What NOT To Get For Christmas

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a contrary sort.

So when I see a rather large chunk of the Western world doing their damndest to make you spend money before Christmas, I figure it’s the right time to tell you what you shouldn’t buy.

This is not one of my typical “three or six months from now you’ll get something better” articles. I know, I sound like the computer geek version of Annie singing “Tomorrow” all the time. 🙂

This is “wait a few weeks and you’ll get something better (or at least for less)” type of article.

I realize this could cause some problems some places. Here is a shameless suggestion for at least some households:

If anybody deserved a Christmas present, it was Baby Jesus, and even He had to wait. Forget those manger scenes; if you read the Bible, you’ll see that the Three Magi didn’t show up until long after Christmas with the goodies. Remember, they saw the star, then got going. By camel, not Concorde.

So if waiting was good enough for Baby Jesus, it’s good enough for your kid. 🙂


Intel and AMD will introduce new processors at or about January 7. Intel will have price cuts January 27; AMD will probably do something along those lines then, too.

If you’re thinking about a Northwood, you’d be crazy not to wait until after the 27th. If you’re thinking about an 1800+ or 1900+ XP; you’ll probably save money waiting until at least the 2000+ comes out.


You should never, and I repeat, never, buy a current motherboard and CPU at different times. I’m not talking about upgrading, I’m talking about buying one and having it sit around until you buy the other.

Both are likely to go down in price by the time you buy the second item. In the case of mobos, odds are there will be something a little better or if not, it will cost a bit less.

If you say, “if I don’t buy it now, I’ll spend it on something else,” you are saying, “I have a hole in my pocket and cannot control myself,” and I would suggest this is a good place for you (or maybe and/or your spouse) to start learning some self-control. It will serve you well in life.

On the AMD side, if you’re looking at the higher-priced KT266A or nVidia boards, keep in mind that they’ve just come out, and they’re still at premium prices. A month should go a long way to soften those prices.

On the Intel side, we’ll see Intel DDR PIV boards join the Via and SiS chipset boards. That should soften prices somewhat.

Hard Drives

Short of buying a Western Digital WD1000BB Special Edition with 8Mb cache, most buyers interested in a performance hard drive without paying a lot will probably be better off waiting to see IBM’s 120GXP line.

The 120GXP will be an ATA100 drive, but ATA133 drives will also become more common. If you’re into RAID, ATA-133 controllers will start to make sense since two high-end drives are going to start pushing the ATA-100 limitations.

Video Cards

Expect to see the GF3MX announced next month, and prices on the Ti200 settling towards the $150 range. This presumably will have some impact on Radeon pricing, too.


After Christmas, the 32X CD-RW recorders. Not saying you want to buy them, but that will lower prices on 24Xs.


Prices on the 15 inchers plummeted in 2001. They will drop on their big brothers in 2002, and not just for clearance items, either. Probably won’t see much of that in a month’s time, but you might want to start monitoring deals fairly shortly.

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