2004 Looking ahead

“Extremetech”:http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3973,1419529,00.asp. A comprehensive review that helps plans buys for this upcoming year AMD
“X-bit Labs”:http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20031203151532.html has all the details on the Prescott launch including pricing. The net is the launch is February 2.
Main points are that we can expect in 1H04 the new “Prescott” to be marketed as SSE3 (what amazing marketing types these guys are :-), have 1MB cache and are built in 90nm (!!!) technology. Here is the pricing listed. The sweetspot pricing is now for the 3.0GHz Prescott:
| Chip | Price | Features |
| Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.40GHz | $999 | 2MB cache, Hyperthreading |
| Intel Pentium 4 ?Northwood? 3.40GHz | $417 | 512MB cache, but available immediately |
| Intel Pentium 4 SSE3 ?Prescott? 3.40GHz | $417 | 1MB cache, HT |
| Intel Pentium 4 SSE3 ?Prescott? 3.20GHz | $278 | 1MB cache, HT |
| Intel Pentium 4 SSE3 ?Prescott? 3.00GHz | $218 | 1MB cache. HT |
| Intel Pentium 4 SSE3 ?Prescott? 2.80GHz | $178 | 1MB cache, HT |
| Intel Pentium 4 SSE3 ?Prescott? 2.80A | $163 | 1MB cache, but no hyperthreading |
At the same time AMD will boost the clock rates of their Athlon 64 to meet them (they are readying their own 90nm technology) and announced the 3400+ yesterday according to “Neoseeker”:http://www.neoseeker.com/news/story/3039/ and “The Register”:http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/51/34718.html priced at $429 and the 3200+ drops to $300 with the 3000+ at $200. On other fronts, in the 2H04, we’ll see PCI Express which will really speed up the now slow (133MHz) PCI bus and a new socket set from both AMD and Intel as well as a new motherboard form factor called BTX.
| Component | First Half of 2004 | Second Half of 2004 |
| Intel processors | Prescott, Socket 478 | Prescott, Socket 778 |
| AMD processors | Athlon 64: speed tweaks at socket 754 and socket 940 | 90nm releases, socket 939 for high end Athlon 64 |
| Form factors | ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | BTX released in conjunction with PCI Express |
| Expansion | AGP, PCI, PCI-X | PCI Express, PCI |
I thought they had great advice for upgrading. Basically, don’t get the newest technology, but get the N-1 version for best price performance, so a typical new system might be bought in 1H04 would be:
| Component | Intel System | Athlon 64 System |
| Processor | 3.0GHz Pentium 4 SSE3 | Athlon 64 3200+ |
| Motherboard | Intel 865PE-based (lower cost than 875) | nForce3 or VIA K8T800-based |
| Hard drive | Parallel ATA, 120GB | Parallel ATA, 120GB |
| Graphics Card | nVidia 5900SE/5700 Ultra or ATI 9600XT/9800 non-Ultra or XT | nVidia 5900SE/5700 Ultra or ATI 9600XT/9800 non-Ultra or XT |
| Memory | DDR400, CAS2.5/3/3 | DDR400, CAS2.5/3/3 |
For low budget, downgrade to a 2.4GHz Pentium IV or the Athlon XP 3000+ (and use a nForce2 motherboard).

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