Overclocking Opterons: An Update 2279

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With the AMD price drops on lower-speed Opterons, more than a few people have been asking about the prospects of overclocking Opterons to FX levels at much less than FX price levels.

About a month ago, we spoke a bit about what what Opteron overclockers needed to look for to give them a fighting chance to do so. If you didn’t see the article, or forgot what was in it, here it is again.

Well, we have some good news and some bad news.

The Bad News

The bad news is that it doesn’t appear that you can change the multiplier with Opterons the way you can with FXs.

This means that you have to increase the “FSB” on an Opteron motherboard in order to overclock. Since no Opteron motherboard (even in theory) goes over 300MHz, this will limit the speeds you could even theoretically reach with a 1.4GHz or 1.6GHz Opteron (and as you’ll see, there’s no point in even trying with these processors currently).

This leaves just the 1.8GHz Opteron. While it’s hardly cheap, you can get one for $283, which is a lot better than an FX or even Athlon64.

There’s also an even better piece of news about the 1.8GHz.

The Right Stepping Stuff…

What You Don’t Want For Christmas

nVidia video cards Over 90% of those indicating they wanted a video card said they wanted an ATI card. There were a few who indicated nVidia, very few. Most who chose ATI didn’t even mention nVidia as a factor. It’s a wipeout for nVidia among this audience.

Hammers There was virtually no interest shown in buying Hammers (less than 2% of those responding even mentioned it), or even willingness to mention them. Most of what little was there said “only if the price dropped a lot.” Prescott hardly got a whisper, either. People seem to be settling down with the systems they have for a while (which could well be the reason why they were more willing to splurge on video cards).

SFF For all the hype they’ve been getting lately, few indicated they were going to buy one soon.

Conclusion: Value Counts

The impression I got in general from the responses was that people were searching for value. They did that one of two ways.

For most things, they tended to buy items that reached an acceptable personal price point. DVD recorders and Barton systems were the prime examples of this, but most of the other popular items have also dropped significantly in price recently; even if they aren’t terribly cheap, like LCD screens and notebooks.

The only real exception to that rule were video cards, and there, it seemed to be more a matter of spending more so as to maximize the abilities of current equipment and use it for a while.

This is not good news for those out to sell future equipment next year.

We’ve spoken about AMD and Hammer pricing ad nauseum, so we’ll spare you this time. People aren’t against the product; it’s a price thing.

nVidia is quite another matter. This audience has proven in the past to be a good leading indicator of future trends for the general computing population, what they think today is often what others think tomorrow.

I’d be scared excrementless if I were nVidia after seeing these responses. Right now, they aren’t losing, they’re not even playing, at least not according to this audience.

If the next generation of cards don’t come up big, nVidia is in big trouble.

Thanks again to all who participated!

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