For example, let's take the Phenom X3 8750 which costs $195. This triple-core processor is just $20 cheaper than its quad-core version the Phenom X4 9750. With such an insignificant difference in price, is it worth sacrificing the extra core? Sure, the quad-core was only slightly faster in most of the tests, but we are not talking about much money here either. I guess it is nice to have the option, but it is hardly necessary.
The Phenom X3 8650 probably makes the most sense at $165. It is 100Mhz slower than the 8750 which made almost no difference in many of our tests. There are a number of high quality Intel processors that actually cost less, such as the Core 2 Duo E6550 ($160), the Intel Core 2 Duo E4700 ($140), and the list goes on. But possibly the biggest threat to the Phenom X3 8650 is AMD's own 3.2GHz Athlon 64 X2 6400+ ($160), which we imagine could punish the new triple-core processor given how the Athlon64 X2 5200+ performed.
On that note, with the current pricing structure of the Athlon64 X2 series, you have to wonder how many users slugging it out on the AM2 platform are going to view the Phenom X3 as a worthy upgrade. Finally, the Phenom X3 8450 which sports a 2.10GHz clock speed, really struggled to stand aside of the Athlon64 X2 5200+ which is a mere $100 a piece versus the triple-core's $135.
The same lack of software support for quad-core processors that has been hurting the Core 2 Quad and Phenom X4 now also plagues the Phenom X3.
Then we have the recent wave of Intel price cuts which have made matters worse for AMD.
Given the current pricing scheme of the Phenom X3 and Phenom X4 processors, the Phenom X4 9850 seems to be the only processor that really makes any sense buying considering what the competition can offer. And please do not get us wrong, the Phenom X3 has all the potential to become a favorite while we transition into multi-core optimized software, but AMD has to be much more aggressive first before the X3 can make some real impact in the marketplace.
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