The Terminal Socket A System

Have an early Athlon system that you want to replace cheaply so that you’ll feel fairly modern for a while to come?

The last socket A board you’ll ever buy?

And you’re not going to be the first, second, or even seven millionth in line for an Athlon64 system?

In short, you have to make it count for a couple years?

If that’s the case, then you probably should wait for what will be the last generation of socket A boards.

In the case of Via, this will be the KT600 generation of boards; for nVidia, it will be the nForce2 Ultra.

There’s a few reasons why you might want to wait a bit for these to show up.

First, these boards will likely show more stability running at 200MHz or more than current boards.

Second, by the time these come around, prices on at least the medium-level TBredBs should be cheaper than they are now. Bartons will likely remain pricey until the fall/winter.

Third, the KT600 will and the nForce2 Ultra likely will include native SATA support. This may not seem important to you now, but eighteen months from now, this likely will be a much different story.

Memory, as always, is a bit of an iffy proposition. It is likely that the introduction of the 200MHz motherboards by Intel will put upward pressure on prices. In the longer run, SARS might also possibly do the same thing.

In all likelihood, though, any price increases that occur in the short term are unlikely to prove sustainable.

None of these are killer reasons to hold off if you feel any really pressing need to upgrade now.

But, as is growingly the case, if you don’t find yourself in any horrible rush to do this, you might as well keep this in mind and either upgrade with the last, or at least buy today’s best at second-best prices tomorrow.

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