Upgrading to AMD's Latest Chipset - Phenom II Pricing Strategy

Upgrading to AMD's Latest Chipset - Phenom II Pricing Strategy
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Early Pricing Unveiled

Now that Shanghai has given us a sneak peak at what kind of performance we can expect from the new Phenom II, another important piece of the equation is pricing. And it appears that piece is now in place. Early reports concerning the debut prices of the two Phenom II processors are now available. These prices won’t be the same as the prices which will appear at retail, as most new hardware debuts with a price slightly above the MSRP, but they should be close.

The pricing available so far is only for the Phenom II 3.0 Ghz and for the Phenom II 2.8 Ghz. These probably represent the highest-end Phenom II offerings that we will see in January. The 3.0 Ghz Phenom II is rumored to debut at $275 dollars, while the Phenom II 2.8 Ghz will be priced at $235 dollars.

To put things into perspective, Intel’s Q9300 2.5Ghz Core 2 Quad typically costs $239.99, the Q9400 2.66Ghz costs $269.99 and the Q9550 2.83Ghz costs $319.99.

If the performance of the Phenom II is slightly inferior to that of the Core 2 Quad, as is predicted, the new Phenom II products would be in a good position to compete with Core 2 Quads. The Phenom II 2.8Ghz would be competing with the Q9300 on price, but its performance would be more on part with the Q9400. Meanwhile, the 3.0Ghz Phenom II should be priced well below the Q9550, but would be roughly equal in performance.

What About Core i7?

Of course, there is an elephant in the room that I haven’t spoken of yet - the Core i7.

The Core i7 920 2.66Ghz is priced at $299.99. That makes it only $15 dollars more than the Phenom II 3.0Ghz, and there is little question that the Core i7 at 2.66Ghz will be far superior to the Phenom II at 3.0Ghz. If AMD managed to outperform the Core i7 with its high-end Phenom II processors, it would not only be a major upset, but would also suggest that AMD for some reason had handicapped their server processors.

That said, when the supporting RAM and chipset standards are taken into consideration, the Core i7 no longer looks to be a good value. With X58 motherboards running at least $225 (apprx $300 on average), and triple-channel DDR3 RAM costing almost $200, a Core i7 upgrade no longer appears attractive.

In fact, the low cost of a Phenom II platform is only one of its strengths going forward. While Intel is in the middle of changing sockets, AMD is aiming to ensure that AM3 will be compatible with AM2 and AM2+. AMD also is not mandating a switch to DDR3 memory. This means that most users who are currently using Phenoms should be able to upgrade to Phenom II at their leisure without investing in a complete overhaul of their computer.

More Pricing to Come

Of course, this is still the early game. The move from theoretical price to actual price isn’t always smooth. Demand for new hardware is often high, and that drives up prices. Also, these pricing sneak-peeks don’t indicate what the pricing for entry-level Phenom IIs will be.

That said, we’re less than a month away from launch. News about the performance and pricing of the Phenom II should soon be abundant, so stay tuned

This post is part of the series: Phenom II Preview

The new Phenom II is just around the corner. Will it be able to defeat the Core 2 Duo, or will it fail to meet expectations as did the original Phenom?

  1. The Phenom II Part 1: Look to Shanghai
  2. The Phenom II Part 2: Pricing Preview
  3. The Phenom II Part 3: It Has Arrived
  4. The Phenom II Part 4: Platform Comparisons