5 years ago when the AMD Athlon first came to the market it was the "bang for buck" leader on the market with a quite low price. With its fair share of problems, overheating, a bit unstable etc. Now when AMD have sorted out those problems and even got the technology advantage on the market it seems like Intel is trying to take that spot. Don't get me wrong, I've been a AMD users since the Athlon XP was released, except for the last year when I've only had my Pentium M laptop.
The "new" dual-core Pentium processor are cheap, fast, lots of cache. But hot and their power consumption is totally out the window, some sources say 70W at idle, just insane, the equivalent AMD64 idles at less than 15W.
Ok, but that aside. The pros of the d800 series chips are quite nice, you get DDR2, the i955 chipset and most i955 motherboards support 8Gb RAM instead of the usual 4Gb you get on normal AMD boards. The prices of RAM is starting to become quite acceptable, a 2Gb branded DDR2 kit (2x1Gb) is around £150GBP Inc. VAT here in the UK. Add a decent motherboard at say 120 and you get a good system upgrade for around £450 GBP. Of course this is not the best option for a gamer, but for me as a boring data crunching / data shuffeling guy it's damn good value for money. A perfect database test pc.
The equivalent AMD X2 system is probably another hundred or so.
SMP systems are still quite costly, I do miss the old classic concept of the Abit BP6 motherboard, capable of running dual Celerons without any adapters.
I do miss my old Bp6 machine (some of my old friends probably remember the blue sprayed mega-tower machine nick named "KES" (from StarTrek yes)) :).
The only good alternative these days is to try to pick up a SMP box on Ebay. It's easy to find a good spec. Sparc or PA-RISC box. But I do probably need to boot Windows once in a blue moon to test something (Ok, to play games).