27th July: Time to Build

It’s core all the way.
27th July 2006, will be remembered as a key milestone in human history and its progress. Computing will never be the same again.
On this day, the world’s biggest semiconductor company – Intel has officially launched “Core 2 Duo”. Intel's move toward dual-core chip architecture and the subsequent retirement of the Pentium brand signals the next great leap in the evolution of the personal computer.
“The Core 2 Duo processors are simply the best processors in the world,” said Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel. “Not since Intel introduced the Pentium processor has the industry seen the heart of the computer reinvented like this. The Core 2 Duo desktop processor is an energy-efficient marvel, packing 291 million transistors yet consuming 40 per cent lower power, while delivering the performance needed for the applications of today and tomorrow.”
Savor the moment.
The official Intel price list, and in case you want to buy it today itself then follow this link.
Intel has been shipping production-ready Intel Core 2 Duo processors for all segments in advance. Initial Intel Core 2 Extreme processor-based systems are now available from system manufacturers, resellers and integrators, including Intel Channel Partner Program members. Intel Core 2 Duo desktop processor-based systems will be available beginning in early August. Intel Core 2 Duo processor-based notebooks will be available at the end of August.
All related news can be seen on Google News.
Prices for Notebook Processors (Merom based) are not out yet (although they have been launched). Pricing in brief is as follows
New Intel desktop CPU



Core 2 Extreme X6800


Core 2 Duo E6700


Core 2 Duo E6600


Core 2 Duo E6400


Core 2 Duo E6300

Time to Build
It’s a pretty tough choice now. There are 3 categories and sub-performance issues within them. Here are the three categories.
  1. Pentium 4 HT
    1. 661 (2M L2 cache 3.60 GHz 800 MHz FSB 90nm) $401 $183 54% - NO NO
    2. 651 (2M L2 cache 3.40 GHz 800 MHz FSB 90nm) $273 $163 40% - NO NO
    3. 541 (1M L2 cache 3.20 GHz 800 MHz FSB 90nm) $218 $84 61% - Low end option ONE
    4. 531 (1M L2 cache 3 GHz 800 MHz FSB 90nm) $178 $74 58% Low end option One alternative
  1. Pentium D
    1. 915 (2x2M L2 cache 2.80 GHz 800 MHz FSB 65nm) $199 $133 33% - Medium end Option TWO
    2. 820 (2x1M L2 cache 2.80 GHz 800 MHz FSB 90nm) $178 $113 37% - Medium end Option TWO alternative
  1. Core 2 Duo
    1. E6600 (4M L2 cache 2.40 GHz 1066 MHz FSB 65nm) - $316 - - High end desirable Option Three
    2. E6400 (2M L2 cache 2.13 GHz 1066 MHz FSB 65nm) - $224 - - High end medium – low cache
    3. E6300 (2M L2 cache 1.86 GHz 1066 MHz FSB 65nm) - $183 - - High end medium – low cache alternative
Other points to consider
  1. Mother Board - Most Critical - You may choose ANY LGA 775 chipset – all three will plug into same motherboard J. Asus is recommended (Wi-Fi preferred, starts $149 etc., regular ones star as low as $70)
  2. Monitor – TFT-LCD is the only sane thing to buy – CRT’s are for totally BAD. 17” or 19” is the choice with prices ranging from 9,990 to 15,990. This is a good investment.
  3. RAM – 1GB DDR2 800 MHz (don’t buy 533/667 – it is literally starving the processor and board, 1066 is still too expensive) (1GB 800 better than 512MB 1066)
  4. Cabinet and Cooling – this is a tricky part. The default fan coming with processor is usually not good/enough. If some 500-600 rupees are spared – very good fans provide fabulous results. Similar with cabinets – buy BIG – spacious cabinets – they don’t look good aesthetically but are better in functionality.
  5. Keyboard, Mouse – Wireless are better but expensive.
  6. Comp Table and chair – Another tricky part, cause no one would like to build too much furniture assets. So simple practical cheap ones are fine.
  7. UPS - The bane of any desktop system.
Total component cost break up
Proc ($120) + Mother Board ($120) + Hard Drive ($80) + Combo ($65) + Cabinet + Accessories ($80) + 1GB DDR2 800 RAM ($95) + TFT LCD 19” ($300)
Total = $560 + Monitor = $860 = Rs. 39000 – Good desktop – can upgrade to Core 2 duo ANY-TIME. The infrastructure is what should be pristine and rock-solid.
P.S – Graphics cards (high-end on-board ones or PCI-Express ones) not considered. If one really wants to drive – take some $90-120 piece. All prices are taken from US shopping sites. They will be large differences in prices in Indian street prices. Laptop guidance coming soon (let Merom come out).