With the holiday season fast approaching, and more people thinking about the purchase of a computer that has been delayed because of the economy, it may be that AMD actually wants to draw Intel into a price war. While it may or may not be good for AMD, it will certainly be great for consumers, who’ve been paying higher prices on everything else lately.

That is the thrust of an article at PC World, where the newest chips from AMD are shown to include one 6-core unit, with quad-core and dual-core units coming in at lower price points and higher speeds than previous offerings.

Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday announced inexpensive desktop microprocessors with up to six cores to put pricing pressure on rival Intel.

AMD’s new chips include the fastest AMD Phenom II X6 1075T six-core processor, which is priced "under [US]$250" for 1,000 units, AMD said. AMD also introduced a range of dual-core and quad-core Athlon II and Phenom II desktop microprocessors priced between $76 and $185.

By comparison, Intel’s cheapest six-core processor is the Core i7-970 processor, which is priced at $885 per 1,000 units, according to a price list on Intel’s website.

The 1075T chip runs at 3GHz and includes 3MB of L2 cache and 6MB of L3 cache. The chip "erases excuses for delaying your PC purchase," AMD said. The CPU is designed to bring high-performance computing and high-definition content to home computers at affordable prices, the company said.

The company also announced two unlocked Black Edition processors to give flexibility to enthusiasts to tweak chips to either perform faster or slower at lower power consumption.

The new Black Edition chips include the $185 quad-core Phenom II X4 970 BE, which runs at 3.5 GHz and includes 2MB of L2 and 6MB of L3 cache, and the $105 Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition processor, which runs at 3.3 GHz and includes 1MB of L2 and 6MB of L3 cache.

The cheapest microprocessor in the new lineup is the $76 dual-core Athlon II X2 265 processor, which runs at 3.3GHz and includes 2MB of cache.

AMD has always had a price advantage over Intel. Intel’s processors go into 80 percent of the world’s PCs, and a way for AMD to gain share over Intel is by selling chips at lower prices, which enables PC makers to build less expensive systems. Some of the cheapest desktops sold by online retailers like Office Depot and Walmart under $450 come with AMD’s Athlon or Sempron chips.

There is no doubt that AMD is the clear winner here for those shopping in the bang-for-the-buck arena, but what about supply? That has always been a place where Intel seemed to be able to weather any storm, and open the pipe whenever needed to quash any rise in output from AMD. If AMD wants to get, once again, above that 20% share of supply to the market, it is going to have to get its suppliers to really kick out the jams, and deliver high volumes derived from high yields.

I have seen nothing from AMD about massive production increases from GlobalFoundries, where the bulk of the AMD [CPU] chips are made, and TSMC is busily working on the AMD [formerly AMD/ATi] GPUs, so none of these CPUs should be coming from that facility.

There is little doubt that AMD could sell a ton of CPUs to a hungry holiday audience, but will the supply hold? That is a question I have not seen addressed in quite some time.

The average user won’t care, or know for that matter, that Bulldozer and Bobcat shipments are right around the corner (so to speak), so there will be little chance that will cause any consumer reticence at purchase time. (Besides, a cheap 6-core now is worth 2 faster ones in next years Easter basket.)


There is a strength in the union even of very sorry men.


Download Opera – A faster and more secure Web browser.

Download Opera Mini – The world’s most popular mobile Web browser.