3GHz On Air? . . .

Add Your Comments

Well, as I said yesterday, I went looking around to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and this is what I’ve come up with so far:

This Is Not Bogus We are not dealing with a few lucky chips here. There is something better about this Opterons. Even the “failures” are doing as well or a bit better than the A64s.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, this is what I suspect has happened/is happening:

When AMD introduced the socket 939 “1” series, they initially tossed in some extra FX-57 cores they had; this would be the CABNE series.

Though we don’t have any direct evidence for this, we do know that a CPU company can tweak a production run to yield faster (though fewer) processors. Intel has done it on occasion, and from circumstantial evidence, it’s very, very likely AMD has also done this at least sometimes the last number of years.

AMD also had a “regular” production run going at the time, that would be the “CABGE” series. This didn’t seem to last terribly long; the chips being sold today seem to be CABYE and CAB2E chips. These seem to be better than the CABGEs, but not quite as consistently good as the initial CABNEs.

It looks like AMD learned something from making the CABNEs because other AMD processors show signs of jumps in performance, too. I won’t swear to it yet, but we may have/soon have a general overall performance jump of 10%, maybe a bit more than that.

Will you hit 3GHz using air using a CABYE/CAB2E? Maybe/might, right now, it looks like you may have a better shot with the first than the second. With either, water cooling will probably help in most cases. These things can get pretty hot even when they aren’t chewing up much more than default voltage, but, jeez, what do you expect at around 3GHz?

Buying a Model 144 may be penny-wise, pound foolish. To get a 1.8GHz CPU up to 3GHz means a 333MHz mobo, and that may be a bridge too far for the typical setup. Shooting for 3GHz with a 2GHz processor seems to be a safer bet.

There’s Not A Lot To Go Around

Even though there’s hardly a gold rush going on, demand is exceeding supply. Resellers are getting dribs and drabs of these.

You can’t really blame AMD for this, if all of a sudden, a lot of people wanted low-end Xeons, that would probably catch Intel flat-footed, too.

The lack of supply has been aggravated by the focus on specific codings. AMD is trying to phase out OEM for retail chips, but the retail box doesn’t tell exactly what’s inside.

When supply is less than demand, this means . . .

Higher Prices

The offical AMD price for the relevant single core Opteron products (these are OEM prices)is:

Model 144 (1.8GHz):  $111
Model 146 (2GHz):     $125
Model 148 (2.2GHz):  $213

Clearly, for an overclocker, the price tags on the 144 and 146 are very desirable, especially since actual retail prices on AMD processors are usually around the “official” 1,000 unit price.

Yes, AMD probably charges a bit more for the retail version, likely $10-15 more based on past history, but as you’ll see, that’s a minor factor.

Let’s see what is actually being charged for these socket 939 Opterons:

Retailer
Model
Type
Their Price
AMD’s Price
Difference
ZipZoomFly
144
Retail
$165
$111
$54
146
Retail
$189
$125
$64
Newegg
146
Retail
$209
$125
$84
148
OEM
$222
$213
$9
Monarch
146
Retail
$159
$125
$34
146
OEM
$221
$125
$96
148
OEM
$207
$213
-$6
148
Retail
$230
$213
$17


In contrast, when you look at these companies’ prices for retail 3200+ and 3500+ processors, with one exception, they are priced below AMD’s official price.

And just to see what a small outfit charges, an outfit which probably is paying more than the big guys:

Retailer
Model
Type
Their Price
AMD’s Price
Difference
TankGuys.biz
144
Retail
$145
$111
$34
146
Retail
$165
$125
$40


Somebody’s making some windfall profits here. You’ll notice that the Model 148 is priced much closer to AMD’s official price. That’s because far fewer people want to lay out over $200 for one of these processors.

Except, of course, when one place charges more for an OEM Model 146 than an OEM Model 148, which must be a first in CPU history.:)

What To Do?

Gee, I don’t know. 🙂

If you think this really is a case of cherry-picked processors/cherry-picked manufacturing, this may be the deal of a long time, even at inflated prices.

On the other hand, if you think AMD is just getting better at this, these improvements ought to spread to the whole processor line eventually, and/or AMD will put out more Opteron processors and retail prices will drop.

If you put a gun to my head, I’d say the latter, but I could be wrong.

What won’t be wrong is all of us keeping a daily eye on this for a while. After all, it’s the only game in town at the moment.

Ed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *