Off In Their Own Little World, Throw a Dog a Bone

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Planet 3D Now confirms some roadmap details about Athlon64s.

It’s in German, but Altavista translates it well enough.

AMD is supposed to start off with two models:

  • 2.0GHz, 3200+, Socket754
  • 2.0GHz, FX-51, Socket940

    This will be followed later on by 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz models. The 940-pin (and presumably any 939-model) will be called FX-53 and FX-55 respectively, while the socket 754s will be 3400+ and 3700+.

    This confirms what was at least implied in earlier roadmaps. That’s good.

    What is new is the claim that AMD will not sell Athlon64s with speeds of less than 2.0GHz.

    If that is true, that’s bad.

    Why Is This Bad?

    1. Recall that Athlon64s are supposed to sell at a price a bit higher than that for AthlonXPs.
    2. Look up the current Pricewatch price for Athlon 3200+.
    3. It’s $435. Chump change, right?
    4. You say the price will go down by September? Well, maybe. The next tier down on Pricewatch is about $250.

    Not the sort of prices you AMDers have become accustomed to, are they?

    You Bitch That Prices Are Too Low, Now You Bitch That They’re Too High

    You’re absolutely right. Entry-level prices of $50 are too low. Entry-level prices of $400 or $250 are too high.

    Perhaps I have an unusually evolved brain, but it senses the concept of a price somewhere inbetween the two. How about you? 🙂

    I don’t care what AMD charges for the top of the line Athlon64. If I’m not going to pay it, it doesn’t matter what it costs: $600, $6,000, $6,000,000; it’s all the same to me (and the same to 98%+ of you).

    I am concerned about the entry-level price, though. If that’s too high, I’m just not going to buy it (and neither will 98%+ of you).

    If this report is correct, AMD is hoping that you AMD fans will be so anxious to buy this that you’ll pay almost anything for it.

    Unless I’ve completely misread this audience, they are sadly, sadly mistaken.

    AMD is launching a new platform. If it flops, goodbye AMD.

    Therefore, it’s pretty important for it to get off to a good start, and it’s pretty risky to expect a good start when you price your current fans out of the market.

    It doesn’t offer better performance than an overclocked PIV. It barely exceeds the performance of an overclocked AthlonXP. Yet it will cost more than either, considerably in the case of a PIV, quite a lot in the case of an AthlonXP.

    Overclocked? Well, if the 2.0s can get to 2.4, they get a bit more interesting, but $435 more interesting? $250 more interesting?

    You may yell x86-64, but big deal when MS comes out with an x86-64 OS. It’s essential, but not sufficient. How much other x86-64 software is going to be around for it? Probably not much.

    There’s some signs the PC market is reviving. Might have been nice to garnish some Christmas sales and broaden the user base with, say, some 1.6GHz systems with a CPU cost of $125-$150. But, noooooo.

    In all likelihood, it’s probably a moot point because AMD just isn’t or can’t make very many of these processors in time for Christmas.

    But then we have the next quarter.

    Based on what we’ve seen, there should be a fairly sizable number of socket 754 processors available.

    That’s nice, but why buy a platform that is due to be obsoleted almost instantly, not only by 90nm Athlon64s, but Athlon64 DDRII/PCI Express boards?

    You want to say, what about Intel systems at that time? I think exactly the same way about them, too. My inclination for those who want an Intel boost is to buy now, skip Prescott, or wait for Tejas or even Nehalem.

    Can AMD sell around 1.6 million processors at, say, $150-200 a piece under those circumstances? I have my doubts.

    Before you write me, are you ready to lay out somewhere around $400 for a 3200+ Hammer system given those circumstances? You’re not? Now you know why I have my doubts. 🙂

    Throw The (Loyal) Dogs A Bone

    It would be much wiser if AMD sold slower Athlon64s at lower prices at introduction. They don’t have to be ridiculous about it: $125-$150 would be reasonable.

    That way, the inquiring and curious pioneers could get a reasonable period of time to explore these systems at a somewhat reasonable price, build user momentum, and reward those who have kept the faith and waited for Hammer for so long. AMD is disproportionately dependent on hobbyists, so it would be best to throw them a bone rather than slap them in the face and keep them on the sidelines.

    If that doesn’t happen until the spring, people who’ve waited that long are going to be inclined to wait a few months longer and get the next new thing with considerably more promise.

    I know AMD wants to move upmarket, but it is unwise to try to go from Heck’s Cheap Cars to Hectorio Mercedes in a flash. You run the risk of losing the market you have and not getting the market you want.

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