Weekly CPU & Memory Price Guide: February 2003 1st Editionby Kristopher Kubicki on February 6, 2003 5:50 AM EST
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This week's price guides brings us to an interesting point that came to my attention last week. As most of you know, there are two different versions of AMD XP chips on the market right now, the Palomino and Thoroughbred cores. The Palomino cores are the older, 0.18 micron cores, while the Thoroughbreds are the newer, 0.13 micron cores. Even though the Palominos are getting phased out, resellers seem to think it is OK to not list whether or not they are selling you a 0.13um or 0.18um cored processor. Going into a little research on the subject, we found a lot of 'interesting' practices occurring among resellers (and not just little ones). So how do you know what processor you are getting? First of all, check to see if it is listed as Palomino or Thoroughbred. Sometimes resellers do not make it obvious. Or, some do not even list it at all! Your next step is to see if they listed an AMD SKU number. Palomino XP's usually start AX while the Thoroughbred chips start AXDA. When looking around at SKU numbers, we tended to see this one often: AXP1700BOX. Do not let resellers deceive you; that is NOT a valid AMD SKU. Every few months AMD puts out a massive chart giving a nice overview on every one of their chips (SKU, core temperature, etc). If you have a few minutes, check out this great link on AMD's website. Our final words of warning, do NOT assume that a reseller is selling a Palomino or Thoroughbred CPU based on the picture. We try to screen our resellers as best as possible, but several websites publish misleading information on their sites.
Furthermore, we have a few more announcements to make about some of our product listings. We used to list a company called GameVE.com fairly regularly. There seems to be isolated incidents with any reseller, but GameVE appears to be a site that stopped fulfilling our needs as a reseller to list in our guides, regardless of their prices. Recently, within the last 3 to 4 weeks, we have noticed an unacceptable amount of complaints about GameVE. Since their listed email address does not even work, we are suspending GameVE's listings from our price engine.
Concerning processors, this was one of the better weeks we have seen for AMD processors in a while. Last week, we were slightly incorrect in stating that there were not going to be any new AMD workstation chips until Athlon 64 comes out. Even though Athlon 64 got pushed back for a release until fall, we will still have the Barton core XP chips hitting the market next week. High end XP processors prices dropped like a rock over the last week; a trend that should continue for several more weeks. Most vendors are posting pre-orders for XP 2800+ and 3000+ chips with an ETA of around Feb 7, so expect to see this chips hit the streets over the weekend. The mid ranged XP chips appeared to have not moved at all since last week, but remember we split the Palomino and Thoroughbred cores into two different categories now. Vendors are telling us that the Palomino chips are drying up fast, so hopefully in the next few weeks we will not even have to worry about tracking them. Be warned, as we stated earlier, that you do not buy at Palomino chip unless you really want one. The Thoroughbred chips run much cooler and if overclocking is your thing, you definately do not want the Palomino core.
For this week's AMD recommendation, we chose the XP 2100+ Thoroughbred. This chip has great overclockability, good perfomance, and an awesome price. Unfortunately, it still runs on the 266FSB, but consider that the XP 2600+ with 333FSB carries a price tag three times that of the XP 2100+. The XP chip prices continue to fall to extrodinary levels, and we expect them to continue falling even after the Barton chips begin to hit shelves.