Another Delay

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The Inquirer is reporting a three month delay in socket M2 systems showing up.

Hmmmm, so instead of AMD getting its new platform out three months ahead of Intel’s “Back To The Future” Conroe/Merom systems, they’ll come out about the same time (presuming Intel doesn’t get delayed, too).

This is not a good thing for AMD.

However, there is not-too-good, and then there is bad. These days, it’s not just a matter of when you roll a new generation product out, but how much you roll out with.

It used to be that when you had a new generation product, a CPU company would put one or two lower-range models out first, then added faster ones on a fairly regular basis. Neither CPU company has been doing that lately, probably because their new generations aren’t much faster than what they’re replacing.

Intel has been introducing whole product ranges, then topping them up with a slightly faster one or two.

AMD has introduced new generations somewhere in the middle at high prices, then expanded both up and down the food chain. From what little has come out, socket M2 rollout won’t be all too fast, not like Hammer, but likely to mostly miss the back-to-school/Christmas quarters.

For those reading this, the issue with an AMD rollout the last few years hasn’t been “When will it come out?” but rather “When will an affordable one come out?”

This year, how you roll out will be even more important than usual because Vista will be coming out, and the MS promotional machine will be put on steroids to get people to buy Vista machines, letting hardware people piggyback on free hype.

Yes, it probably will be no problem to make a current AMD platform Vista-compatible, but perception is more important than reality. If the typical Joe Sixpack goes into a showroom and sees . . .

  • Intel, new and cheap
  • AMD, new and expensive
  • AMD, not new and cheap

    . . . that’s going to give Intel an advantage. The issue is not “Who comes out with the new thing first?” but rather “Who comes out with the new $150-200 thing (perhaps somewhat more with dual core) first?”

    A Personal Example

    I have a relative who needs an extra computer for his family eventually. The deal is “the kid gets the hand-me-down, daddy gets the new stuff.”

    I’m looking for want-a-system-that-won’t-be-too-outdated-in-five-years/bang-for-the-buck-emphasis-on-the-buck.

    First, I looked at the new Intel processors, and decided they didn’t fit the bill, and it doesn’t look likely Dell is going to give me an offer I can’t refuse anytime soon.

    OK, go to option 2, build a socket M2 machine in April or so, provided AMD puts out a reasonably affordable CPU then. Intel won’t be ready with their real next generation at that point, so AMD gets the sale by default.

    Oops, now it’s no socket M2 until at least July, and no guarantee about decent pricing then. Intel gets back into the ballgame with a (presumably) better (at least cooler) processor, and they’ll probably have a decently-priced model at intro. At the least, performance ought to be fairly even. I can’t stall much more.

    What will I buy? If Intel and AMD (or Dell) offer me processors (systems) that are roughly around the same price, it could go either way. If AMD insists that I pay a lot more for their processor than Intel, somebody’s going blue.

    Of course, it would be insane to expect any multinational corporation to worry about making me, Ed Stroligo, happy, and while I’m not too about a few of you out there, I’m not that nuts.

    However, my particular situation for this particular purchase coincidentally reflects what millions of Sixpacks will find themselves deciding starting about six months from now. Very few will be concerned about obsolescnece and sockets and the kind of memory in the machine, but almost all will understand the word “new” and the number after the “$” sign very well.

    I see another foot-shooting incident coming.

    Ed


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