Page 2 of 4
Change Comes To Intel
Dallman, Intel’s vice president of sales and marketing group and general manager of Intel’s Worldwide Reseller Channel Organization, spoke to CRN about the excitement surrounding the release of Intel’s Sandy Bridge integrated graphics platform -- which combines CPU and GPU capability on a single die -- as well as Intel’s partner strategy for its Atom products.
While many system builders partnering with Intel expressed positive initial reactions to the launch, some see major challenges ahead for resellers as they look to add value to Intel’s solutions and for Intel as it looks to compete with others in the burgeoning integrated graphics segment.
“Obviously one of the things we were hoping for was that the adoption of processor graphics would go well,” said Dallman. “The team was feeling pretty good about the launch, and they were getting a lot of customers calling up about it. I was in China on Monday after the launch and each shop in the city I was in had Sandy Bridge products complete with motherboards, which I was really pleased to see.”
Yet some in the reseller channel have yet to see the kind of customer demand and overall enthusiasm that they had hoped for from Sandy Bridge, while others believe there is a demand for the platform on traditional PCs but not necessarily on newer, smaller form-factor devices.
“Well, on the desktop side of things we currently cannot get enough of the Sandy Bridge processors to meet our customer demand,” said Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder. “So it is certainly a success in the channel. However, we have not had much demand, nor have we seen a lot of movement with Sandy Bridge on mobile.”
In addition, Intel’s Sandy Bridge platform suffered a major setback in January when Intel publicly admitted to finding and immediately fixing a design error in its dual-core Series 6 Cougar Point chipset, which runs solely alongside the quad-core Sandy Bridge chips. Intel said that the error in its Cougar Point chipset will cause SATA ports in some chipsets to degrade over time, although the 16 SATA points on the Sandy Bridge processors will not be affected.
“The issue affects platforms using the 6 Series chipset, mobile and desktop,” an Intel spokesperson told CRN. “We are currently working with our channel partners to devise solutions to this issue, and can’t provide specific details as they are still being worked out.” Intel said it expects the recall to cost $300 million in lost revenue for Q1 and fixing the problem to cost approximately $700 million, bringing the total cost of Intel’s mistake to $1 billion. Intel plans to begin offering the fixed chipset to customers in late February and fully recover the lost revenue chipset by April. The company also pledged to contact the system builders and customers who purchased potentially flawed chipsets or systems in order to replace or modify them.
For Intel executives who said previous platforms Arrandale and Clarkdale didn’t fare as well as had hoped because of the recession and an absence of channel partner engagement, it’s hoped that the timing is right for Sandy Bridge once the chipset issue is behind it.
However, Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at Fremont, Calif.-based system builder ASI, which resells Intel’s Atom products, disagreed with Intel executives’ assessment of Clarkdale and Arrandale’s performance in the market. “I think that saying Sandy Bridge has been successful doesn’t mean that Clarkdale or Arrandale were not,” Tibbils said. “They were, in fact, very successful in terms of generating revenue for the channel.”
NEXT: Atom Faces A Changing Landscape