It has been a week since a reputable source disclosed the first performance figures of Intel's upcoming Conroe processor. Not surprising these numbers raised quite a few eyebrows as they clearly showed a significant performance advantage over AMD's top-of-the-line processors. For the first time in years it looks as if Intel is back in the driver's seat, which has been AMD's for the longest time. Keeping in mind that the comparison was made between an engineering sample of this new Intel processor and an AMD system comprised of off-the-shelf parts this is genuinely impressive. But Conroe is still quite a few months away and will most likely not be available in volume until at least 2007. So what are we looking at here? And why release numbers this early in the game? Intel usually keeps their lips tightly sealed about performance until their products are launched with their traditional media onslaught.
The past few years Intel has been unable to surpass AMD in terms of performance; they even went as far as trying to change the rules of the game by aspiring to take home computing into an entirely different direction. But that is not all, they have been very clear in their communication that MHz does not really matter; it is more features that we, the end-user, want. And now all of a sudden they disclose prospective performance numbers months before their product is even announced and proclaim themselves the performance leader once more. They would only do that if they are really sure that they have a winner on their hands, otherwise they are setting themselves up for a major disappointment at launch and a significant drop in their stock price when the product does not deliver on its promises.
But there is more, they also send out a very clear signal to all those who crave the best possible performance, the message is to not buy anything until these new Intel processors are available. Either way it is doubtful Intel in any way doctored these benchmarks or is flat out lying, there is too much riding on these processors for them. Hence when you take these preliminary results and combine them with the lackluster performance of the AM2-socket we reported on a few days ago it is clear that AMD has their work cut out for them. Considering the fact that Intel's Conroe walked all over the fastest socket-939 processor AMD currently ships, the new AM2-socket has a lot riding on it for AMD's sake. Lets just hope that Intel delivers on their promises and that Conroe will be available in volume in due time. But frankly do not expect these processors to arrive before 2007, hence do not hold your breath. If you are in the market for a new high-performance PC today however, there is nothing that comes close to matching AMD's socket-939 Athlon 64 processors.