AMD Athlon 64 2800+: A Cheaper Newcastleby Derek Wilson on April 27, 2004 7:00 AM EST
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Welcome to the Newcastle based Athlon 64 solution that runs at a clock speed of 1.8GHz (200MHz slower than the Athlon 64 3000+): the AMD Athlon 64 2800+.
The Athlon 64 2800+ has somewhat made its way stealthily into the market place. As is usually the case, the higher performance (more expensive) parts are the ones that companies push the hardest and enthusiasts are most interested in. It is always exciting to read about how fast something can get done, or new possibilities with emerging technology, but it isn't practical to expect everyone to run out and buy the highest performing chunk of silicon available (no matter how much we all may want to do so).
Often, price is much more important to a purchasing decision than pure performance, especially in the business world where even small price differences can add up very quickly with volume purchases. The trick has always been to find the best value for the money, which is much easier said than done. For inexpensive performance, the currently available option is the Athlon XP line of processors.
Until the cheaper Athlon 64 based Athlon XP solutions come around, we will have to hope that lower performance, lower priced Athlon 64 processors will be able to deliver the performance that we expect from the current generation of hardware at prices that will play nicely with others.
Is It Cheap Enough?The prices that we have been seeing around the internet put the AMD Athlon 64 2800+ at near USD$185 shipped. This will put the chip squarely in a comfortable upper mid-range (or lower high end?) tier at just about the same price as the 800MHz FSB Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz parts. This price might not make the new 2800+ cheap enough for everyone's budget, but the price does fit the market segment, and now, people who were looking in this price range will have another option.
The next cheapest Athlon 64 system is the 3000+ (which was also the first 512kB L2 based Athlon 64), whose street price is somewhere around $240, while the Barton 3000+ Athlon XP counterpart is available for something like $130. When the math is done, what we end up seeing is that the price of the Athlon 64 2800+ falls just about between the two flavors of 3000+ offered by AMD.
Today, we will be taking the opportunity to see if the performance of the AMD Athlon 64 2800+ will maintain a performance level worthy of its price. The unique price layout of these processors means that the value of the chip (considering price and performance) will be readily apparent from the individual benchmarks; the performance of the 2800+ should fall somewhere near the average score of the two 3000+ models. Of course, this will be different on different benchmarks, as each chip has its advantages and disadvantages.
It is also important to note that prices do not usually scale linearly. When a brand new high end chip comes out, it can often be priced much higher than its performance gain over the previous leader would warrant. At the same time, near the bottom of the spectrum, a small change in price can lead to a larger percent increase in performance as a CPU's perceived "value" approaches what it cost to make the chip. Prices also fluctuate greatly over time, so our comparison of averages will be more of an interesting indicator than a hard and fast rule.