Buy now or wait? – Processors

Funny though true – “the hot new thing You just bought is already old”. Even if it is exaggerated it tells part of the story. Now, before any launch of a product the manufacturer already has at least some idea what the successor will offer. Either because it wasn’t yet cost effective or they plainly didn’t have time to implement it before the deadline – it works like that.


Blue vs Green

It all started in the 90s, however the true clash happened in early 2000s with the introduction of the first and mostly second Athlon XP series. Then came the biggest blow Intel ever received, when AMD introduced the X2 series. Suffice to say, Intel was basically in the same situation AMD is in right now. Couldn’t hold a candle to any of the AMD’s top-end. Now, AMD lost the performance crown during the new reign of Core 2 Duo-s and it’s successors – Core i-s. This year is the supposed come back of AMD with Zen architecture.

After all those years of failures to compete with Intel in high-end I wouldn’t be excited at all about those announcements if there wasn’t anything behind them backing up the theories. First of all, AMD is finally focusing on IPC performance, therefore single-core capabilites. To this day AMD can handle multi-threaded loads just as fine as the fastest Intel CPUs. But it’s hardly a standard for all apps to use all cores efficiently. Especially games, even with DX12 proper implementation are basically lagging behind systems with Intel CPUs. So, there You have it – focus on IPC. First good sign.

The second one is that AMD is hard at work with 14nm process node, which is here to stay for a while after Intel’s serious problems with it. This therefore, is the first opportunity for AMD to fight on the same level as their older CPUs were all at least one process node behind, which dictated poorer frequency, which affected single-core performance and also destroyed power consumption compared to newest i-designated processors made by Intel. Second promising sign.


Now, the last one is AMD focus. It’s very hard to find a better motivation than a knife on the throat. And I can bet that if Zen won’t enable AMD to shake off that dust of it will mean death for their worldwide presence if 1st league of CPU makers. The graphics department will be probably designated to be some other company, so that it’s not affected by bad press just like all other products will get rebranded. I just love these situations, because thanks to this kind of competition with themselves I feel we’ll have the chance to see something truly new and exciting.

Time for shopping?

What does this have to do with Your shopping plans, You say? Even if AMD is on par with top-end from Intel or even slightly worse but still competitive to rival in this part of the market – the prices of CPUs from Intel will finally plummet. The Core series was priced reasonably as it was the first breakthrough from Intel after Pentium 4/D stagnation age and the X2s from AMD were still a heck of a competition. Later on, with established position in high-end, unrivaled i5s and i7s were reaching new highs in terms of price as there was nothing to compete with them. That’s why I love competition – even if one manufacturer is the best, it can feel the breath on their neck from behind and won’t get ridiculous with margins. Therefore, I think now it’s the time to wait with Your computer shopping and wait till the 4Q16 to get a real bargain.

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