Price Guides - January 2005: CPUs Galoreby Vinney Shimpi on January 23, 2005 12:05 AM EST
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AMD Athlon 64
As we mentioned earlier, the 90nm Socket 939 Athlon 64 [RTPE: Athlon 64 939] became an overnight success for overclockers and mainstream buyers alike. The newest SKUs [RTPE: ADA3000DIK4B, ADA3200DIK4B, ADA3500DIK4B] boast AMD's Winchester core and should not be confused with the 130nm Newcastle processors. Merchants in our system that do not specifically denote the IK4B core are listed as older Newcastle cores [in our database] because some merchants tend to lump them both together. Unfortunately, the 90nm chips carry a slight premium as in the instance of the Winchester Athlon 64 3500+ versus the Newcastle Athlon 64 3500+. On the other hand, the 3000+ and 3200+ are priced extremely competitive with their Socket 754 counterparts. As we all know, the Socket 939 motherboards pack a little bit more punch than the Socket 754 boards feature-wise, but also support dual channel memory configurations with more DIMMs. With the cost difference between the two platforms so low, and given AMD's eventual stance to reduce Socket 754 to a budget platform, Socket 939 is the only way to go for AMD.
On a price versus performance curve, the Socket 939 Athlon 64 3200+ or 3000+ [RTPE: ADA3000DIK4B, ADA3200DIK4B] processors cannot be beaten. The Athlon 64 3800+ or 4000+ are unbeatable as far as performance goes, but does the additional 10% performance boost warrant two times the sticker price? Even the most extreme system builders would have a hard time justifying the additional $200 leap into the higher clocked Socket 939 processors, which could be better spent on a video card.
Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to still get a Socket 754 Athlon 64 as well. If you already have an old Athlon 64 motherboard or new Athlon 64 laptop, the Socket 754 platform is the only choice that you have. The Athlon 64 2800+ [RTPE: ADA2800AEP4AP] still reigns as our budget buy in Socket 754 land for a solid, all-around performer – even for gamers. However, those of you looking for something a little more exotic, like a fanless HTPC or SFF, might want to consider the low wattage Mobility and DTR processors. These processors will cost an extra $30 to $40, but since they run at lower clocks and temperatures, you can easily put them in a set top machine that requires relatively little cooling. The linear price points of the Athlon 64s all correspond well to performance; you won't find a poorly priced Athlon 64 (with the exception of the FX series), so buy the most expensive (best performing) Athlon 64 for which you can allocate funding.
More than a year since the first 754 chips showed up, the merchants are still taking significant cuts at the processor sell price. Just how low can Socket 754 go? The favorite mid-range chip of the year, the Athlon 64 2800+ took another decent cut over the last few days. Although, merchants seem a little reluctant to price the processor below the Sempron 3100+ where it officially belongs right now, according to our distributor pricing data. The price engine bot generated the below graph demonstrating the long term price trends on the Athlon 64 2800+. Keep in mind, even though this article will stay static once it goes live on the website, the graphs and charts will update continually!