Opteron Pricing Continued . . .

The saga continues . . . .

This website illustrates part of the problem. They would like to sell you retail Opteron 146s for $154. They have a hundred on order, but as the website says, ETA is “Past Due.”

They have the same situation with Opteron 144s, too.

In our earlier article, we listed the prices charged by the big guys, also listing the lower price charged by one of the smaller guys while noting that such places probably paid more.

Well, elsewhere, someone from that small place stated exactly what they were paying the distributor for retail 146s: $150. Looks like some distributors are making more than usual, too.

(Just to make this clear, it wasn’t my intention at all to knock this particular small guy in the initial article, and a sub-10% markup from costs is reasonable and normal. What was my intention was to show how outrageous the much bigger markups from the bigger guys with better economies of scale were.

And, no, those who always manage to spring up defending anybody for anything, these $175 or $200 or more prices for items with a $125 MSRP is NOT everyday pricing. Neither distributors nor warehouse resellers normally markup prices to this degree. The distributor markup is normally sub-10%, and so is the warehouse reseller’s.

Sign of the End Times, Or Just More Problems?

Something else may be going on here. There are some indications that AMD doesn’t want to make at least some lower-speed processors anymore.

The prime rumored candidate for this discontinuation is the low-end dual-core Opteron 165. Go here and here for a sample of some conflicting information about those processors.

However, if you go to AMD’s own forum (presumably, they’d say or do something about false information), this email was Monarch Computers was posted:

Thank you for your recent order with Monarch Computer! You placed an order for an Opteron 165 processor. We received an overwhelming response to the processor, which quickly depleted our existing inventory. Unfortunately, we have just been informed by AMD directly that there was a manufacturing issue that occurred on this particular processor. AMD does not expect to have stock on this processor until the end of this month, and that may change depending on the manufacturing process. We do apologize immensely for this, and would like to offer you an AMD gift bag of items to go along with your processor once they are available for shipping again. If you have any questions, please do no hesitate to reply back to this email. Be sure to include your order number in any correspondence back. Please check our website for the most up to date ETA on the processor, and if there are any developments that will cause any more delays we will update you.

Well, either AMD’s “manufacturing issue” is either “we only make these things every once in a while, you bought all of the last batch, and it’s going us some time to make some more” or “we’re having problems making dual-cores, period, and we’re trying to fix the problem.” It’s inconceivable AMD is having actual manufacturing problems making just their lowest-end processor.

AMD has dropped the 1.8GHz Athlon 64 from its official pricing roster. In a more recent move, Newegg has taken anything less than an Opteron 148 off the roster. I don’t mean “out of stock,” I mean not listed at all.

I ran across another post in the AMD forum in which someone trying to order some Opteron 246s was told that they were discontinued.

What Are They Up To?

There’s something funny going on in that place.

First, why would AMD compete against itself by offering at least theoretically more capable (forget overclockability, just consider the cache alone) processors for less money than their low-end Athlon 64s?

The only reason I can think of is that somebody at AMD wanted to artificially boost Opteron sales (keep that in mind in any pronouncements in a few months), but then they proceded to run out of them.

AMD needs to be really careful at this point and either start pumping out more processors in a few weeks to meet the demand (and eliminate these bloated prices), or raise the price it charges for them.

If they don’t, and they continue with the “our cheap processors aren’t cheap, or they’re unavailable, why don’t you buy the next one up,” this sounds an awful lot like a “bait-and-switch,” and at least in the litigious U.S., that can get you into trouble.


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