Intel Denies Quad-Core Price Cuts Aimed At AMD


Intel slashed prices for older 65nm processors by as much as 50 percent Monday, but the moves have nothing to do with rival Advanced Micro Devices' new quad-core and triple-core parts and everything to do with the chip giant's ramp of its 45nm line of products, Intel's Todd Garrigues said Tuesday.

But Intel, by slashing in half the prices for Intel's Core 2 Quad 6700 desktop processors and Quad-Core Xeon 3230 server chips from $566 to $266 for 1,000-unit trays, has tongues wagging about the direct implications for struggling AMD.

"If this isn't the final nail in the coffin, it's the tapping of the shovel on AMD's grave," said system builder John Kistler, owner of St. Louis-based J&B Technologies.

"By the third quarter, they're going to be getting everybody to move off the Core 2 Duo. So if you want that, they're going to say, 'It's for mobile. For desktop, we're moving you to quad.' It's Intel's goal to just absolutely put the pedal to the metal and just floor it."

Garrigues, however, downplayed any consideration of the competition in the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant's pricing moves.

"The first thing in my mind is that this is about the 45nm process rolling out. We're really ramping across the whole lineup with 45nm parts," said Garrigues, Intel's North American channel manager for products.

A number of Monday's price cuts of 20 percent or less do seem to simply reflect Intel's 'laddering' of new products to fill price points vacated by older devices, as Kistler put it.

"I'll buy to some extent that [Intel is] trying to push all their 65nm product out of the channel and ramp 45nm. With their tick-tock strategy they're on overdrive. They're never going to slow down again," he said.

An AMD spokesperson called the bulk of Intel's price cuts part of the natural product cycle for both chip makers. But she characterized the more dramatic price drops as directly related to AMD's ramping of its quad-core Phenom and Opteron lines, as well as its unique triple-core Phenom desktop processors. Besides cutting the prices of the Core 2 Q6700 and Xeon 3230 chips in half, Intel slashed prices on its Core 2 Duo E6850 from $266 to $133, or 31 percent, and its Dual-Core Xeon 3085 from $266 to $188, or 29 percent.

Garrigues, for his part, insisted that even the biggest price cuts were nothing more than "a reaction to the price that exists on 45nm."