Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: The new AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ performed in-line with our expectations. As the highest clocked socket AM2 dual-core processor to date, the X2 6000+ was clearly faster than AMD's previous flagship AM2-based CPU, the Athlon 64 FX-62. And in some benchmarks, where the similarly clocked Quad-FX Athlon 64 FX-74's additional two execution cores weren't fully utilized, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ performed on par with the FX-74 combo. Intel's Core 2 processors, however, outperformed the X2 6000+ virtually across the board.
AMD is officially launching three new processors today; the high-end Athlon 64 X2 6000+ we've focused on here, and two less expensive, energy efficient offerings, the 45W single-core Athlon 64 3800+ and 3500+. Official pricing (in 1KU quantities) and specifications for each of these processors are as follows:
|Athlon 64 X2 6000+||3.0GHz||90nm (Dual Core)||125W||$464|
|Athlon 64 3800+ EE||2.4GHz||65nm (Single Core)||45W||$93|
|Athlon 64 3500+ EE||2.2GHz||65nm (Single Core)||45W||$88|
We'll reserve comment on the energy efficient Athlon 64 3800+ and 3500+ processors until we get a chance to test them for ourselves, but performance should be in-line with AMD's similarly clocked single-core 90nm 3800+ and 3500+ processors, with power consumption that should reflect their relatively low 45W max power ratings. We will, however, offer judgment on the Athlon 64 X2 6000+...
In comparison to all previous socket AM2 processor offerings, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ is a solid product. Its higher clock speeds make it the fastest AM2 processor ever released, which also make it the fastest desktop CPU ever to come out of AMD's fabs. In the shadow of Intel's Core 2 Duo E6700 and Core 2 Extreme X6800 processors though, the new X2 6000+ isn't quite as impressive. The Core 2 Duos consumed less power overall and performed better in just about every benchmark. AMD has priced the 6000+ aggressively, which somewhat compensates for the Core 2's higher performance. The 6000+ is almost $500 cheaper than the Athlon 64 FX-62 was when it was launched, which markedly enhances its value proposition. And it's about $60 less expensive than the Core 2 Duo E6700.
Ultimately, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ isn't fast enough to wrestle the performance crown from Intel's high-end Core 2 Duo processors, but it does push AMD's performance up a rung on the ladder. At this point it's clear that it's going to take much higher frequencies, or rather a new architecture for AMD to overtake Intel again. For now, these new price points and speed bins will put AMD on somewhat equal footing, in terms of overall value.