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Ads watchdog okays Intel 'world's best processor' claim

Time for a re-think?

The UK's advertising watchdog has rejected complaints that a claim made by chip giant Intel that Core 2 Duo CPUs are the "world's best processors" is false.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said today it had received seven complaints after Intel began broadcasting its latest TV ad for the Core 2 Duo, the one that invites you to "multiply your possibilities", in October 2006. The essence of the grumbles: Core 2 Duo chips are not the world's best processors. Some punters reckoned AMD's chips are better, others that Intel chips are well behind the processors found in super computers.

According to the ASA, Intel's defence against the complaints centred on the fact it and AMD control 99.3 per cent of the processor market, and it supplied the ASA with SPEC benchmark numbers that show the bottom-of-the-line Core 2 Duo E6300 out-performing AMD's Athlon 64 FX-62, which it claimed was its main competitor's highest-end processor at the time of the complaint.

"The data showed the Intel processor had a higher score for both types of benchmark, with a baseline SPEC integer score of 1939 for the Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 and 1923 for the AMD Athlon FX62. It also showed a baseline SPEC floating point result of 2048 for the Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 and 1945 for the AMD Athlon FX62," the ASA wrote in its adjudication notice.

The company also maintained the Core 2 Duo consumes less power than the AMD chip: a TDP of 65W to 120W. Intel told the ads watchdog SPEC benchmarks and TDP were both standard measures of processor performance, the ASA said today.

The chip giant also said the ads would be viewed by consumers who would assess the claim in terms of products relevant to them, and not servers, super computers or other more advanced systems.

On the basis of which, the ASA decided not to uphold the complaints, ruling that "the claim 'Intel Core 2 Duo, the world's best processors' had been substantiated and was unlikely to mislead".

More than seven months on from the complaint, AMD's FX-62 is no longer the company's fastest consumer processor, now long replaced by the FX-72 and FX-74. Do Intel's Core 2 Duo ads still claim they're the world's best processors? Well, its website said as much today when we checked, and its print and broadcast advertising may still do too.

If it receives fresh complaints, the ASA will "reconsider" its adjudication, the organisation told Register Hardware today.

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