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March 12, 2009 04:52 PM PDT


Author: JimAdkins. 7252 Reads
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A few weeks ago I used part of my federal tax refund, (thanks Uncle Sam) and bought a new processor, an AMD Phenom X4 9950 BE CPU to be exact, the fastest processor my old Asus M2N-E (nForce 570) motherboard can support. Yawn. Many years ago my first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer (CoCo), it had 16 KB of RAM, a cassette drive for storage, and much of the software I used I programmed myself in Microsoft BASIC. Yes I am really old. My first actual PC was a Packard Bell with a crippled Intel 386 SX/16 CPU that ran on a motherboard that was mounted in the case with hot glue, a proprietary L shaped power supply, and a wonderful (dripping blood) case that I ended up needing stitches most times after opening it. Although I don't remember the model, the Packard Bell's one redeeming quality was the fact that it actually sported VGA graphics somewhat a rarity in those days. Having learned my lesson about buying off the shelf my next PC was a custom built model that I hand selected the parts for and actually helped assemble, one of those parts was a AMD 386 DX/40 because not only did it have a co-processor unlike my crippled 386 SX/16 CPU it also ran significantly faster than the 386 DX/33, Intel's fastest CPU at the time.

So was I stuck in a time warp when I bought my Phenom X4 9950 BE or merely buying one for nostalgia sake? Did I buy AMD because I didn't want to buy a new motherboard? Did I buy AMD because I thought it gave the best bang for the buck? Did I buy AMD because I have had my head in the sand and think AMD chips are faster than Intel chips? Did I buy it because I hate Intel and would never own one of their chips? None of the above. I bought AMD because I believe there is a good chance that AMD is going to go out of business in the next year if their sales don't increase and I couldn't stand on the sidelines and do nothing and watch that happen. So I guess you can consider my latest CPU (and I am sure I am going to catch heat for this) a pity purchase. I am under no illusion about its performance relative to a new Intel CPU. If you are one of the people that think AMD deserves to go out of business if they can't compete with Intel on performance, be careful what you wish for because if AMD goes out of business then Intel can go back to resting on their laurels, being non-responsive to the market, and not innovating. Know this: If AMD goes away so will your 300 usd I7 CPU.

I know what you are thinking. You a hardcore enthusiast who wants to support AMD so they don't go out of business and Intel can jack up their prices but can't bring yourself to give up your Intel Core 2 or I7 CPU. You don't have to; look at how many others buy PCs based on your input/recommendations. So, next time Grandma, needs an e-mail/internet machine to keep in touch with the grandkids, steer her to a basic AMD box. The next time the neighbor is looking for a computer to run Calc and Writer to manage their home based business on, do the same. They will never notice the difference and you might help AMD survive, which in the long run will help keep Intel honest. Looking to buy a new video card? Things are even easier. ATi based video cards generally perform just as well, if not better as, those from nVidia and normally costs less to boot. Don't understand how that helps? Well, since AMD owns ATi, when you buy an ATi video card you also put some much needed scratch in AMDs pocket.

If, after reading this, you consider me nothing more than a glorified AMD fanboy I can live with that, but I am not a paid AMD shill. They have not compensated me in anyway for writing this. Heck, they don't even answers my e-mails. I suppose they don't mess around with little sites like this one, or maybe we are so small that we don't even merit a blip on their radar at all. I don't know. At the end of the day what matters, though, is if you don't buy AMD NOW they might not be around for you to buy AMD later.

Jim Adkins

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