This is as good as it gets for AMD in the mainstream, but previously we've given it a smack, due to a £300+ pricetag.

With it now showing up as low as £115 online - a tenner more than the 400MHz slower 5200 - a public flogging is no longer in order.

It's a pretty meaty chip, equalling and sometimes beating the £20-£30 dearer Core 2 E6600 in our tests. It's certainly fun to see AMD holding its own again, but there's two flies in the ointment.

The first is minimal headroom compared to the Core 2s, this already being the Athlon 64 pushed almost as hard as it'll go.

The second is that, depending on your mobo manufacturer's keenness about BIOS updates, this may be an evolutionary dead end, forcing you to buy a new mobo when you next upgrade chip.