New Hammer Stepping . . . .

The Inquirer additionally verifies what we mentioned a couple months ago about a new Hammer stepping, this time with rather more detail, including the CPUID of the new stepping.

It looks like it will come out at the end of March when socket 939 and maybe an FX-53/3700+ will come out.

Presumably, sooner or later, all FX/64s/Opterons will use this stepping also.

Why You Should Wait Until Then

  • This new stepping will probably run a bit faster than the current steppings, and probably will be the last improvement for the 130nm generation.
  • By the time we see this, we’ll likely also see nForce 250 mobos, which may make it easier to overclock if they have a real AGP/PCI lock. Not saying the 250 will, but it could.
  • We’ll have a very clear idea where we stand with socket 478 Prescotts, and around the same time, we’ll should have at least a first glance at what a socket T Prescott can do. I’m not at all suggesting you hold your breath expecting miracles from these chips, but by April, we ought to at least be able to confirm that there’s no Santa Claus there.
  • If you buy now, you’re going to pay a lot. In April or May, you may end up paying a lot, too, but maybe something will happen in the meantime that will make desktop Hammers more affordable than they are today.

    I’m Hurting, What Should I Do?

    You chose a bad time to hurt. 🙁

    If you’re way behind the curve, this probably isn’t the best time to try to catch up all the way because the latest and greatest is not likely to look too hot 12-18 months from now.

    Those a bit more frugal and less impatient should give serious consideration to a cheap AthlonXP upgrade, and figure on spending the big bucks in 2005.

    One could use a Northwood system in the same role, but in all honesty, it’s a little pricey for a temporary stand-in role. Socket 478 Prescott is unlikely to change that conclusion much if at all. Socket T Prescotts will end up being a much more expensive platform solution, and would have to perform almost miraculously to justify its cost.

    A socket 939 system with a $200 CPU would be a better choice, but unfortunately, it looks unlikely AMD doesn’t seem to want to charge less than $400 for one any time soon.

    That leaves socket 754, and again, the cost is too high to be considered a good temporary standin, and in the long run, it’s not going to age well (and frankly, if you haven’t upgraded in years, that ought to be a big consideration).

    Socket 754 is likely to end up appealing to those who only plan to use the system for less than a year. For those folks, it’s likely to be the least bad choice.

    But again, you might as well get the latest stepping to milk whatever you can out of it, and maybe hope for a price decrease.


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