Bottom Feeders, Rejoice!

There are those among you who want to make every dollar count. You’re not cutting-edge, you’re more back of the knife.

This approach may not give you bragging rights, but your wallet thanks you for it.

It looks like your day is near if not here.

It looks like nVidia and Via will be fighting it out at the bottom end of the AMD mobo market with perfectly good if feature-sparse single-channel single-channel motherboards at the $60-70 price point. They’re just coming out, and you might want to wait a bit for the chaff to be separated from the wheat, but some of those boards will likely give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Take one of those, a low-end TBredB (or shortly, a Thorton), and 512Mb of good but not spectacular PC3200 (if not PC2700), overclock to the 166MHz FSB level (which probably won’t even require a voltage increase), and you have a perfectly good core system not all that far away from state-of-the-art for not much more than $200. That’s not much more than buying a 2.4GHz PIV all by itself. If you want to splurge and get a Barton, add another $45 or so.

The single-channel nVidia boards in particular seem to hold up very well indeed.

You won’t have frills like on-chip SATA, but you’re not too likely to have any SATA drives, anyway.

Is There A Joe Sixpack In Your Life?

He’s got an aging system, and all he does is web browsing and email? It’s getting slow, but he doesn’t feel like laying out a bunch for a new machine?

This could be just the thing for him. Maybe toss in a newish hard drive, and he gets a big speed boost for a bit more than $300. That could last him a long, long time given what he does.

Last Call

The world is going to change a lot equipment-wise in the next two years. Two years from now, SATA will be standard. PCI-Express will be the standard for video cards. DDR-2 will be the standard for memory. We’ll be running at 5GHz or a bit better.

Transitioning will no doubt be a somewhat painful experience. Stuff won’t work right the first time, or at least not much better than the old stuff to begin with. That’s the price you pay for being on the bleeding edge, but truth be told, many of you (and even more of your Sixpack friends) don’t have time (or cash) to bleed anymore.

We’re looking at the last call for socket A, and frankly, for many, many people, this setup will be fast enough for the right price for a long time.


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