Banking on bang4buck
AMD doesn't have the products to compete with Intel's higher-end CPUs, but it does offer the lowest priced quad core out there and this is the segment of the market where there is some competition.
When we heard that AMD had dropped the prices of the Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition, Phenom X4 9550, Phenom X3 8450, we contacted Andrew Buxton who, as director of the European channel for AMD, oversees the commercial side of the processor business for AMD in Europe.
"We're mainly focused on the opening price point for each category," said Buxton, referring to the entry-level product within each category, in this case X3, X4 and Black Edition (BE) respectively.
Here are the new prices, which are slightly above the cost to distribution and are ex VAT to represent the cost to retailers and system builders:
X4 9850 BE - was $205 - now $194 - down 5.4 percent
X4 9550 - was $175 - now $154 - down 12 percent
X3 8450 - was £125 - now $104 - down 16.8 percent
AMD is, as ever, being pragmatic and fighting the fights it thinks it can win. In this case that takes the form of offering the lowest priced quad core available in the form of the 9550 and a triple core for less than Intel's cheapest Core 2 Duo. "We're providing more than dual core at dual core prices," said Buxton.
Intel's cheapest quad core is the hugely popular Q6600 at $193; its cheapest dual core with the new architecture is the 45nm E7200 at $113. There are also a couple of 65nm products at that price.
The 9850 BE is designed to be more overclockable, one of the things that has made Intel's Q6600 so popular. "There are multiple reports on the web that the 9850 BE overclocks nice and easily to 3GHz," said Buxton. The factory clock for the 9850 BE is 2.5GHz.