Pentium Extreme Edition 955 vs. Athlon 64 FX-60

Deathmatch at $1K
— 2:32 AM on January 10, 2006

INTEL HAS JUST RECENTLY unleashed its latest desktop processor, the Pentium Extreme Edition 955, armed with a fistful of new technologies that sound mighty intimidating on a spec sheet. Intel manufactures this CPU using its brand-new 65nm process tech, and the Extreme Edition 955 sports dual processor cores with a higher clock speed, a larger cache, and faster bus than its predecessor. Not only that, but this new processor gets support from the also-new 975X chipset, Intel's first stab at core logic with a proper dual eight-lane PCI Express configuration for use with dual-graphics solutions like ATI's CrossFire. All told, the Extreme Edition 955 sounds like a formidable presence on paper, and it backs up that rep in person with better performance than any other desktop chip Intel has produced to date.

The Extreme Edition's stellar resume isn't likely to intimidate AMD, because Athlon 64 processors have been outperforming Intel's CPUs for a good while now. Just to be sure, though, AMD has cooked up its own new flagship CPU for release today, the Athlon 64 FX-60. The FX-60 isn't as flashy as Intel's new number, but it does represent a major change for AMD's high-end gaming-oriented processors, because it is the first dual-core member of the FX product line.

Now, these two new thousand-dollar processors face one another in our broad suite of performance tests, ranging from highly multithreaded 64-bit rendering applications to the latest games. Thanks to new multithreaded graphics drivers, these new dual-core CPUs may even challenge their single-core counterparts for supremacy in 3D gaming. Let's see whether the boffo specs on Intel's new 65nm Extreme Edition processor translate into a credible challenge for the dual-core FX-60.

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