Monday, March 12, 2007

Intel to Slash Prices On Core 2 Processors

[EDIT: In writing this article, I initially stated incorrectly that Barcelona was being launched for desktops and servers in Q3 and Q2, respectively. Currently, AMD is aiming for a Q4 and Q3 launch (also respectively).]

I hate it when people say that they're going to wait until "such and such" happens, comes out, or becomes established before they build a new computer. There will always be a better technology around the corner or a slight price drop a little way down the road, and to postpone a PC build on the next iteration of the cycle of progress is foolish at best. So I feel a little guilty writing this article, because I know what kind of effect the news is likely to have on a lot of people shopping for a new computer. But that's where it ends. When the Barcelona (AMD's upcoming quad-core Opteron CPU) is launched for desktops in Q3 of this year (it launches for servers in Q2), Intel is going to be waiting with new processors and new prices. Prices that happen to be around one third of what the same speed would cost today. For those of you who haven't been following the CPU wars closely, I'm referring to Intel upgrading a number of the Core 2 Duo chips in the form of three new Conroe CPUs. The E6850, E6750, and E6550 are Intel's new kids on the block. The E6850 clocks in at 3GHz versus the E6800's 2.93GHz, while the E6750 retains the E6700's 2.66GHz clock speed. The new E6550 (there was no E6500) trumps the E6400 with a 2.33GHz clock speed over the E6400's 2.13GHz, and has double the L2 cache---4MB (the same as its big brothers). It will likely be comparable to the current "best-value" Core 2 Duo on the market; the E6600. All three new processors sport a 1333MHz FSB instead of the old Core 2 Duo's flagging 1066MHz FSB standard. This information may or may not be news to you; all this has been announced before. The main attraction here is the massive price drop that Intel has in store for consumers. Some of you may remember when the Conroe CPUs debuted; AMD reluctantly dropped prices on all of its processors in order to compete with Intel's new tech, making the cost-effectiveness playing field arguably level. This is fairly standard practice in any market, be it the tech sector or elsewhere. Intel, it seems, refuses to be content with a level playing field, and is attempting to turn up the heat with a more aggressive change to their pricing whenever AMD launches Barcelona. The current top-of-the-line E6800 runs around $950-1000US in a retail box from online vendors. Intel's new E6850, however, will be priced at $266US per thousand, which by my guesstimate will probably equate to somewhere around $300US for consumers. That's a faster processor for literally less than a third of the price its equivalent costs today. The E6750 and E6550 will enter the market at $183US and $163US per thousand, respectively. I'm not saying you should wait on that shiny new computer you're building, but if you're not in urgent need of an upgrade, you could save several hundred dollars if you were to hold off for about 6 months. Your call.

- Glock

1 Comment:

Crusak said...

Usually my only limitation is funding when it comes to building a new PC. News like this certainly helps in that department.

I live in Intel country (thousands of Intel employees in my town) so I am glad they are doing well.

I think I'll start making that PC parts list now...