Sticker Shock

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Nehalem Bloomfields will rule the roost when they come out, but they aren’t going to be any bargain.

We spoke about Deneb yesterday, and were less than awed.

Let’s look a bit today at what the other guys have to offer.

Benchmarks have been dribbling in here and there for Nehalem, and what they’re revealing is a more-than-solid improvement over Penryn.

Yesterday, revealed that the entry price for Nehalems will be $284.

This will be about 10% lower than first thought, but Nehalems still look to be an expensive proposition.

Just How Expensive?

If you’re planning on having a Nehalem Christmas, there’s a few things you ought to know.

First, Nehalem requires a new socket, socket 1366, so you’ll need a new mobo. They won’t be cheap. It’s hard to imagine an X58 chipset mobo costing less than current X38/48 mobos, probably will cost more.

Second, the Bloomfield Nehalems will use three-channel DDR3 RAM. That means at a minimum, three 1GB sticks, and more likely three 2GB sticks. Overclockers will probably want DDR3-1600 or more to hit the 500MHz or better bus speeds they’ll want.

Let’s price this. I’m going to give two prices. The low figure represents what I think is an optimistic price for these items by November. The high figure represents a pessimistic price for these items.


Low Price

High Price

Nehalem 2.66GHz



Socket 1366 motherboard



3GB DDR3-1333 RAM



3GB DDR3-1600 RAM



6GB DDR3-1333 RAM



6GB DDR3-1600 RAM



As you can see, even someone scrimping in a favorable pricing environment will lay out over $700 USD in the US (and in all honesty, I doubt DDR3-1333 is going to cut it at 500MHz+), and the price tag for a 6GB system could be $1300+. A realistic ballpark figure is probably around $1,000USD in the USA.

And that’s before the video card.

The point is not to complain; there’s no point in doing that and in any event, it’s the package, not just the processor, that costs a lot.

The point here is to point out that Bloomfield systems are going to be pricey and pretty much stay pricey well into 2009. Yes, there will probably be some scarcity scalping at the very beginning, but after that dies down, the only place for real cost reduction is in DDR3.

So by, say January, it will pretty much be poop or get off the pot until the cheaper (and allegedly nonoverclockable) Lynnfields and Havendales begin to show up in Q3 2009, because waiting until somewhere inbetween isn’t going to help much.

That may give AMD a chance to get back into the overclocker game if the high-K 45nm due to show up sometime in 2009 are good or even not so good, but a lot cheaper.


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