We're certainly happy that AMD is bringing down the prices of their Athlon64 processors so that more people will have the opportunity to use them. The new Athlon64 2800+ model should help acceptance of these new products, but with a price tag of around $200, and only being $30-$40 less in comparison to the Athlon64 3000+ model, we're not looking at any major price breakthrough here. Still, this is the first Athlon64 processor which has been priced at a lower level compared to AMD's top Athlon XP processor.
The performance of the Athlon64 2800+ is impressive for an entry level processor - as despite its lower clock speed (and AMD PR / Quantispeed / Whatever rating) in comparison to the Athlon XP line, the A64 2800+ easily bests even the fastest Athlon XP chips in modern games. Application performance is hit or miss - some applications will be slower to top Athlon XP's due to the lower clock speed of the A64 2800+, while others will take advantage of the chip's on-die memory controller and will show better performance due to lowered memory latencies. In the big picture, we would say the Athlon64 2800+ is about on par, performance wise, with an Athlon XP 3200+. In comparison to Intel's Pentium 4, the Athlon 64 2800+ looks to perform about on par with the 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 in most applications, similar to a 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 in gaming.
Of course, when one can finally take advantage of the Athlon64's 64-bit processing abilities, we should see a boost for these new chips. While it's nice to think of an additional 10-20% performance boost down the road with Windows XP 64-bit Edition for AMD64, it's hard to even consider this an exciting feature anymore. Since the OS has been delayed so many times, we are just going to try to put it out of our heads until we hear a final release date.
Nevertheless, the Athlon64 will likely be a hit with the budget and silent PC markets. These markets gobble up the low-end models for their respective purposes (Intel's Pentium 4 1.6A and 2.4A GHz chips are two good examples of this - as they were cheap, overclocked well and could run with very little active cooling). Or, if you simply want a high-performance PC and don't need a top of the line CPU, the Athlon64 2800+ should fit the bill perfectly. Its fast, runs fairly cool, can run with low-noise cooling, and is a very stable little processor.
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