X2 3800

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AMD Releases Cheaper Dual-core Processor

As we implied in our article yesterday, whatever AMD is offering us now is pretty much all we’re going to get until the 65nm fab gets cranking late next year.

There will be little improvement and/or price cuts here and there, but they’re probably not going to be worth the wait.

The dual-core X2 3800+ is a good example of this. It will cost $350. I suspect we’ll see a cheaper, 1.8GHz version come out one of these days, but that day will probably be in 2006, and cheaper will probably be about $250.

For those still using socket A, is it worth waiting another six months to maybe save $100, then have a “new” machine that will be outdated within a year?

The buying options for those inclined towards AMD who haven’t jumped to Hammer yet is either buy something soon, or wait until mid-to-late 2006 for the dual-core 65nm DDR2 platforms that will come out.

As we’ve long said, dual-cores won’t become mainstream (i.e. mainstream priced, like under $200, with a decently-priced mobo to go with it) until 65nm, and it will probably won’t be until late 2006/early 2007 that we’ll see a decent amount of multithreaded software that can take true advantage of a dual-core environment. Don’t be too shocked if a lot of that software is really meant to be run under Longhorn.

Of course, if you already have a compatible socket 939 system, or get one with a single-core, you can just wait until you feel like buying a dual-core.

Until 2007 or thereabouts, dual-core will be a frill. A nice frill, but still a frill. Frills by definition are not must-haves, especially when dollars decide.

What you really need to ask yourself before buying a dual-core is, “How often do I or could I do more than one big thing at the same time?”

If the answer is “almost never,” then this probably won’t be for you for a couple years. If, on the other hand, you often stop doing other things just to let the machine do one big task, this annoys you, and you’re willing to pay to make that stop, well, this is for you.

The one thing you ought not to do is argue about it, because the right answer really all depends on how one uses his or her computer.

Saying, “My way is the only way,” just proves to the world that you’re either dumb or very self-centered. So please, find something worthy to fight about, like ATI vs. nVidia. 🙂

Ed

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