Price Guides September 2004: CPU and Motherboardsby Adam Rader on September 3, 2004 12:00 PM EST
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IntroductionWelcome back for another edition of the Price Guides. This week has been a rather quiet one as prices for processors and motherboards gradually leveled out and waves from new sockets from AMD and Intel subside a bit. With new standards, such as PCIe and SATA, having been available for a while, it seems that the kid-in-a-candy-store effect is wearing off and we are able to look more closely at what hardware options really provide the best bang for your hard-earned buck. While it is often tempting to jump on the latest and greatest, we will compare some of the new kids on the block to the tried and true to see if the price of early adoption is really worth it at the present time.
One thing that you will notice in this guide is the lack of any recommendations for boards sporting PCI Express slots. This isn't because the technology is bad, by any means. This is due to the fact that there are so few add-in cards available yet for the interface, and because it's difficult to justify the technology right now, since even graphics cards have yet to stress the AGP 8X interface that is currently the standard. In short, PCIe is still one of those things that are nice to have, but far from necessary at the current time.
The same holds true for DDR2 memory right now. Until DDR2 ramps up the speed a bit more to counteract the higher latencies, it really doesn't serve much purpose in the desktop world. Beyond that, the prices are not worth it yet, since even DDR1 memory is a bit pricey these days. Unfortunately, DDR1 is not so pricey so as to make DDR2 much more appealing.