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Imagine this: you’re sitting in the staging lane in your shiny new
Ford F150 pickup truck ready to drag race. You’re feeling pretty good
and confident until the 10-cylinder Dodge Viper pulls along side.
Perhaps implying that you’re the fastest one around was not such a good
idea after all?

This is exactly what AMD is doing with its new Phenom II CPU, the
company’s next-generation 45-nanometer processor. It’s bringing a real
workhorse of a processor to market, but it’s lining up to challenge a
racing sports car in speed performance in Intel’s Naleham processor.


 Frank Ohlhorst

can’t help but be compared to Nehalem, Intel’s desktop performance
powerhouse, but AMD has done little to avoid that comparison by
surrounding the Phenom II with a shroud of mystery and then implying
that with overclocking the Phenom II will make it a speed king.
AMD knew that the inevitable comparisons would be made and that the
Phenom II could never outpace Nehalem, yet it still positioned the
Phenom II as the latest and greatest thing in desktop performance,
building up a groundswell of expectations.

Once the test results are made public, it will be easy to see how
the AMD Phenom II really measures up to the Nehalem, and many AMD fans
are sure to be disappointed. This won’t make Phenom II worthless. Just
as a pickup with extra horsepower is a powerful tool, we expect the
same of Phenom II. But that doesn’t make it the same as Intel’s race

When one considers the price-verses-performance argument, Phenom II
will likely cost significantly less money than anything Nehalem,
including CPU, memory and motherboard. To make sure that the Phenom II
is taken seriously, AMD needs to highlight the costs involved in
building systems with the new CPU, the CPUs performance per watt
characteristics and the savings that can be realized by using a Phenom
II over a Nehalem.

In the grand scheme of things, most desktop users aren’t looking to
be speed kings (save for the video editor or autocad engineer). They
want an affordable system that can meet their day-to-day chores
reliably and with little fuss or muss. That’s where AMD can succeed
over Intel and perhaps win at least one race.