Just a few days ago, the only type of processor you could expect to get for below $100 had only two cores. Well, AMD changed the game earlier this week with its new Athlon II X4 processors.
You can now purchase the quad-core Athlon II X4 620 for $99 with free shipping at Newegg. This processor runs at 2.6GHz with 2MB of L2 cache, a 95W thermal envelope, and hardware virtualization capabilities. You can put it in either Socket AM2+ or AM3 motherboards with either DDR2 or DDR3 memory, as well.
According to AnandTech's review, the X4 620's performance nearly matches that of Intel's $150 Core 2 Quad Q8200—the two are so close that the Q8200 "simply doesn't make any sense." AMD's new baby isn't a bad overclocker, either; Anand was able to push his sample to a cool 3.25GHz without so much as a voltage increase.
Chuck in a little microATX motherboard based on AMD's new 785G chipset with Radeon HD 4200 graphics ($79.99), add four gigs of DDR2 RAM ($52.99), and you have yourself a nice little quad-core upgrade for just over $230. Definitely a tempting deal, especially for heavy multitaskers on a budget.
Speaking of upgrades, we're still letting readers enter our Core i7-870 gaming PC giveaway. You have until Tuesday at midnight, so sign up now if you haven't already!