What You Want To Buy

For most of our history, Overclockers.com has been an almost entirely Intel site. Not because we loved Intel, but because we thought they had better overclockable systems than the other guys.

Last spring, we looked ahead and saw that AMD would probably close the gap with the release of CPUs with ondie cache. We also saw that for overclocking purposes, cB0 stepping Intel chips had become affordable enough, and there wasn’t going to be much new from Intel for a while.

So we shifted our emphasis over to these new AMD chips, because that’s where the action was going to be.

Well, we were right. Even righter than we thought, because while we didn’t think Willamette was going to blow AMD away, we also didn’t think Intel wasn’t going to make a whole lot of them until next summer.

Nor did we think AMD was going to restructure its pricing so that buying a 1Ghz chip was not like flushing money down the toilet.

So our crystal ball wasn’t perfect, just good enough. 🙂

We did notice a considerable change of attitude towards AMD products as opposed to a year or two ago. In our surveys, we’ve seen only token Intel fanaticism. Most of you were at least interested in what AMD had to offer.

Nonetheless, the survey results are pretty surprising.

1) Do you plan on upgrading your CPU in the next year?

Yes: 95%
No:    5%

We thought this number would be high, but practically all of you are ready to get the wallets out again.

2) If so, do you plan on getting:

TBird (or successor):  55%
Duron (or successor): 21%
PIII:     &nbsp                          11%
Willamette:   &nbsp               10%
Celeron:                          1%
Undecided:                     3%

Four months ago, this was effectively an Intel-only site. Four months later, three-quarters of you plan to buy AMD for your next purchase. This is a huge shift in sentiment.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. In a sentence, it is “What have you done for me lately, Intel?” People are going to what they think are going to be better, cheaper systems than Intel has to offer.

However, AMD shouldn’t consider this a big shift in loyalty. There is no loyalty here outside of “Looking Out For Number One.” If AMD doesn’t stay on top, no doubt in my mind these numbers switch right back.

If Intel has a chip that can do 3Ghz Christmas 2001, and AMD’s only got 2Ghz and no more coming real soon, back we go.

3) If you are going to upgrade in the next year, what kind of RAM do you expect your system to have?

DDR:      77%
RDRAM:  2% (and half of that wasn’t sure :))

We weren’t surprised DDR won, but were impressed that so many were ready to upgrade to DDR rather than make do with current RAM.

We weren’t surprised RDRAM did badly, but not this badly. We thought at least the Willamette people would want it, but at least 80% of them wanted DDR, too. No one wanting a PIII wanted RDRAM.

Dual Processors?

While most of you seem happy with just one, there was a lot more interest in dual processors (especially dual Durons) than we had thought, and we’ll keep that in mind in the upcoming months.

What This Means In General

Don’t start ordering the gravestone for Intel. No matter what, most people will still have to buy an Intel system.

However, this group is a leading indicator of what we can expect to see. Expect general attitudes to start shifting while Intel sits on their hands. Expect to see a shift from the media.*** Don’t be surprised if you see shortages of AMD systems next spring, while Intel systems stay on the shelves.

Intel will survive by banking on its reputation, but there’s going to be considerable withdrawals on that reputation in 2001. I expect by next spring or summer, people are going to look upon Intel quite differently than they do now, and not for the better. A lot less “of course, you’re better” and a lot more “show me.”

A big thanks to everybody who participated!

***For those of you who scoff at this, remember one thing: the media likes fights. If AMD looks like a contender in their eyes, they’ll promote the fight. You’re already seeing more questioning of Intel in the media. It will quiet down after Willamette intro, but as they become aware that Intel isn’t putting many 1.5Ghz systems, and AMD is, you’ll hear more.
Should Intel do badly next April, and AMD does well in the quarterly reports, expect everybody in the media, including the brain-dead, to pile on.

Email Ed

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