Intel discombobulates its customers

Intel's chipsets like different earrings

Roadmap Like 'em or loathe 'em, you got to admire the way Intel manages not only to cheese off PC manufacturers but its distributors and dealers too, and all at the same time.

That, at least, is the message we must draw from two different slides, one for the channel and one for its original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) we saw over a pint of cider last week.

Putting the two together, it seems that Chipzilla is pulling the irons out of the fire in a bid to ensure that the year 2001 will not be its third annus horribilis in a row.

First off, chipset pricing. That, at least, seems to be common to both dealers, distributors and Dell, in that order. (Dell is used here as a generic term for PC manufacturers.)

On the 29 October, the Intel 860 was priced at $85, the 850 at $75, the 840-DP at $53, the 820E at $34, the 815 at $37.50, the 815EP at nothing cos it won't be launched until the 31 December, and the 810E2 at $34.

On the 31st December, the 860 will cost $84, the 850 $56.50, the 840-DP $51, the 820E $44, the 815 $31.50, the 815E $36.50, the 815EP (hello new friend) at $34.50, and the 810E2 $33.

On 31 March next year, if Intel's plans go right, the 860 will cost $82, the 850 $53, the 840-DP $50, the 820E $31, the 815 $31.50 (farewell old friend), the 815E $34.50, the 815EP $32.50 and the 810E2 $31.

The prices, we presume, depend upon whether you're a big buyer of Intel chipsets or not.

According to the roadmap wot we saw, the price moves on the 850 in the first and second quarters of next year will help to move the Pentium 4 into the mainstream. The 815EP is a channel chipset which will be "enabled" for Tualatin in Q2 next year and is intended to help distributors cope with the tricky biz of integrating graphics cards etc.

So, dear readers, we can hear you asking us, what about Brookdale, the famous chipset which is set to catapult Intel into the 21st century and the New Millennium?

Brookdale appears on both channel and OEM roadmaps in Q3 of next year, and will gradually edge out the 850 chipset until in Q4 next year, it hogs the two mainstream sectors below the 850. The 850 hogs the top spot in the lucrative performance sector from Q1 until the end of the year.

Brookdale double data rate (DDR) memory won't arrive until Q1 of 2002 and Intel is advising both its channel and Dell to stock up on Rambus right now, in anticipation of future demand.

That must be good news for Kingston Technology, we think. Later today, what's happening with Tualatin and mobile notebook technology. ®