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AMD's Dragon platform brings a lot of useful technologies to the table while arguably beating Intel and NVIDIA's offerings at its price point.  (Source: AMD)

The Dragon platform is powered by AMD's Phenom II CPU. While not besting Intel's pricier offerings, it represents the first time in some time that an AMD CPU is beating similarly priced Intel CPUs in early testing.  (Source: AMD)
AMD hopes that Dragon platform will heat up sales of its new Phenom II processor

On Thursday, AMD released its new Phenom II processors.  As DailyTech predicted the day before, the new processors came in a Phenom II X4 920 and an X4 940 quad core variant.  The X4 940, dubbed the "Black Edition", is clocked at 3.0 GHz, while X4 920 is clocked at 2.8 GHz.  Both processors have proved solid overclockers in early testing, falling just short of the Penryn and Nehalem (i7) Intel processors in terms of overclock, based on early testing.

The processors greatest advantage is price.  The X4 920 retails at $235, while the X4 940 Black Edition retails at $275.  A motherboard for the platform costs around $120 and memory comes at around $75.  Together this is much cheaper than Intel's i7 platform, which has a processor cost of $295 for the i7 920 2.66 GHz model and a cost of $565 at Newegg for the i7 940 2.93 GHz model.  It also does not require more expensive DDR3, which the i7 platform does.  So while the i7 trumps the Phenom II significantly in performance, this is largely offset by a higher price.

Price wise, the Phenom II X4 940 is most comparable with Intel's Penryn quad-core, the Q9400 (2.66 GHz), while the 920 is similarly priced to the Q9300/Q8200.  The Phenom IIs in initial testing appear to be the better pick at these price points.

Together with its already released 48xx series of ATI Radeon graphics cards and its 790 series chipsets, first released in November 2007, the new processor forms AMD's hot new Dragon platform.

The platform offers AMD's Fusion for Gaming technology, which suspends background tasks to channel extra resources into gaming.  It also features AMD OverDrive, which allows an overclock to be more easily applied with a single button press, during system operation.

DailyTech spoke with sources at AMD who said that they expect Dragon-based desktops to be shipping at under $900 by the middle of the year.  At this price point, and with its strong performance the platform could prove very dangerous to competitor Intel, already reeling from the beating NVIDIA's new Ion chipset is laying on its chipset offerings.

Coming off a turn-around victory with its 48xx series of graphics cards, AMD is looking to translate that success into the CPU realm.  And while expectations were low among many consumers and those in the reporting community, assuming it has no supply issues; AMD seems to have pulled off a surprise.  At their price points, the Dragon platform and the Phenom IIs appear poised to pull off a shocker, besting Intel's similarly priced CPUs, while continuing to outcompete NVIDIA's GPUs.  However, in terms of the high-end of enthusiast products Intel's i7 platform still holds an edge.

One of the first Dragon models to ship will be the XPS 625, with a Dragon-based model priced at $1,749.





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