Now that Intel has quite a solid grip on the desktop performance crown, could the chip giant be looking to keep prices a little higher? Perhaps, but I'm more inclined to believe Intel is waiting to see what kind of impact AMD's Athlon 64 has on the market before slashing Pentium 4 prices. If the Athlon 64 comes screaming out of the gate, I'd expect Intel to respond with price cuts. However, if AMD's new 64-bit desktop chip is a dud, Intel may have little motivation to cut prices other than to make room for new processors.
Regardless of what happens with the Athlon 64, it looks like AMD's low-end Athlon XPs will continue to deliver incredible performance at bargain-basement prices. Currently, the street price of an Athlon XP 1700+ is just $45. Even the Barton-core Athlon XP 2500+ is available for under $90, which will only get you a Celeron 2.4GHz for the Socket 478 platform.