Introduction

As always, we like to discuss some handy features of our wonderful Real Time Price Engine, such as the ability to search for product SKU’s like “ADA3000DAA4BP”. This makes searching for an exact product a breeze. You can also try searching for product categories like “AMD CPU”. Another exceptional feature is the ability to ignore certain words from your search results. To do this, you would add the “-“ (minus) sign and the word. For example, if I were searching for all Pentium CPUs except the Pentium D, I would enter: “Intel Pentium –D”.

In this week’s CPU price guide, we found that the AMD Athlon Dual Core processors dropped prices in recent times. The X2 3800+ has remained unchanged for the most part and is still considered the “best bang for the buck”. We also noticed a recent price drop with the AMD 3800+ and 4000+ Venice cores, which could be due to the increase in demand for the dual core processors.

AMD’s Opteron line has remained mostly unchanged except for a few outrageous price jumps that we noticed. And the Xeon processors have remained practically the same since our last price guide, something we eagerly want to know why that is.

Also, the Intel 500, 600 and 800 series have also remained quite stable with the 500 and 600 series being just about equal in performance.

Dual Core Desktops
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  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 30, 2005 - link

    The 2.2 GHz 1MB 939 3700+ is very similar in performance to the 2.4 GHz 1MB 754 3700+, with the exception of the 939 chip using 90nm SOI vs. 130nm SOI. The top chip for 754 will be the 3700+, with a *mobile* 4000+ coming in the future - which may or may not work on most 754 boards. (90nm SOI chips for 754 exist, but they don't work on quite a few of the older boards.) So, you're saving $50 relative to socket 939, more or less.

    Things you can't get from socket 754 (most likely ever):
    Dual Core
    4GB of RAM
    SLI and/or Crossfire
    Faster than 2.6 GHz (without overclocking)

    None of those things are huge shortcomings, but 939 is a better platform overall. Running two DIMMs is in general more stable, there is a much larger selection of quality motherboards, and the simple fact that 754 is now a "value" platform means that most boards target a different audience. If you're looking at $275 or so for 3700+ 754, $300-$325 for 939 is a pretty reasonable upgrade. Both are destined to be replaced next year, but even when M2 and S1 come out, there will still be plenty of faster 939 chips floating around.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 30, 2005 - link

    Incidentally, as far as performance, I'd say:

    939 vs. 754:
    dual-channel = 0 to 10% more performance; 7% typical in games
    Rev. E vs. Rev. C = 0 to 7% more performance; 5% average

    So, clock for clock, with the same amount of cache, a San Diego will be around 0 to 18% faster than a Clawhammer, with the typical performance boost being 10 to 12%.

    Right now, the 754 3700+ is a great deal for upgraders - hell, it's cheaper than the 3400+ (both variants) as well as the 3200+ Hammer core. It's a little odd, as the price should be closer to $250 (looking at the other 754 chips). The San Diego 3700+ is probably still faster, but I don't think it's $75 faster.

    San Diego will also overclock better than the Clawhammer, if that's important to you - especially the 754 Clawhammer. You'll be lucky to get that chip to 2.6, but the San Diego will often do 2.7 to 2.8, and even 2.9+ in some cases (water cooling will help). I'd say 939 is by far the more flexible option, but there are still some interesting options at times for 754.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Sunday, October 30, 2005 - link

    So Jarred, if one is looking at building a new system, but has no interest in SLI and wants to keep it cheap, would s754 still be a viable option or not?

    Figure using whatever s754 board supports SATA, USB2.0, and PCI-E as the basic requirements.
    Throw in that 3700+ chip, a 7800GT, a 74GB Raptor 10k drive, and 1-2GB of pc3200. No overclocking.

    I'd love to see how that setup runs some of the latest games like FEAR and Quake4.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 30, 2005 - link

    Wait... did you just use "cheap" and then list a 7800GT and a Raptor!? ;)

    I really don't get why people are so hung-up on Raptors. Yeah, the 10K RPM helps some applications load a bit faster, but I'd take 2GB of RAM with a 160GB HDD over 1GB with a 74GB Raptor. But I digress.

    Performance-wise, the 3700+ 754 should be within 5% of the 3700+ 939 for games, and while 5% is a measurable difference, it's not noticeable. I'd still go for 939, as the increased competition has created a lot more quality motherboards. What's the best socket 754 motherboard? I think it's probably the DFI LanParty UT 250Gb - even now! But that's an AGP board.

    The ASUS K8N4-E Deluxe is pretty good, but more expensive than the feature set warrants IMO. The DFI Infinity 4X is probably the best PCIe 754 board for price/performance, but then you miss out some features like Firewire and SATA2. I can't comment on the Abit NV8, Gigabyte GA-K8NE, etc. as I haven't tried any of them. Anyway, http://labs.anandtech.com/search.php?q=nforce4%207...">here's the list of nForce4 754 boards - choose your poison.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Sunday, October 30, 2005 - link

    Thanks Jarred, that's a very helpful reply! :) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 30, 2005 - link

    The 2.2 GHz 1MB 939 3700+ is very similar in performance to the 2.4 GHz 1MB 754 3700+, with the exception of the 939 chip using 90nm SOI vs. 130nm SOI. The top chip for 754 will be the 3700+, with a *mobile* 4000+ coming in the future - which may or may not work on most 754 boards. (90nm SOI chips for 754 exist, but they don't work on quite a few of the older boards.) So, you're saving $50 relative to socket 939, more or less.

    Things you can't get from socket 754 (most likely ever):
    Dual Core
    4GB of RAM
    SLI and/or Crossfire
    Faster than 2.6 GHz (without overclocking)

    None of those things are huge shortcomings, but 939 is a better platform overall. Running two DIMMs is in general more stable, there is a much larger selection of quality motherboards, and the simple fact that 754 is now a "value" platform means that most boards target a different audience. If you're looking at $275 or so for 3700+ 754, $300-$325 for 939 is a pretty reasonable upgrade. Both are destined to be replaced next year, but even when M2 and S1 come out, there will still be plenty of faster 939 chips floating around.
    Reply
  • Visual - Saturday, October 29, 2005 - link

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 (939) 3800+ 2x512KB Toledo
    TOLEDO???
    is that for real, like, they lock half the l2 for these chips, or is it just a mistake?
    Reply
  • Nyati13 - Saturday, October 29, 2005 - link

    The full 1M cache failed test, but a 512K subsection tested good, so they lock the bad half, and sell it as a 512K chip, instead of just throwing it away because the full 1M cache failed.

    CPU companies have always done this... it's nothing new
    Reply
  • beakerman - Saturday, October 29, 2005 - link

    Am I the only one that can't see the Dual Core Product List on Page 2? I see an empty chart. Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Saturday, October 29, 2005 - link

    As usual there seem to be some oddities in the pricing, like right now

    Intel Xeon 3.4GHz 800FSB 1MB Monarch Computer 469.00
    Intel Xeon 3.4GHz 800FSB 2MB NewEgg 465.00

    ...but never mind, I suppose it makes choosing between the two easier :)
    Reply

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