Welcome back to this week's installment of the Price Guides.  Last week's Guide was actually one of our most read guides of all time.  Give yourself a pat on the back.  As always, don't forget to check out or own RealTime Price Engine, and our Vendor Ratings.

Memory continues to be a particular thorn in the PC market.  Those of you who follow the enthusiast market particularly closely know that Winbond has totally run out of the BH5 chips.  Unfortunately, it looks like they have also run out of CH5 chips as well and so we will start to see memory dry up that is based on those chips. 

With that news, it's becoming more obvious that the dated PC2100 is on its way out.  Most memory has been up over the last couple months as much as 10%.  The price on Mushkin's Green (Value) modules is down this week, but this is more due to their recent changes in memory ratings.  For those of you who didn't notice the name change a few months ago, this is Mushkin's new naming scheme:

            Green - Value
            Blue - Midrange
            Black - Enthusiast (Formally called Level II)

For those of you who ski, you'll immediately recognize the same colors are used for identifying levels on a ski hill.  They must do a lot of skiing out there in Denver.

We made some other significant changes to our memory listings.  As you will see, most of our modules have a "Value" and "Performance" listing for each type of module.  Hopefully everyone will be able to note the deltas easier with this clarification on memory types. 

Continuing our analysis... It appears PC2700 is also on the rise. Several manufacturers have begun pulling back on PC2700 in favor of PC3200.  PC3200 is here to stay for the rest of the year, and with some of the major sources of enthusiast Winbond chips drying up, it looks like prices might stabilize and climb slowly for some time to come.

If you are a new system builder, you really can't go wrong with PC3200 anymore.  All motherboards/processors support it, and unless you need special registered memory for Opteron/Athlon64 FX, you have plenty of options.  Two sticks of Corsair PC3200 256MB or Mushkin PC3200 256MB Black are both excellent choices for midrange systems.  Don't forget to buy in pairs so that your CPU/Northbridge can take advantage of dual channel capabilities.  For those of you who have KT600/400A/400 based motherboards, you can save a couple bucks buying a single stick instead since the older VIA northbridge does not support dual channel enhancements.

For those of you who wish to clock a little higher, Mushkin and OCZ seem to be good choices.  Unfortunately right now we are only tracking OCZ's "Premium" (Value) line, but in the upcoming days we will be adding their Gold, EL and Platinum lines as well (so check back frequently).  Check out Wes's more recent articles concerning DDR400/433/466 performance on some of these modules.  If you know what you're doing, getting an extra 5% boost isn't uncommon by selecting the right memory.  Since Corsair, OCZ and Mushkin rely heavily on those vanishing Winbond chips, don't expect their prices to start dropping anytime soon.

NVIDIA Video Cards


View All Comments

  • Khalad - Sunday, February 15, 2004 - link

    I was curious, if anyone had any info about what ATI's plans were in regard to a AIW refresh. I understand they are already the leaders in the field, however with the new roadmap, I am curious of any info on the AIW front? Reply
  • Rekonn - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link

    #7 I don't agree with you. The price bumps aren't just $20 for each speed grade. I could be reading it incorrectly, but to me it looks like

    9600 non pro $102
    9600 pro $149 46% increase from 9600 non pro
    9600 xt $151
    9700 non pro $193 30% increase from 9600 pro
    9700 pro $198
    9800 non pro - none
    9800 pro $215 9% increase from 9700 pro
    9800 xt $416 93% increase from 9800 pro

    A 50% increase in what you're willing to pay is huge, a 10% increase isn't.

    #8 true, if the extras you get from going retail matter to you, then this isn't a fair comparison.
  • XPgeek - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link

    Hey thanx guys for the info about the memory. I am running an Athlon64 3000+. i have no problems with the ValuRAM at standard clock speeds, but when i try to OC to 220 "FSB" it get wicked unstable. i run timings of 3-7-7-11. i had read in the forums that keeping that last number high allowed for a bit more bandwidth. if i try to set the CAS to 2.5 i get reboots. 2 and i get no boots. i think i'll just stick w this since i dont have a gob of $$ to put down on new mem right now. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link

    Considering AGP doesnt even use half the headroom it has... good point :) Reply
  • mkruer - Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - link

    Will someone please explain what the real value of going to PCI-Ex over APG really is when it comes out? I mean is it supposed to have this phenomenal speed, but will it really matter for the cards coming out around the same time? Reply
  • DerekBaker - Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - link


    Seems K8T890 is the same:


  • DerekBaker - Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - link

    Let's hope it's the same for the K8T890. Though of course just because the chipset supports both, doesn't mean the board makers will offer both.

  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - link

    Well oddly enough it looks like PT890 will support both interfaces, but i doubt you can use them at the same time.


  • Tiorapatea - Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - link


    Reference to announcement of bridge chip:

    0.0 Yes, PCI-E southbridge for Socket A looks unlikely. KT880 is VIA's upcoming Socket A chipset - don't you just hate their numbering system?

    2.2 I definitely want to see nforce 250 (and the GbE version) on Socket 754. I think people often want to buy features for value and avoid paying the full premium for support of the fastest CPUs.

    I can't find the thread any more but there was some speculation/informed comment on Aces that AMD will offer 90nm CPUs on 754.

    4.0 I meant to suggest that there would be a choice of motherboards, one design with PCI-E and a separate one with AGP.
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - link

    Trogdor is right. Its not Purple though anymore, i think the purple stuff was formerly Level 2, which is now just called Black.


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