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One of the issues with the original Slot A AMD Athlon platforms was the absence of inexpensive mainboards for the Athlon chips. It looks like Advanced Micro Devices has learnt its lessons pretty well, as now there are mainboards for 64-bit Socket 754 microprocessors at below $100 price-point!

Back in 1999 AMD could offer a lightning-fast AMD Athlon microprocessors running the majority of applications significantly better than competing Intel Pentium III solutions. There were two massacre drawbacks with AMD Athlon-based systems – lack of non-AMD cost-effective chipsets and lack of cost-effective mainboards to work with the microprocessors. Furthermore, even in the year 2000, when the company rolled-out its inexpensive Duron chip, there were neither mainboards, nor core-logic products at price-points low enough to competer with Intel Celeron platform. Fortunately, the company has managed to resolve these kinds of problems – today there are numerous chipsets for AMD64 as well as tens of mainboards for AMD’s newly-unveiled microprocessors. Moreover, according to Xbitlabs.Dealtime.com, there are some that are available at less than $100.

The most cost-effective mainboard for AMD Socket 754 microprocessors comes from Gigabyte Technology and is based on VIA K8T800 + VT8237 core-logic. The product comes in microATX form-factor, is equipped with 2 slots for PC3200 DDR SDRAM memory, 1 AGP 8x, 3 PCI slots, Parallel and Serial ATA ports, integrated 6-channel AC’97 audio, 10/100Mb/s LAN, a number of USB 2.0 ports and so on. To sum up, Gigabyte GA-K8VT800M is a fully-functional cost-effective mainboard for 64-bit microprocessors from AMD.

Unfortunately, this time AMD supplies only one version of Athlon 64 microprocessor, in contrast to its broad Athlon lineup four years ago. The Socket 754 chip for desktop PCs with 3200+ model number runs at 2.00GHz, incorporates 1MB of L2 cache, 128KB of L1 cache and one Hyper-Transport link with aggregate bandwidth of 6.40GB/s to communicate with PC I/O. The new processor builds-in single-channel PC3200 controller. Additionally, there is a CPU with 3000+ model number available only for desktop replacement notebooks at $278.

The only desktop Socket 754 microprocessor is priced at $417 that preserves AMD’s 64-bit technology from being widely available, though, once AMD slashes the prices on its desktop microprocessors, there will be mainboards to support sales of relatively cost-effective 64-bit systems.

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