the buck in our minds is the $507 AMD Athlon 64 XS 4400+, which beat the $530 Intel Pentium D 840 on five of our six tests. And on the high end, the $803 AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ is the decisive winner, easily taking out the $999 Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 (which, incidentally, we couldn't find for less than $1,029). Winner: AMD