The enduring Intel-Advanced Micro Devices desktop PC rivalry may be hitting a ceiling at the very high end where adding processor cores doesn't always translate to better performance.
On Tuesday, AMD announced the six-core Phenom II X6 1075 processor, priced at only $250, adding to its stable of six-core desktop chips. And Intel has its well-received but much pricier Core i7 980X and 970, among other six-core processors.
All of this means more choice at the high end for consumers, but are those extra cores really necessary? Do the newest six-core systems, such as the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-460z series and Dell Studio XPS 9100, offer an appreciable spike in performance? (Note: this same argument can be applied, to some degree, to dual-core versus quad-core systems.)
I asked a couple of experts for their opinions.
Rich Brown, senior editor, desktops at CNET Reviews. For most consumers, six-core CPUs will be overkill. Few apps will really use all six cores well, and the trade-off tends to be slower performance on the apps that don't use them.… Read more