C2D . . .

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The official name for Conroe and Merom will be Core 2 Duo

I like the name (it uses real, not faux English, and “2-Du” rhymes), but really, you want a hot product, not a hot name.

And that’s the problem with the initial Conroes: too much demand, too little supply.

Put bluntly, for the second half of the year, for every dozen CPUs Intel makes, they’ll make two good ones and ten “bad” ones, then have to sell them all.

Normally speaking this isn’t too hard to do, you just price the new ones skyhigh, but Intel’s announced pricing look to be “Cheap and Cheaper.”

Why is that?

When Intel has problems like these, it likes to foist them off on someone else, in this instance, the OEMs. So it’s likely that C2Ds will initially be put on some form of allocation, the most likely being, “if you want one of the new ones, you’ll have to buy five old ones.”

For sure, the OEMs won’t like that, so a lower price on Conroes could well be a bone to toss them for getting rid of the rest of them. It could well be that the big OEMs will stick C2Ds in only their most expensive models, even the cheaper ones, so they’ll make extra money from them.

What Does That Have To Do With Me? I’m Not Dell

That’s right, and that’s the problem. Whether it’s AMD or Intel, when supplies are tight, the OEMs come first. We get what’s left.

If supplies are tight, odds are not too many C2Da, whether OEM or retail, are going to show up in the retail market.

And if a $209 Conroe dual-core 1.86GHz, or a $241 2.13GHz is capable of even just 3GHz without much fuss, well, can you say, “socket 939 Opteron?” Remember that?

Not saying it’s bound to happen, just saying there’s a good chance of it happening.

There’s one big difference between this situation and the Opteron fiasco. It’s not “it’s now or never.” Eventually, Conroes will become mainstream, and scarcity pricing will fade away.

So please, if in a few months we find ourselves in a scarcity situation, and prices start crawling above MSRPs, curb your enthusiasm. Think of more than yourself. These are CPUs, not lifeboats, not theatre exits when the place is on fire.

Please, don’t reinforce the lesson some resellers learned from Opteron, which was, “Gee, these damn fools will throw money at us just to feel like King of the Hill for a day. That was great, let’s do it again.”

When a market overheats, that’s the time to chill. Otherwise, we all pay too much.

Ed


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