There is one battle AMD will win and that's pricing, particularly since it dropped its prices. You can now pick up some of the new AM2 processors for less than half the price it would have cost you a week ago. Cost is always a factor that you have to take into account and a bargain is still a bargain. I very much doubt anyone would complain about the performance you get from current processors, be it from Intel or AMD. The Core 2 Duo processors won't come cheap right away, so if you're on a budget, a Pentium D or an AMD processor that was out of your price range last week might not be so now.
As a rough bangs-for-buck measure we matched each CPU's published price against its SYSMark and PCMark scores. The $999 Core 2 Extreme delivers more points per dollar (or pound) than the $827 FX-62, but only just: 7.91 PCMark points to 7.51, 0.387 SYSMark points to 0.330 for every dollar spent on the chip. Had AMD not cut the FX-62's price recently, it would have scored just 6.22 and 0.280.
The $550 E6700 was better, scoring 13.66 and 0.664, this way, but the now $316 Pentium D scored 19.97 and 0.823. Ignore the 960's price cut, made today and it would have scored 11.90 and 0.491.
The entry-level Core 2 Duo processor is quite affordable and should still offer plenty performance for your money if you're set on the latest Intel processor. And judging from reports on other websites, the Core 2 Duos are very overclocker-friendly if this is your cup of tea.
There's no doubt that Intel is back with a bang. A very big bang. The Core 2 Duo processor is Intel's most important product in a very long time and it proves that Intel is serious about the processor market. For the time being it doesn't look like AMD has anything but pricing to compete with, but the company's on a roll and promising not only quad-core chips but a next-generation architecture of its own. The fight between the arch-rivals is going to get very fierce over the next few years at least.
For now, you, the consumer, are the winner. From today, you can get a much more powerful computer for less money than you had to spend yesterday. ®