The worst that could happen to Phenom, has happened
When we recently reviewed AMD's Phenom X4 9850 processor, we came to the conclusion that "AMD needs to drop its Phenom X4 9850 BE processor to, say, below the £130 mark in order to provide a reasonable alternative to Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6600".
Unfortunately for AMD, it'll now need to go that extra bit lower as Intel has moved to strike the first blow. The semiconductor giant has slashed the price of its 2.40GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600 by 16 percent, taking it down from $266 to $224. In addition, its 2.66GHz Core 2 Quad Q6700 has been slashed by a substantial 50 per cent, taking it from $530 to just $266.
Make no mistake, this is not a case of Intel being generous to the consumer. This is a case of Intel taking action to largely eradicate any threat from AMD's current quad-core, and forthcoming tri-core, Phenom processors.
Prior to this round of Intel price cuts, our Phenom X4 9850 BE review stated that "HEXUS still believes Intel's Q6600 to be a better purchase". With a 16 per cent price cut, the Q6600 is now undoubtedly the processor of preference for a budget quad-core system. Indeed, the only choice remaining is which Intel quad-core processor to choose, the Q6600 or Q6700?
What can AMD do to fight back? Well, probably not a lot. AMD's tri-core Phenom X3 processors, which the company had hoped would fill the void between dual-core and quad-core, is yet to be released. Unfortunately, with Intel's quad-core processors continuing to drop in price, that void is all but gone.
AMD's 2.4GHz tri-core Phenom X3 8750 processor is expected to launch at $189, just $35 less than Intel's 2.4GHz C2Q Q6600. With such aggressive pricing, has Intel effectively ruined the Phenom X3 launch? Maybe so, we'll have the definitive answer in our forthcoming Phenom X3 8750 review.