The Greatest Story Never Sold

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There are previews of AMD’s dual cores (they won’t be out for some time to come) in a number of places. They are at worst competitive and at best a bit better than Intel’s dual-core EEs, and almost always better than Intel’s non-EE dual cores. On the whole, they wipe the floor with Intel when it comes to multitasking which includes gaming, but the gap is generally much smaller for anything else.

On the whole, you’d have to say they are as good or better than the EEs, and definitely better than the Pentium Ds.

It doesn’t matter.

While AMD will try to take tens of thousands of EE sales away from Intel over the next year, Intel will be selling tens of millions of cheap Pentium Ds. Intel may well end up selling more Pentium Ds over the next twelve months than AMD sells Hammers, any and all flavors.

Could AMD compete against the cheap Pentium Ds? Of course they could. All they have to do is release 1.8 and 2.0 duallies at prices roughly in the neighborhood of what Intel will charge (and if Intel charges a hefty price for its dually mobo, AMD can charge more for its CPU). Then they could say, “We’re better at single, we’re better at dual, we’re just better.”

But noooooooo. AMD is going to answer Intel’s (probably somewhat desperate) dual challenge with . . . absolutely nothing on the real battlefield: mainstream computing.

As someone else put it:

” . . . AMD clearly has the faster overall dual core desktop solution, but at a price that will be out of reach for most users.”

That is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. AMD gets the hails, Intel will get the sales.

AMDroids will no doubt send me notes explaining why this is a brilliant move on AMD’s part. Yes, it is the brilliance of a local store keeping up their prices when a Walmart opens up next door.

You have to understand something about the CPU business. It’s not a boutique. You can’t make serious money selling a handful of CPU for a lot; too few get sold and fabs cost too much. Sales of high-end CPUs are a fringe benefit, the icing on the cake.

Where the money gets made is in the mainstream, because that’s where the volume is. You make less per unit, but you make many times more units than you do on the luxury level.

The ideal is not to sell them high or sell them low. The ideal is sell them high and low. That’s just what Intel is and AMD isn’t doing.

And in the end, money walks, bulldung talks.

Ed

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