Price Guides October 2004: CPU and Motherboardsby Adam Rader on October 3, 2004 9:00 AM EST
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AMD ProcessorsProcessors from AMD continue to be the favorite among those who are driven by getting the most out of their money. Dollar for dollar, AMD tends to provide an overall better value than Intel-based systems when it comes to things such as gaming and "standard" computer usage. Unless you have a need for the absolute best video editing, encoding, and the likes, AMD has some top-notch products available with some even better toys, such as dual-core chips, coming up fast.
This week, the AMD Athlon XP 2600+ is available for less than some lower models and is based on the same Barton core, which made the Athlon XP 2500+ so popular among overclockers and gamers alike. Paired with an nForce2 chipset motherboard, this chip can keep you running for quite a long time before you will need another upgrade.
If you have a little extra cash to spend, both for the processor and the requisite new motherboard to support it, then an Athlon 64 is definitely the way to go these days. At the top of the list of affordable 64-bit processors from AMD stands the Athlon 64 (754) 3000+ 512KB. This processor offers great performance and value while safeguarding your investment by being fully ready for 64-bit computing. Microsoft will be releasing the 64-bit edition of Windows XP long before beasts such as Longhorn see the light of day, which only helps to preserve the viability of this chip that much longer. One side item to note is that some users have reported issues with A64 chips when running on XP with Service Pack 2 installed. Specifically, the inclusion of Data Execution Protection (DEP) can cause some applications to die unexpectedly. This, however, can be resolved by simply adding the application in question to the exceptions list, or just flat out disabling DEP via the boot.ini file. Being a very new technology, hiccups like this are expected and should not discourage the adoption of 64-bit computing.