A Mismatch . . .

Today marks the end of the first half of the year. For sure, the second half of the year is going to be a lot more turbulent than the first.

The CPU arena will become livelier than its been in years. People out to buy will have to decide whether they want Conroes, or cheap (and God knows how much cheaper) dual-cores.

If Dell actually comes out with AMD-powered boxes in a month or a bit more, that ought to be very interesting for the Sixpackish among you and your consultees.

On the other hand, the computer lords giveth, and the computer lords taketh away, and the taketh, and the taketh-awayer is spelled V-I-S-T-A.

Right now, to be kind, it’s not ready for primetime, and even when it is “ready,” it looks like you’ll have to double the RAM to get the same level of performance.

More importantly, the only performance feature in Vista that may be of general interest to those reading this is DX10, and even if the claims about it are three-quarters crap, gamers are going to end up having to get it sooner or later, and, if you want to play games like Halo 2, you get Vista, or you don’t play it at all. More games within a year of Vista release will give you at least enhanced gaming with DX10; it kind of silly to spend a lot on video cards in the next month or two just to find yourself running the cut-down version of games in just a few months.

But, the price you’ll pay to stay on top longer is that you’ll have to a DX10 video card whenever they show up, then Vista and a new video card. Neither will be for sale when the Conroes and cheap duallies come out.

This is of some concern even for non-gamers, because unlike previous versions of DX, DX10 will be used for more than games. Yes, Vista will run with a DX9 card, but if you want all the eye candy Vista will have to offer (and that’s mostly all Vista has to offer), you’re going to need a DX10 card/DX10 capable integrated graphics to run them.

Update 7/1/06: The Vista Desktop will be drawn using DX9, not DX10. Sorry for the error.

I don’t know about you, but buying two video cards pretty much negates any CPU bargain. If you’re the typical person reading this, and expect your video card to last 2-3 years, you’d better wait for the next generation of DX-10 capable cards to come out Fortunately, the cheap duallies ought to still be around.

It seems that, at least for this audience, the further behind the curve you are, the more interested you are in Conroes, and maybe AM2. You like to get it all done in one shot.

Well, if you fit the bill, late July isn’t going to be that time.

It’s unfortunate and aggravating, but that’s what happens when the CPU (or great price) comes out in July, the video card comes out in September, and the OS comes out the following year.


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