The Inquirer has an article about what the socket A Semprons are going to be like. It points out the obvious from the data: lower speed, higher PR rating.
We spoke about this reorientation of PR the other day, and noted that AMD appears to be trying to match Intel’s implied performance ratings for Celerons.
What we didn’t notice was the possible price ramifications of such a reorientation. Given what AMD has done with Hammer/PIV price equality, it is likely that Semprons will also be priced to match Celeron’s prices.
As a matter of fact, after taking the planned price cut by Intel in late August into account, the Sempron prices are just the same as the official Celeron prices. Look here for Sempron pricing, look here for current official Intel pricing and just move the prices up a row.
What will this mean?
In the short term, it means an effective price increase on Athlon XPs. For example, a Sempron 2500+ is really the equivalent of an Athlon XP 2200+. A Sempron 2500+ will have an initial official price of $69. The current official price of an Athlon XP 2200+ is $66, and if AMD had left matters alone, the price of that come late August would probably have been $61 or $62.
There’s no Bartons in Sempron land. A Sempron 2600+ runs at the same speed as a 2500+ Barton, but only has half the cache, so it performs perhaps 5% slower than the 2500+. It will be initially priced at $79, while after the next round of price cuts, the Barton would have gone to $71.
In short, AMD is charging you a bit more for a bit less.
Trying To Stretch It Out
What AMD is trying to do here is stretch out the financially useful life of XP chips. Like it or not, the vast majority of CPUs produced by AMDs are going to be XPs for another six-nine months.
The average selling price on XPs has gone down quite a bit the last six months. Imagine what they’d be left alone six-nine months from now.
This reorientation is an attempt by AMD to at least keep socket A
Thoroughbreds Semprons from becoming a big loser and fiscal anchor over the next six-nine months.
This may be quite understandable and even necessary for AMD, but you hardly have to buy into this. (We’ll also note that a default FSB of 167 is going to leave less overclocking room for many.)
If you need some XPs and especially Bartons any time soon, stock up soon.