Deal of the week: Quad-core bargains

— 5:32 PM on February 5, 2010

As a horde of processors finishes sweating away deep in the bowels of Damage Labs, the transformation of quad-core processors into commodity items seems more striking than ever. Scott has been comparing newer offerings to the Core 2 Quad Q6600, which was Intel's cheapest quad-core CPU when it debuted at $851 almost three years ago. Today, that part takes a beating from quad-core Athlon II X4s selling for around just $100.

AMD's budget quad-core lineup looks more formidable than ever now the Athlon II X4 635 has pushed its siblings down the price ladder, too:

Processor Speed L2 cache TDP Price
Athlon II X4 620 2.6GHz 2MB 95W $95.99
Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHz 2MB 95W $108.99
Athlon II X4 635 2.9GHz 2MB 95W $125.99

The Athlon II X4 630 looks particularly interesting, because its 200MHz clock speed advantage over the 620 model comes at a very small price premium. The 635 only gets you another 100MHz over that, which may or may not be worth the extra 18 bucks (including shipping), depending on your budget.

Of course, the playing field here isn't devoid of interesting Intel alternatives. The $124.99 Core i3-530 may have only two cores, but with Hyper-Threading functionality and much lower power consumption, it's a highly capable and very power-efficient alternative.

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