Price Guides December 2003: The Year in Component Pricesby Kristopher Kubicki on December 25, 2003 11:02 PM EST
- Posted in
AMD was quite the busy bee this year. Twelve months ago, 333FSB was brand new to the 2600+ and 2700+ processors, and KT400/nForce2 were the only fast FSB options. Since then the introduction of the Barton core (particularly the 2500+) set the bar for price and performance in the CPU industry. In the last four months, the Barton 2500+ has continually proven itself as the best processor available for under $100 (and even arguably one of the better processors for under $200).
A year ago, the Athlon MP line was just beginning to ramp up into the 2200+, 2400+ speeds; but it was probably too little too late. We only need to look at how quickly the Opteron line replaced Athlon MP to judge how badly the MP line needed a replacement. Along those lines; 2003 was the year of the Opteron. Once we saw the introduction of the Opteron around May/June, the chip became the paragon of price, performance and reliability. Recently, the chip ramped up to its fourth speed revision (X48) and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.
Unofficial rumors of FX-53 and FX-55, as well as half a dozen ramps to the Athlon 64 3000+ to 4200+ processors look extremely convincing. The San Diego line looks to become the most promising Athlon yet, and we can't wait.
Earlier this year, AMD made some attempts to penetrate Intel's grip on the high end market with its Athlon 3200+ and 3000+ 400FSB CPUs, but alas again it was too little too late. As if almost an exact repeat of the Opteron launch, the Athlon 64 line quickly gained recognition as the best available CPU bar none. Of course, that was further compounded by AMD's silent release of the Athlon 64 3000+ Newcastle processors also known as "the best processors AMD never announced."
In fact, the Socket 754 Athlon 3000+ is our recommendation for new processors this week. At $240 it costs less than Intel's 3.0C, but it also thoroughly outperforms the Intel chip (even without 64bit optimizations!). Considering the best high end chips of last year cost $500+, and still could not outperform the "low end" Athlon 64 3000+ of today; it appears the CPU market is making excellent strides in price and performance.