AMD Price Cuts on Durons and T-Birds

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From AMD yesterday:

Pricing

“The 1.1GHz, 1GHz, 950MHz, 900MHz, 850 MHz, and 800 MHz AMD Athlon processors are priced at $853, $612, $460, $350, $282, and $215 respectively, each in 1,000-unit quantities. The 700MHz, 650MHz, and 600MHz AMD Duron processors are priced at $138, $103, and $79 respectively, each in 1,000-unit quantities.”

I took a look at Pricewatch this morning, and this is what I saw for socket A processors (prices from places with a rating of at least 5 at Reseller Ratings).

CPU AMD Price Per 1,000 Pricewatch Price Per 1 Difference
Duron 600 $79 $64 $15 (-19%)
Duron 650 $103 $78 $25 (-24%)
Duron 700 $138 $109 $29 (-21%)
TBird 800 $215 $183 $32 (-15%)
TBird 850 $282 $253 $29 (-10%)
TBird 900 $350 $278 $72 (-21%)
TBird 950 $460 $369 $91 (-20%)
TBird 1000 $612 $495 $117 (-19%)
TBird 1100 $853 N/A N/A

Clearly, the “official” prices aren’t too official.

AMD has historically played a lot freer and looser with pricing than Intel, but these are pretty deep discounts.

Some possible reasons?

  1. AMD is doubling production to 3.6 million Athlons this quarter. Given the relative lack of mobos, there’s probably a lot of chips out there all dressed up with no place to go at the moment, but that will change.

  2. AMD has very ambitious production goals. They plan another doubling, to 7.2 million Athlons for the Christmas quarter. That many processors would have to take a decent-sized chunk out of Intel’s marketshare, good economy or not. While AMD has certainly
    increased public awareness and acceptance of their product, increasing their marketshare that dramatically is probably going to require some sizable price savings over equivalent Intel products.

  3. On the lower end, the mobo manufacturers aren’t doing AMD a favor with their pricing. The cheapest socket A mobo out there is running about $120. Best price on the Asus A7V is about $145,
    and the Abit will probably be a bit higher than that. I don’t see any dramatic price reductions any time soon; the newest boards coming out (and this includes the 815 boards on the Intel side) look to cost significantly more. Since you can
    happily use a cheaper BX or Via board for the Celeron, this puts additional pricing pressure on the Durons to compensate for the increased mobo cost.
    than the $90-115 we’ve gotten used to.

  4. Cooling is a real problem. Killer orbs haven’t helped. Even if properly fitted, a Golden Orb is only barely tolerable for a Duron; it is flat out inadequate for trying to run a TBird at very high speeds. Even the Alphas (in short supply) look to generally be falling down short of a 1Ghz, outside of the odd
    “favored child” chip here and there.

The Duron performance parameters seem fairly clear; 800 if you not lucky, 950 if you are with air, usually somewhere in between the two.

The Socket A TBirds seem to have a huge problem getting to and past 1Ghz, and we suspect heat isn’t the only reason.

The Slot As are doing a bit better getting to 1Ghz, which makes us suspect the A7Vs circuitry isn’t quite up to this task; AMD not rating the A7V to 1Ghz while doing so with a Biostar board sends up a red flag in our eyes. The KT7 promises beefed-up circuitry to handle the demands of the TBird; we shall see.

We suspect that AMD’s binning means more than it does for Intel chips. TBird 700s just don’t do as well as their higher-rated brothers. It looks like many if not most Slot A 750s come with a 900 core (this is identifiable with Slot A, not Socket A TBirds), and they are
the ones hitting 1Ghz.

More tentatively, we also suspect that running multipliers of 10X or more doesn’t exactly helps chip stablility or efficiency, either. We’d much rather run at 7.5X133 than 10X100; we’ll see if the KT7 can do that or better.

If you want a socket A TBird (and we don’t recommend a Slot A TBird to anyone but those who already have a Slot A mobo), and you expect 1Ghz or better out of it, don’t buy yet.

Within a month, we’ll have a good idea what can be done with the KT7 and a higher-speed, but still affordable T-Bird. A little after that, we’ll know what the Intel cC0 chips can do.

Within two-three months, I believe we’ll see TBirds with an improved core. We also expect to see better cooling solutions than the ones we have now.

Within four months, we expect to have a good idea of what DDR will do for both AMD and Intel chips.

Right now, post-Christmas January looks like a good time for the prudent upgrader to seriously consider buying.

Email Ed


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