Price Guides September 2004: CPU and Motherboardsby Adam Rader on September 3, 2004 12:00 PM EST
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AMD ProcessorsProcessors, being the core of any PC, are one item that is worth scrutinizing when it comes time to make a purchase or upgrade. Currently, AMD still holds the price:performance crown when compared to offerings from their only real competitor, Intel. In cases where video encoding performance is not the deciding factor for your purchase, AMD takes the cake and maintains very solid gaming and desktop application performance.
This week, there are two chips from AMD worth considering. The first is the Athlon XP 2600+. Prices for AMD's Athlon XP lineup have been something of a rollercoaster ride lately with the price changes that AMD has been making to help introduce their A64 offerings. Nonetheless, the AXP still remains a good choice for most users. More than enough power for office and productivity applications, along with enough horsepower for gaming, the Athlon XP 2600+ from MWave is this week's best option for 32-bit purchases. This chip is also based on the same Barton core as the famed 2500+, which means that it overclocks very well too when paired with a quality motherboard.
If you're itching to try out the 64-bit edition of Windows XP, or just want to future-proof your rig for a bit longer, the Athlon 64 3200+ (Newcastle) continues its worthiness. The Newcastle version gains the top spot due to its lower price point. The smaller cache, 512KB vs. 1MB on the Clawhammer, is ofset very well by the added clock speed which is 2.2GHz. Even though it uses a socket 754 interface, this does not mean that it is obsolete yet. Socket 754 still has a good bit of time left in the marketplace and as long as the prices remain as low as they are now, or lower, it should be considered as an option when shopping around. With prices this low, there aren't too many reasons why, aside from A64 vs. AXP price-only comparisons, not to pick one up.