When AMD launched its quad-core Phenom 9500 and 9600 processors in November, the company priced them at a respective $251 and $283—enough to match the 9600 to Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6600. The 9600 wasn't a flawless opponent to the Q6600 to begin with, but with the advent of the TLB patch (which AMD has advised motherboard makers to force on by default in their latest BIOSes), it is at a significant performance disadvantage compared to Intel's cheapest quad-core offering.
Perhaps in light of this problem, pricing for Phenom chips seems to have quietly gone down at some online retailers. Newegg currently prices the Phenom 9500 at $199.99 and the Phenom 9600 at $245.99, while Mwave lists respective prices of $205 and $245 for the same chips. Other sites we checked still list the old prices, but this drop at two prominent online retailers suggests AMD may have updated its pricing strategy.
With the TLB patch applied, AMD's Phenom 9600 is about 30% slower than the Core 2 Quad Q6600 according to our benchmarks. The price drop makes it 12-13% cheaper, which isn't a terrible deal—especially not for folks who already have a compatible Socket AM2+ motherboard. The $199.99 Phenom 9500 is probably more interesting, though, since it's the only sub-$200 quad-core chip around at the moment and ends up around 30% cheaper than the Q6600. We don't yet know how it performs with the TLB patch applied, though.