Top Differences between Intel Core 2 Duo and AMD Athlon Processors

By soumitra, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

intl_v_amd_1There were always a tug-of-war between AMD and Intel as it will always remain. Each company comes with their latest processor ranges and beats their rivals with either price or performance. We have always been more concerned about the name and the product rather than delving deep into the underlying technology that separates them. What makes people rely on Intel Core 2 Duo? What are the answers from AMD’s side? All these questions are answered in here. Take a look and the battle of processors won’t ever be a thing of Mars to you.

Design Differences


Intel Core 2 Duo Processors are a complete redesign of its former processors. The engineers took elements from the Pentium D NetBurst architecture and added ingredients that made the Pentium M and Core Duo mobile processors successful and made the Core 2 Duo Processor.

AMD’s processors were delivering better performance per Watt of energy at a stage when Core 2 Duo Processors did not launch, and the public was complaining about unreasonably high power consumption and cooling requirements for Intel platforms. So, key design goals of Core 2 Duo processors were an ideal relation between processing performance and power consumption.

Let us take a look at some of the key design differences.


1. Cache

On the AMD side, only the FX-62 sports 1MB of L2 cache per core. The rest of the product line offers 512KB of L2 cache per core. You can still find the Athlon 64 X2 4000+ CPUs, which clocks at 2.0GHz (same as the 3800+) and has 2 × 1MB of L2 cache, but that product isn’t being manufactured currently. Since the 4000+ is being phased out, we didn’t include it in our roundup.
On the Intel side, the two lower-end CPUs—the 1.83GHz E6300 and 2.13GHz E6400—offer only 2MB of shared L2 cache, while the E6600, E6700, and X6800 have 4MB of L2 cache.

2. CMOS Technology

AMD Athlon64 X2 processors are built on the company’s 90nm SOI process. All of Intel’s Core 2 Duo products are currently manufactured on 65nm technology. This figure is the size and spacing of the transistors on the chip which is measured in microns (1micron = 1 / 1,000,000 meters).

3. Memory Controller Chips

AMD Athlon’s memory controller is built into the CPU while in Core 2 Duo it is not.


Price Differences

From this table, you can have an idea of the pricing of different models of processors of Intel and AMD in this range

Intel Core 2 Duo        Frequency    Price           AMD Athlon 64 X2 AM2    Frequency    Price

———E6300                1.83GHz    $190                           3800+            2.0GHz        $152

———E6400                2.13GHz    $230                           4200+            2.2GHz        $187

———E6600                2.40GHz    $360                            4600+            2.4GHz        $253

———E6700                2.67GHz    $559                            5000+            2.6GHz        $346

Core 2 Extreme X6800 - 2.93GHz    $1,075                       FX-62            2.8GHz        $825

It’s worth pointing out that each increment in core clock frequency occurs in 266MHz jumps, while AMD’s steps are 200MHz.

Performance Differences

1. PC Mark 05 Benchmarking

PC Mark is a very popular benchmarking tool that is widely used.  It will measure the performance of your PC and assign each component  a score which is intended to give you relative performance of an entire system.
The AMD’s 5600+ was able to compress and decompress files up to 15% faster than Intel’s E6420.
Both processors were able to encrypt a file at the same rate, but Intel’s E6420 was able to decrypt a file about 15% faster.
As for the image and audio compression and decompression, AMD’s 5600+ was able to perform 10% faster.

2. Super Pi Performance

Super Pi is a very basic program that calculates pi at different size intervals, then records the data of pi to a file and also tells you the time that it took to achieve the value.  You are able to select sizes from 16kb to 32mb and will range in times according to the amount of data you want it to accumulate.
The Intel E6420 was able to perform better at each and every different size interval. But after the 256k interval there was no real world noticeable differences. At 32M though the difference is sizable at more than 3 and a half minutes.

3. Synthetic Benchmarking

Let us see the results using SiSoft Sandra. Sandra is an acronym for System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. Sandra is a very useful program for determining component performance as it has several other results stored for many other processors, so it is easy for you to compare your computer to others.
AMD achieved a higher ranking Processor Arithmetic, Memory Latency, and Power Performance. Intel did better in Processor Multi-Media, and Cache & Memory. Once again the integrated memory controller in the AMD 5600+ allows it a sizable lead over the E6420 in the Memory Latency benchmark, while the E6420 pulls out a win in the cache and memory with its new Core 2 microarchitecture.

Source :,



As the battle between these processor giants is going on from hard to harder every day, the winner of this battle is us, the consumers. We can get a much more powerful computer for less money than we had to spend if there were no competitor to Intel.


October 28, 2010: 1:55 am

i would like to know which to go for between the amd and intel procesors. which would you recommend for a friend.

July 28, 2010: 11:36 am

I’m happy with the Athlon 64; you’re little performance graph explained just why.

December 14, 2009: 10:03 pm

Why is Lenova Idea pad is so cheaper then Think pad,though both of them are offered from IBM. No takers for Idea Pad. Any performance Issue or more

March 19, 2009: 4:06 pm

[...] : There are many processors available from AMD and Intel. AMD Athlon and Intel Core 2 Duo are the latest processor series. They have their Pros & Cons but generally AMD processors costs [...]

March 17, 2009: 4:05 pm

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