It’s all but official: big price cuts are coming next month from Intel. A few weeks ago, we reported that Intel was planning to slash prices on many of its current chips by up to 60 percent on July 23, the same day that the Core 2 Duo (Conroe) launches. Bloomberg now reports that executives at Taiwanese vendors Micro-Star International and Gigabyte Technology have confirmed the price cuts, though Intel still refuses to comment.
Though the Bloomberg piece paints the cuts as a move by Intel to boost market share, in the case of the steeper Pentium cuts (up to 60%) they are also designed to clear out excess inventory that will immediately become less valuable when Conroe (and later Merom) are introduced later this summer. The new desktop and laptop parts are expected to offer even better performance per watt than Intel’s Core Duo (Yonah) systems released earlier this year. Price cuts normally follow new processor launches, but what makes the move more interesting this time is that AMD is rumored to be prepping price cuts of its own. Could a processor price war be in the works?
A Gigabyte official claims that AMD has already told him of impending price cuts to their own chips, and confirmation comes from The Inquirer, which claims to have seen a distributor’s price chart showing up tp 50 percent reductions.
The aggressive price cuts come as competition between Intel and AMD intensifies. Earlier this year, AMD announced that it was shipping more than 20 percent of all CPUs worldwide, a milestone for the company. Intel’s share price has been tanking for almost a year now, even as AMD has posted impressive gains. Despite all the positive indicators, AMD has some pending problems of its own, including a move to 65nm that Intel has already completed. Intel has also generated considerable excitement around the introduction of Conroe and Merom, and AMD does not yet appear to have anything quite as compelling in the pipeline.
Between the upcoming price cuts and the new chip introductions, it’s a great time to score some new gear. If your tastes (or your wallet) don’t run to the latest and greatest, you’ll be able to scoop up January’s technology at a fraction of its original price. What this means for AMD is less clear, however, as the smaller company will have a harder time continuing its market share gains if Intel gets both more aggressive on price and retakes the processor performance crown.