AMD has taken some heat in the past few years for the higher costs of their processors. They used to be known for being a great buy in terms of performance and value, but lately it seems they've been only about performance. Intel has released many popular desktop processors that have wedged themselves into a market that AMD formerly was champion of. An example is the dual-core 2.66GHz processor that Intel released, which went for sale well under $200, sometimes as low as $120. That price point typically put it at less than half the cost of the cheapest AMD offering. In comparison, AMD's cheapest X2 is the 3800+, a great CPU in terms of performance, though often sold for $300 or more in retail.
AMD isn't willing to let it slide, though, and is answering back with the AMD Athlon64 X2 3600+. This new CPU, operating 200MHz slower than the 3800+ and having half the L2 cache at 256kb per core, will be the lowest priced dual-core offering that AMD has. Rumors say it is set for release in Q4 2006, though that is not for sure. It's price range will likely compete with the lower cost Intel dual-core offerings, though exact pricing information is not yet available. Intel typically plans several price cuts throughout the year, and one of them is coming up at the end of July, and that price cut will see the Pentium D 805 dip below $100. It will be tough for AMD to beat that, but let's hope they can.