This is our first chance to put brand-new AMD and Intel systems head to head. And if you think that the processor is the only crucial factor in a modern-day PC, you're in for a surprise.
By the time you read this, the Intel and AMD production lines will be churning out their latest processors, but as PC Advisor October 06 went to press, Intel Core 2 Duo chips were in short supply. So much so that, a month after our first report on the new technology, only Evesham was able to get us a fully working Conroe PC for this issue.
For overall value and performance, the Evesham is undoubtedly the best PC we looked at. But it doesn't win by much, despite enjoying the advantage of the Conroe chip.
We decided to try changing a few of the components to see to what extent the lack of memory and inferior graphics card were letting it down. We plugged in an extra 1GB of DDR RAM and replaced the 7900 GT with a 7900 GTX (the 7950 would be faster still). This enhanced PC frequently outdid the original by 10-20fps (frames per second) on most games tests. Video encoding and WorldBench scores were significantly faster.
It's still pretty impressive that, even with inferior hardware, the Intel chip manages to beat its rivals. Also, these upgrades won't come cheap – from an online retailer such as Overclockers, the extra memory should set you back an extra £55, and the graphics card about £105 inclusive of VAT. Evesham's upgrade prices may well be considerably more. Nonetheless, if you're looking to get one of the new processors, you'd be wise not to discount the effect of the graphics and memory.
For the full report, including the chart of test results, see the October 06 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.
L to R: Mesh, Cube247, Evesham