PIV Buying

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As I mentioned a while back, C1 steppings are coming. For lower speeds, the earliest initial arrival will be early August.

However, that’s not true for all of them. For the 2.53GHz and the 2.4B, their earliest arrival date is the end of August, about four weeks from now.

Just about at that time, Intel will slash prices on these processors, to around $190 for the 2.4B and $240 for the 2.53.

A Bit Premature

Before you unleash the plastic, a few things to think about.

These are both 133Mhz chips. The conventional overclocking strategy would be to take the 2.4B, go to 166MHz FSB, get the big 3 (GHz, that is), and then move on.

However, the memory situation isn’t quite as copacetic. If, like most people, you’re using a DDR board, fueling a PIV running at 3GHz with only about 2500Mb/sec of memory throughput might be a little throttling at times.

Nowadays, many people run memory speeds higher than the FSB, but consider that a 3:4 ration at 166Mhz puts your memory at 222MHz, and a 4:5 ratio still will require your memory to run at 208MHz. Not inconceivable with throttled-down memory setting, but hardly easy.

Don’t smirk so much RDRAM folks. The DDR folks can get the CPU speed, but not the memory bandwidth. You have the opposite problem. Either you go for 166MHz and knock down your RDRAM speed down to 3X, or you find a board that will let you run FSB higher than memory speed (is there such a thing?)

Neither is a ideal solution.

A much better idea will be to wait for a dual DDR board. Running dual 166MHz modules should end up getting you something like 3700Mb/sec (expect to see dual DDR boards show the same lack of efficiency (compared to theoretical maximums) RDRAM boards show (the Granite Bay previews indiate this).

Unfortunately, by the time we get to see a dual DDR board, October will have come and you’ll be able to get a C1 stepping for all flavors of PIVs.

A Hot 3

I don’t think we’re going to see much more beyond 3GHz using conventional tactics from these CPUs. I don’t think 3GHz is going to be too big a deal, 3.2GHz looks pretty feasible, beyond that . . . .

Intel’s last Northwood is supposed to hit 3.2GHz. The first Prescott is supposed to start at the same speed. Historically, overclockers using air don’t do a whole lot better than the last CPU of a generation. I don’t doubt a lucky few will get to 3.5GHz, and the Mr. Freezes are already doing 4GHz+, but we’re reaching the limits for this generation.

These 3GHz chips are going to be hot. Even running conventionally, they will approach Thunderbird heat levals (which means Thunderbird-levels of protection). That means either a lot of copper or a lot of noise.

If quiet is important to you, and you’re very happy with your quiet 2.2-2.4GHz PIV system using the Intel fan, go to sleep until Prescott.

The Ideal Winter Box

If you get one shot, so you have to make it count, and you want a PIV box, at this point, you want a C1 stepping PIV mounted on a dual DDR mobo.

If we see a dual DDR mobo before Christmas, it will probably come from Via or SiS, we might see Granite Bay from Intel.

What looks to be the CPUs of choice with that dual DDR will be the 2.26GHz (the 2.4GHz for the more adventurous). The reason why a 133MHz chip will become the overclocking chip of choice is to avoid the Athlon FSB problem.

Up to now 4.2Gb of bandwidth at 133MHz FSB has been plenty enough. It won’t be plenty enough when you’ll have memory bandwidth approaching 4GHz from dual DDR boards running at memory speeds above 166MHz.

So I’ll Buy a 2.4 Now and a Dual Later

If you can’t afford to be a pioneer, you may not want to do that. Remember the sudden improvement in the 1.6A we saw? Need I say anymore?

This Is So Wussy!

Exactly. If you buy everything anyway, what need do you have for buying advice? This Bud’s not for you.

This article is for those whose monthly budget doesn’t include “CPU” as a category along with “Food” and “Rent”

I know full well that nothing I would say short of “these CPUs are infected with smallpox” will stop the pioneers from buying (and even then, the pioneers would probably just get shots for smallpox first).

No, this article is for the folks who have been waiting for months to buy a PIV system and who think the Labor Day weekend price cut is the time to jump.

It seems to be a little too early for those who can only buy once a product generation.

Ed

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