Good morning everyone! Itís been a while since Iíve posted one of these columns (or any articles, for that matter), as Iíve been quite busy with school over the last couple weeks. The good news is, in less than a week, Iíll be finished with my finals, and will have the better part of a month off. That will be time I fully intend to spend on getting a fair amount of new content up on the site. As far as the type of content, I have, waiting for my attention, a new Hercules video card, a couple of boards from ECS, and (hopefully) some other interesting stuff as well.
I also wanted to talk about something I find somewhat interesting, or rather just offer some food for thought. Brookdale with SDR is nearly upon us, and nearly every review site I have read seems to say the same thing: ĎI canít believe Intel would do this! It performs so poorly! Nobody will buy this!í. I submit that it doesnít matter how it performs, and that yes, many, many people will buy it.
I wonít. You probably wonít. Most in the enthusiast community won't. But what many in our community fail to consider is that thereís more outside this community, and that whatís outside is considerably bigger and more profitable than whatís inside. Intel knows that, and is banking on it. Outside the hardware enthusiast community we call home, buyers really only see two things; clockspeed, and price. The Athlon has been a huge success, thanks in no small part to the fact that AMD has been able to deliver higher clockspeeds than Intel most of the way. That ball is now in Intelís court. What Brookdale with PC133 will do is allow Intel to offer a lot of clockspeed, for a pretty cheap price, and thatís going to look very appetizing for the average consumer.
Yes, a Brookdale P4 will be a good 10-20% slower than an RDRAM-based P4, and probably close to 40% slower than an Athlon at a similar price. Again, it doesnít matter, not to Joe home user. Joe home user uses MS Word, Internet Explorer, and so on -- don't even begin to tell me you can feel a difference between SDRAM or RDRAM, or an Athlon or a Pentium 4 in MS Word. And how likely is your Great Aunt to complain because her Pentium 4 uses SDRAM instead of RDRAM? Not very.
Iím not saying we should all accept less for our money, and that we should all buy P4s with SDRAM just because Ďthatís the way it isí. What Iím saying is that 90% of the people who purchase computers are computer-illiterate, and thatís precisely why this strategy of Intelís is going to work. And before you accuse those people of being stupid or wasting their money, think for a moment, because most of us have been in those shoes before. Maybe not about a computer, but when you bought your last, say, washing machine, did you know everything there was to know about washing machines before you bought it? I doubt it. Could you have gotten a better deal somewhere? Very probably. Does it matter to you right now that you didnít? Does it really bother you that your washing machine only holds 4 cubic feet, when you couldíve had one that holds 4.5 cubic feet for the same amount of money? I doubt it. Does that make you an idiot? Hardly. It makes you an average consumer, like all those computer buyers out there. You donít really care about washing machines -- it's just a tool. So you probably just bought the first/closest/easiest/cheapest one you found that was acceptably reliable, and had the basic features you needed. Contrary to the common assumptions of this community, thatís how most people buy computers. Thatís how most people buy almost everything.
For us Ďenlightenedí folk, weíll still have our Athlons. Weíll be completely happy knowing that we bought a 1.4 GHz Athlon and overclocked it to 1.7 GHz for less than the cost of a 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 system. Weíll be even happier knowing that our 1.7 GHz Athlon runs circles around even a 2.2 GHz Pentium 4, and weíll be satisfied that we got a better deal for our money (and we did!). Joe home user wonít know, and even if you tried to explain it to him, he probably wouldnít care any more than you'd care about some guy blabbing on about washing machines. Heíll have a Pentium 4, heíll be happy with it, and thatís that. Ignorance is a wonderfully easy and comfortable state.