Skip to comments.CPU Round-up: $100 - $200 Intel and AMD Processors Tested
Posted on 04/19/2010 9:07:41 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Building your own computer
The first component that must be decided upon before any build takes place is the processor, as this will dictate which motherboard can be used and often the memory type. As one of the more expensive components you must choose wisely, so think about the purpose of your build and budget. Popular CPU choices often range between $100 and $200, and surprisingly in this limited price range consumers will find a huge number of AMD and Intel offerings.
In this price bracket processors can be found operating between 2.66GHz and 3.40GHz, but the differences between these go well beyond mere frequencies. The number of cores also varies with dual-core, triple-core and even quad-core processors available within this range. Other factors play an important role as well, such as cache and the thermal design power rating.
With so many choices at your disposal, we understand it's hard not to become overwhelmed. Therefore we have taken a dozen processors priced within the $100 - $200 price range and pitted them against each other, so you can draw clear conclusions on what will suit you the best.
Keep in mind that not every processor family is being represented by its flagship model. Rather, we have taken what we feel is the best value processor for that particular series. For example, the Core i5 661 falls within our target with an asking price of $200, but instead we have gone with the Core i5 650 because we feel it is a better value option.
Towards the end of the testing phase we have also added a segment that compares all 12 processors on a clock-for-clock basis. This comparison of architectures aims to remove the operating frequency impact on performance and allows us to show you exactly how these CPUs perform side-by-side. This is particularly useful for overclockers, showing just how much difference in performance there might be between two particular processors once overclocked to a certain frequency.
Besides the processors themselves, we will be also taking under consideration the value and performance differences between the platforms used, so motherboards and chipsets will be factored into the whole equation. And now, let's meet the contenders both from the green and blue camps...
See conclusion where 555 is the winner.
great to have large Cache for browsing....seems to help with Firefox, Linux Mint , compiz with 8 desktops available and multiple tabs...usually between 20 and 50.
Thanks for posting this. I’m currently in the looking and thinking about doing a new build stage.
I’m wondering what is the best future proof CPU that will still be worthwhile 2 or 3 years down the road. Does that mean an i7 only? An i7 system is only a few hundred dollars (pennies per day over 2 or 3 years) more than a good AMD AM3 quad core right now, but what will hold up the best over a few years?
This would be mostly for multi monitor financial trading and just surfing the net. I’m not a gamer.
Let me tell you a little secret that Intel and AMD do not want people to know. The truth is the actual cost (once everything is set up which it is) to make a chip is about 3 to 4 cents (now this was in 2000). Trust me I know someone on the inside that broke it down for me. I was shocked. I don’t believe the actual cost has gone up to much 10 cents at the most. 99% of the people DO NOT know this. I can see why...
It’s a great way to go but it is the software that gets you. Unless you are willing to have 100% free/sharewaye (Ubuntu, Star Office, etc.) then by the time you are done with the most basic packages you have exceeded the cost of a simple desktop (these days about $400).
For hobbying, putting together a computer is a lot of fun.
Just noting. YMMV...
For what you’re doing, a Core2 Duo is fine; get as much RAM as you can, a decent 2 or 4 monitor video card with at least 256 MB of on-board RAM, and go with a high speed HDD instead.
I do a lot of computational work (finite element analysis) and for number crunching I prefer more RAM; machines seem to be peppier with buckets of RAM laying around, better than significantly upgrading the CPU horsepower. The CPU is often NOT the bottleneck; it’s the processors and sandbox (HDD and RAM) around the CPU that is the limiter.
“Let me tell you a little secret that Intel and AMD do not want people to know. The truth is the actual cost (once everything is set up which it is) to make a chip is about 3 to 4 cents...”
No way this is true today except possibly for small, surface mounted small scale IC’s. Just in raw silicon surface area, these processors cost more than that. And, of course, bottom line is, they are “highly processed sand”...with about $10 billion involved in the processing.
Sorry but your source has no idea what it costs to build a microprocessor.
It also costs $2B to build a fab capable of building 32nm processors.
IMHO using AMD with the AM2 socket has been a good move....
Intel has changed the socket quite a bit...
If starting right now the AM3 socket would seem to have some lifetime left.... Everyone always looks at the magazines benchmarks which always seem to do the tests that really only apple to Gamers...and then give recommendations that cost way more than needs to be spent.
Ping for later
Fry's has the 2.8 Ghz in stock and will soon start selling them for $199.
The Black processor had not yet start arriving...when I checked on Friday.
I think it will run in my MSI 770 board.
It's that (once everything is set up) that will kill you. Now come up with $3 billion to build a 300mm-wafer fab...
Then hire a bunch of engineers and technicians to run the fab ... and another bunch of E&T to design the chip ... and another bunch of E&T to test the chips ... and hire all the folks necessary to keep your company running, get materials from where they are to where they need to be ...
It's really amazing that we can get CPUs for the dirt-cheap price of $100.
We're standing on the shoulders of giants.
Does anyone ever do a Benchmark with that specific application?
I have built hundreds for special purposes for the DoD over the years and last year I finally tossed my old Slot 1 units for new AMD Dual Core CPUs on ASUS motherboards.
I know there are better but I loaded them each with 8 Gigs of DDR2 PC800 RAM, Windows XP Pro 64bit, and 500Mb 256K interface graphics cards.
My son loves his for the gaming and I have no problems processing video and photo files quickly.
They should last several years before I have to do it again.
So how do they recover the cost for a multi billion dollar fabrication plant?
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