The Next O/C Surge

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XBitLabs stated the other day that AMD TBred production was going to TBredB and that low-speed TBredB 1700+ and 1800+ CPU would start shipping from Dresden December 11.

The key term here is “start shipping.” In all likelihood, we won’t see a lot of them around until after the New Year.

But even a delayed Santa is better than no Santa at all, and if we have to wait until January for a crack at 2.2GHz or better for about $70, I can live with that, and I suspect you can, too.

This will be the major overclocking story for the next couple months.

Why? Why Not Intel?

Cost.

Despite Intel’s inroads over the past year, a majority of overclockers still have socket A systems. For many of them, their choice is simply a matter of math. A CPU upgrade is much cheaper than a CPU and motherboard upgrade.

Although a typical overclocked PIV system would be generally faster than an XP system, the difference is small enough for cost to be a more important factor for many (if not most).

It’s pretty hard to say “No” to a simple $70 processor upgrade that will get you most of the benefit of a platform change.

Whether AMD did it deliberately or not, this move will tend to keep current socket A owners from going elsewhere for a while. This is a good move.

Can I Do This?

If your motherboard supports a 2400+, it should have no problem with a low-speed TBredB.

I Want A Computer Now, Should I Wait For This?

Ask yourself this. Do I want to spend $180 now, or wait a month on the sizable hope that you can get the same thing for $80. It’s not guaranteed, these could be high-end TBredB rejects, but a reasonably good hope.

I Want/Need A New Mobo

I wouldn’t buy one right now for the following reasons:

The KT400 has a few problems which are supposed be addressed by the KT400A revision. I wouldn’t touch a KT400 board.

Not touching a KT400 doesn’t mean you should embrace an nForce2 instead. From what the pioneers are reporting from the forums, these boards are having some initial problems.

No doubt they can be fixed with some BIOS changes and some motherboard tweaks, but why not wait and watch to see what gets fixed and what doesn’t while you’re waiting for the CPU? Why pay extra for headaches?

The price will surely drop a bit, and if a few hardware tweaks prove necessary, waiting means you’ll get them. It’s possible that KT400A boards will come out in the meantime, and waiting means you’ll get the chance to compare the two.

Down the road, I’ve noticed that the first editions of boards often have the bad habit of not being compatible with next year’s CPUs. None of these boards will be compatible with Hammer, of course, but if AMD comes out with a .09 micron TBred next year, this could mean the difference between having the chance for a cheap upgrade or not.

I know, I’m saying “wait” again, but it’s not like buying a board now and a CPU a month later is going to do you a whole lot of good inbetween. If you have the pioneering instinct in you, fine, but if you’d rather somebody else get the arrows in the back, be a little patient. It’s good for you.

How Can I Figure Out Which CPU Is Which?

We’ve updated our guide to this to help you figure out what is what, and we’ll stay on top of this on the front page as resellers start (or people think that they are starting) to sell these things.

Expect to see more news items of the “the processors sold at _____ are/aren’t what you’re looking for” as this develops.

Are You Going To Do Reviews?

While we’ll certainly get one or two of these and new mobos, and talk about them a bit, our emphasis is going to be on what others are experiencing with them. That’s a truer test than what one person with one CPU and one motherboard can tell you.

So we’ll be relaying and summarizing what lots of people are finding more than what one person is finding. It’s much more time consuming, but I think it gives you a better idea.

Ed

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