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Differences What are the advantages of each

Front view of Intel Core i7 2600K

Reasons to consider the
Intel Core i7 2600K

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Much newer manufacturing process 32 nm vs 130 nm A newer manufacturing process allows for a more powerful, yet cooler running processor
Much higher clock speed 3.4 GHz vs 2 GHz 70% higher clock speed
Much more l2 cache 1 MB vs 0.5 MB 2x more l2 cache; more data can be stored in the l2 cache for quick access later
More cores 4 vs 1 3 more cores; run more applications at once
More threads 8 vs 1 7 more threads
Much better overclocked clock speed (Air) 5.05 GHz vs 2.32 GHz Around 2.2x better overclocked clock speed (Air)
Much better PassMark score 8,494 vs 459 More than 18.5x better PassMark score
Has a NX bit Yes vs No Somewhat common; Prevents a common class of security exploits
Much better overclocked clock speed (Water) 4.76 GHz vs 2 GHz Around 2.5x better overclocked clock speed (Water)
Newer Jan, 2011 vs Dec, 2004 Release date over 6 years later
Front view of AMD Athlon XP 2900+

Reasons to consider the
AMD Athlon XP 2900+

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Much more l2 cache per core 0.5 MB/core vs 0.25 MB/core 2x more l2 cache per core

Benchmarks Real world tests of Core i7 2600K vs Athlon XP 2900+

PassMark Data courtesy Passmark

Specifications Full list of technical specs

summary

Core i7 2600K  vs
Athlon XP 2900+ 
Clock speed 3.4 GHz 2 GHz
Cores Quad core Single core
Socket type
LGA 1155
462

features

Has a NX bit Yes No
Instruction set extensions
SSE2
MMX
SSE4
AVX
SSE3
SSE
SSE4.1
SSE4.2
3DNow!
Supplemental SSE3
AES

details

Core i7 2600K  vs
Athlon XP 2900+ 
Threads 8 1
L2 cache 1 MB 0.5 MB
L2 cache per core 0.25 MB/core 0.5 MB/core
Manufacture process 32 nm 130 nm
Max CPUs 1 1

overclocking

Overclocked clock speed 5.05 GHz 2.32 GHz
Overclocked clock speed (Water) 4.76 GHz 2 GHz
Overclocked clock speed (Air) 5.05 GHz 2.32 GHz

power consumption

Typical power consumption 114.2W N/A
Intel Core i7 2600K
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AMD Athlon XP 2900+
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