Barton: A Sneaked Preview

NDAs are getting so ridiculous.

Do you know what you NDA? You NDA things like the attack plan for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. If people find that out ahead of time, it does make a difference.

But really, if somebody pops the cork early on a CPU with a little more cache, what’s the big secret? Like nobody at Intel can figure out what a Barton 3000+ could do?

Some Things Shouldn’t Be A Surprise

Putting an NDA on Barton is like wrapping a bicycle in gift wrap and putting it by the Christmas tree. Any kid with brains slightly exceeding the mental hardware of a drugged slug should be able to figure out it’s a bicycle and not a car.

When you have a processor that runs at the same speed as a TBredB 2700+, and you know (or at least should be able to look up) that doubling the cache from 256 to 512K gave the Northwood about a 5-7% boost in performance (with a lot of variance from the average depending on the app/game used); you should have a pretty good idea how Barton will do without looking at a single benchmark.

Really. It’s not magic. We first mentioned this percentage range over six months ago.

A certain website put up its 3000+ Barton review a bit early, and was forced to take it down until the AMD cock crows or something like that.

Someone was nice enough to save and send me all the benchmarks from that website, and while I’ll certainly not quote what I saw; there was nothing in there that surprised me or made me change my mind about that general guidance.

Sometimes it’s only a tiny bit faster than a 2700+, sometimes it’s a bit more than 10% difference. Usually, it comes somewhere inbetween those two extremes.

How does a 3000+ do compared to a PIV 3.06GHz? It’s pretty even. Sometimes it wins, sometimes the PIV wins. It justifies its 3000+ PR rating.

Overclocking? It seems to do about as well as the TBredBs have been doing.

Now you don’t have to stay up until midnight and I don’t have to write this early tomorrow morning. 🙂

There’s nothing I’ve said above I hadn’t said or would have said if asked before. That’s the point. Once a processor line establishes itself, these things are usually pretty predictable. You shouldn’t expect big surprises.

What Barton Is And Isn’t

Unless AMD decides to make .09 micron Athlons, Barton is the end of the line for Athlons. That’s important for those who don’t belong to the CPU Club of the Month but want to buy one last processor for their beloved socket A system.

It’s a nice little incremental change for the better over the current TBredBs, but that’s all.

Unfortunately, the current price tag is not a nice little incremental change over current TBredBs; it’s more like a pole vault over them. You’d have to be out of your mind to pay $350 more for the 3000+ than for the 2700+ and end up with a 5-7% improvement.

Given that I’m running a $100 Newegg 2100+ right now at exactly the same 2700+ speed at what is default voltage for the 2700+, anybody who can change the FSB speed in a BIOS would be paying $550 more for that 5-7%.

We don’t know yet if 2500+ Bartons are as capable, but even if they are, a lot of people are going to wonder if an extra $80 or so is worth a 5-7& improvement and decide, “No.”

It’s a nice little processor. It’s neither an Intel-killer nor Intel cannon fodder. The only real problem with it at the moment is the price tag, which ranges from dubious to ludicrous given what you can get out of other current AMD processors. Unfortunately for you cheapskates out there :), the price will pretty much stay that way for quite some time.

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