What About The 805? . . .

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A few have asked us, “Why haven’t you shown any interest in the Pentium D 805? It’s so cheap!”

Well, we have curbed our enthusiasm for the 805 for three reasons:

  • It’s a 90nm Smithfield processor, which means “Prescott Twins,” and we didn’t like one of them, much less two because . . .
  • It’s a furnace, and
  • It really doesn’t perform all that well for all the heat hassles.

    Much of the enthusiasm out there is due to this article about overclocking one.

    Well, I don’t know about you but I feel a wee bit uncomfortable with a processor chewing up around 200 watts while running at about 80C and seeing the old thermal throttling popping in here and there, and so do many of the people who bought one.

    I look at the results, and the competitors, and they seem a bit . . . managed. It seems that a reasonable overclocked (yes, rather more expensive) X2 processor would easily beat the 805 in most tests, and one is left wondering if a reasonably overclocked recent single core A64/Opteron might not do just as well for most of these tests.

    But yes, it is cheap.

    The Pitfalls of Conroe for the Cheap

    Conroes will show up in two months, and they will be relatively inexpensive for a new line, but . . .

    Those highly averse to spending money will be attracted by the $183 E6300 model. The problem with that model is that it only has a 7X multiplier. Run it at 400MHz, and you still have only a 2.8GHz processor. To get to 3GHz, you need a 430MHz FSB, to hit 3.2, you need almost 460MHz. These are extremely high FSB speeds, and from initial reports, even expensive 975X boards start crapping out at these speeds.

    I fear a lot of people are going to leave a bunch of performance on the table to save $40.

    The $224 model E6400, with its 8X multiplier looks to be a better bet to match Conroe’s expected overclockability, and the 9X $316 E6600 will appeal to those who’d rather be safe than sorry (or if the average Conroe can be pushed to around the 3.5GHz range), but these are both priced much higher than the 805, and Intel doesn’t apparently plan to budge on pricing until about a year from now.

    So what’s a frugal person to do?

    A Better Bargain Coming In A Week

    On June 4, Intel is going to slash prices on its dual core processors, not only Smithfields, but Preslers, too.

    The price most worth of note is that for the Pentium D 940: $133, or just about the same as today’s prices for the 805. That’s a 3.2GHz, 65nm dual-core CPU.

    If you must have a really cheap dual core processors, the 940 may give you a little more headroom and definitely fewer hassles from extreme heat than the 805 (though it’s still a pretty hot processor). Not saying it’s a match for the AMD X2s, for either performance or heat, but it will cost almost $200 less than the cheapest X2.

    Yes, the 805s will also go down to a mere $93, but the price difference between it and a more advanced Presler chip will dwindle to just $40, and there is such a thing as being penny-wise and pound-foolish.


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