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AMD edges Intel in early dual-core benchmarks

Benchmarking sites find that Athlon 64 X2 chips generally edge out the Intel Pentium D and the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition.

Advanced Micro Devices was second in coming to market with a dual-core desktop chip, but it's first in benchmark scores, according to sites that test the chip.

Both Anandtech and Tom's Hardware--two hardware benchmarking sites--have published reports stating that, in their own tests, the dual-core Athlon 64 X2 chips generally edge out the Intel Pentium D and the dual-core Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, although the results vary by the tests.

Anandtech found that the fastest dual-core Athlon, the 4800+, and often other dual-core Athlons, typically outperformed the Intel chips on tests for single applications, such as running Adobe Photoshop or DivX.

In multitasking tests, however, the Intel chips often edged out the equivalent AMD processors. In these tests, AMD chips outscored Intel on multitasking trials that involved games, but Intel had an advantage in tests involving Web surfing or burning DVDs.

The tester at Tom's Hardware, meanwhile, came to similar conclusions, but generally gave slightly higher marks to the AMD chip, noting that the dual-core Athlon also consumes less energy.

"If we had to recommend a single-core processor, the choice would depend greatly on the type of applications in use. But in the dual-core arena, though, there is not much that speaks for Intel: Go with the Athlon 64 X2," the reviewer concluded.

Still, the sites also cautioned against consumer euphoria. The dual-core Athlon chips range in price from $537 to $1,001, substantially more than most desktop chips on the market, while Intel's are mostly in the $241 to $530 range, with one $999 chip. Tight supplies also mean that few computers with the chips will be available until later in the year.