Welcome back to another installment of our Price Guides.  We have interesting follow up news from our AMD and Intel roadmap previews.  As always, do not forget to check our RealTime Price Guides for daily deltas and product listings updated by the minute!

We have had some interesting progress over the last couple weeks, particularly with roadmaps and product announcements. Hopefully, everyone got a chance to read Anand and Derek's Prescott developments from yesterday.  Intel's February 2nd NDA covered more than the introduction of: 3.4GHz Northwood, 4 Prescott CPUs, the 3.4GHz Gallatin P4EE.  There were also some interesting price revelations under the NDA that coincided with the processor releases.

First of all let's started off with Intel's pricing strategy.  Anand briefly touched on the subject that Prescott and Northwood CPUs of the same speeds would cost the same price to the consumer.  Derek's Benchmarks clearly show the Northwood cored CPUs put the newer Prescotts to short work (at least at present speeds).  However, the dirty little secret with Prescott is its unusual non-linear overclocking.  For those of you who rely upon our guides, the message should be obvious; buy Northwood until we start getting up to the speeds that Prescott can perform better such as 3.6GHz and higher.   Of course, if you read our Intel Roadmap analysis, you would know that we won't see speeds like that on mPGA478, only the new Socket 775 interface.

So, if there are two points to note in this weeks price guide, we already explained one; Prescott on Socket 478 is pointless.  Even the overclocking aspects of the processor aren't going to be worth it for now.  Socket 775 is not too far away, and when the new interface begins to show up, we would not be surprised if Prescott packs more of a punch (and maybe even a little less heat dissipation).  The second major point we wanted to bring up is that it looks like Prescott shipments are slightly lower than expected, and even delayed a few weeks.  Nearly all the vendors don't expect to see initial Prescott shipments until the 15th, and mass quantities until the 1st of March.  The 3.4GHz P4EE won't show up in initial quantities until March 1st, and 3.4GHz Prescott doesn't look like it will even show up in the next 60 days.  However, various fanboys need not interpret this as "Intel is dying."  When was the last time we saw a solid launch and release date from either AMD or Intel in the past 2 years?  Paper launching is the easiest way to pull vendors and analyst under NDA without them leaking information to each other.

OK, we have ranted enough on about marketing strategies; let us take a look at some pricings.

Obviously, this was a huge week for the existing Northwood processors.  Even though the official "price drop" for Intel was today, Vendors usually jump the gun by 5 to 7 days to stay competitive.  Practically all the Northwoods are suddenly extremely attractive (um, again).  The biggest drop on the P4 3.2C places it around $280.  Some of Derek's previous benchmarks anticipate this performance somewhere between the A64 3200+ and 3400+.  It's no surprise that the 3.2GHz Northwood and the A64 3200+ are priced identically.  If you encode DVDs rather than play games, the 3.2C is the chip to pick.

Similarly, the CPU choice is a toss up on the midrange CPUs as well.  Both Socket 478 and Socket 754 are dying sockets. Buying a 2.8GHz Northwood or an A64 3000+ Newcastle both lead to dead end upgrade paths.  The 2.8C is priced better today, but AMD has a price cut scheduled to show up near Valentine's Day.  If vendors are at all predictable (and they are), we will see some dramatic cuts in the AMD CPU prices around the middle of next week. 

In conclusion, if you had to buy a new CPU, today:

·        Go with the 3.2C for content creation on an expanded budget

·        The 2.8C is the chip for the moderate budget

However, with AMD's price cut so close, let's look at what's going on in Sunnyvale...

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  • AGM130 - Sunday, February 15, 2004 - link

    Anymore word on weather or not the A64 will drop in price? I have my debit card in a holster, just waiting!
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, February 4, 2004 - link

    Trogdor, have you any other memory to test it with? I have not heard great things about Geil recently. I am not sure...

  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, February 4, 2004 - link

    For Athlon 64 (socket 754), you list the MSI Neo FIS2R as a recommendation. Having just built one last weekend, I have to say that everything was great... except for the memory support. 1GB Geil Golden Dragon PC3200 2-3-3-6 timings would not run stable. I tried quite a few settings, but finally dropped to DDR333 to get it stable. So that's probably why it has this huge price drop: people are learning that it isn't very stable. Just my two cents. Make sure you get RAM that you know will run in the MSI board!
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, February 3, 2004 - link

    "Your indication that the 3000+ A64 model would drop is incorrect (I already have the new pricelist), A64 pricing will not be cut"

    I have heard about vendors say both will be cut. Please email me -

    I do agree AMD has been much better with paper launches since the A64 introduction. This does only account for 4 processors but its a good start.

  • KeithDust2000 - Tuesday, February 3, 2004 - link

    Also this: "You may recall that Opteron 248 was first announced at COMDEX 2003. Here we are two months later, and retail wise the 248 and 848 is virtually non-existent. We have seen a few chips here and there for review samples, but it appears that both AMD and Intel embrace the paper launch with open arms.

    The 248 model has become available from Monarch at launch day, and they have it in stock today. The 848, at a cost of more than $3000, is hardly a retail product, it´s not like 4way is the enthusiast´s choice. The P4EE wasn´t available anywhere for many months after introduction, so please don´t lump these together. AMD had terrible execution in earlier years, but since the Opteron launch, this has changed significantly, and it would be great if your statements would acknowledge that.

  • KeithDust2000 - Tuesday, February 3, 2004 - link

    Christopher, maybe you should check this review of the Athlon 64 3000+ from Anandtech


    to see that the 3000+ is much more comparable to the P4 3.2 Ghz instead of the 2.8 Ghz model, as you try to make it seem. The only relevant mainstream area where the 2.8Ghz model would be faster would be on certain encoding tasks, and those people who mainly encode video all day (???) and think a few percent faster really matter for them should choose that model. Others are surely better served by the 3000+. Your indication that the 3000+ A64 model would drop is incorrect (I already have the new pricelist), A64 pricing will not be cut, only AXP pricing will, and your guess that the 3000+ would be cut to 2.8Ghz P4 level is wrong, and wouldn´t make sense based on its performance and feature advantages (Cool´n´quiet etc.). It stays at the P4 3 Ghz level, which is more than adequate, considering what Anandtech (and everyone else) found out about it.

    As for your question:

    "When was the last time we saw a solid launch and release date from either AMD or Intel in the past 2 years?"

    A64 launched exactly on the day that AMD set many months before. It was available at launch day. The same is true for the FX, 3400+, and the 3000+ actually launched ahead of schedule. That is unlike the P4EE, or the Prescott.

    Buying the 3000+ doesn´t lead to a dead-end either, as it will be at least viable for the 3700+, and AMD has on Aceshardware given the indication that 90nm processors would also be made available for S754 boards.

    As for a dryup of Athlon XP parts, that is not what channel checks indicate.

    Just FYI.
  • KeithDust2000 - Tuesday, February 3, 2004 - link

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