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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [07.20.05]
Manufactured by: Intel


After looking at the performance of this $245 CPU, I have to say I am quite impressed. Dual core CPUs are more tricky to evaluate than their single core counterparts, since there is a lot more to consider. If you were to glance at the gaming results and call it a day, you wouldn't have any idea of what the P-D 820 is all about.

It is quite clear that parallelism is making a huge splash on many facets of computing. You saw what it did for the P-D in the video encoding tests. Furthermore, Futuremark gave us a nice glimpse into the benefits of multithreading with both PCMark 05 and 3DMark 05. Although the P-D is clocked at a somewhat slow 2.8 GHz, it has the potential to pull way ahead of similarly priced CPUs. And will continue to do so in the future.

Most importantly, you can build a dual core system for the same price as any single core system. AMD decided not to support the entry level market with their X2 (although it looks like they may be changing their minds, opening up to mid-level with the 3800+), and that simply opens up the avenue for Intel. If you care less about video game frame rates than video encoding frame rates, and are planning to stick with a platform for some time, the P-D is where it's at.

And I haven't even discussed mutli-tasking yet. Until now, encoding a movie while playing games on a $250 CPU was unheard of. Or burning DVD's, rendering images, compiling software, etc. Dual core opens your system up in ways you might not have imagined if you've never tried it first hand.