Price Guides April 2004: CPU and Motherboardsby Kristopher Kubicki on April 27, 2004 6:59 AM EST
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AMD has been putting a lot more of its time into the new Athlon 64 product line lately which has been helping to bring costs down on their Athlon XP chips. While the 64-bit market is finally beginning to take shape and work its way towards the average user, the best deals still reside in the 32-bit world.
The Athlon XP 2500+ Barton, with its 1.83GHz clock speed and relatively large chunk of cache, takes the cake for the best buy this week. Don't let the clock speed fool you as this chip has the horsepower needed to power through all of today's games and applications. Additionally, the 2500+ tends to have a good amount of room for overclocking as well, easily reaching clock speeds of 2.2 GHz (which happens to be the same clock speed as the stock Athlon XP 3200+ chips) in many cases and it does so without expensive cooling from water or peltiers. This chip can be had for as low as $75 shipped OEM, or for around $80 retail.
If ~400MHz isn't enough of a boost for your overclocking needs the Athlon XP 2400+ Mobile might fit the bill. This chip clocks in at 1.8GHz but has a lowered voltage and default FSB of 266 which gives you a lot of room to play with when trying to squeeze out more power. The unlocked multiplier certainly doesn't hinder your efforts either and the $78 price tag is great value. Overall, this chip has great potential to bring the cost/benefit ratio more into your favor, and to the favor of your wallet.
If 64-bit is your thing, the Athlon 64 3000+ is a solid buy as AMD tries to push the new product line. The 2.0GHz chip offers top performance for today's applications and games while helping to protect your investment by being ready for 64-bit-aware operating systems and applications. As expected, there is still a premium that must be paid for early-adoption, and in this case that price is $222 at the time of this guide .