The Camel's Back

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Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Nehalem overclocking is turning into some form of Treasure Hunt. 

Do this, that and the other thing, turn on this, turn off that, don’t do this (and don’t ask why).  Bloomfield overclocking will not only be more expensive, but more difficult. 

Difficulty is a relative concept, of course.  What really matters is the final results.  If Bloomfields consistently fall shy of 4GHz, unless you’re a big renderer/encoder, at least the initial stepping of these processors may not be your best bet, at least if price/performance is your major criteria. 

Those who have read my last few articles may well be wondering, “Gee, Ed seems to have a bug up nether regions about these Nehalems.”  Well, it’s not a bug, but a thought. 

The last few years, we have realized, accepted, and put into practice the notion that the average run-of-the-mill computer user really doesn’t need top or even middle-of-the-line equipment to do the average run-of-the-mill work they do.  

We may have reached the point where growing numbers of the kinds of people who go to websites like this one may come to the same conclusion because outside factors are pushing them in that direction.  On the one hand, Intel’s luxury branding is raising the price of the best-to-pretty-good.  On the other hand, at the same economic bad times or the fear of them are reducing the overall ability/inclination of the usual suspects to pay for them.    

Add to that less-than-stellar gaming results and reduced overclockability and greater difficulty to achieve that overclockability and all these factors start piling up like straw on a camel’s back, and I’m starting to wonder if that camel’s back is going to break, or at least fracture a little.  At what point will a sizable chunk of people say “Enough” cross Bloomfields off the list, and start looking at all the options?   

We should have an idea on what a Deneb can do by the end of the year.  It won’t be as good as the Bloomfields, it will do well to give the Penryns a fight for their money, but if they and the overall platform are priced right, AMD may have an opportunity here.     

There have been times in the past when AMD has been able to grab the lowish-end of the enthusiast/overclocking market even when Intel clearly had the better product.  The K6-2 did quite well against the Pentium II, at least until the Celeron 300A came along. 

This is a different time, a different fight, and likely a different result, of course.  But what I think will become true is that the choice of CPU is no longer going to be pretty much a given like it has been during the C2D era.  Some will certainly pick Bloomfields.  Some more will go with the Denebs, certainly more than went with Phenoms.  I suspect even more will pick the Penryns in the middle.  

Obviously plenty of people thought and acted along these lines long before now.  What I suspect though, is that a lot more people are going to join them because Intel is pushing too hard to make more money at the wrong time with a product that isn’t all that great shakes for the price. 

Ed

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