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Intel Vice President of Sales and Marketing and General Manager of the Worldwide Reseller Channel Organization Steve Dallman said the "cool thing" about Ivy Bridge for Intel system builders is that it has "socket compatibility" with Intel's current state-of-the-art Sandy Bridge platform.
"That was an ask we made specifically for the channel," said Dallman. "My system builders will be able to take their second generation core products they are building now and place the Ivy Bridge chips on those boards. That means their time to market will be greatly enhanced."
Coffield said that backward compatibility is going to be a "big selling point" for those customers that buy Sandy Bridge powered systems. As a result, he said, system builders will be able to upgrade Sandy Bridge customers to new Ivy Bridge processors.
"Customers want an assurance that what they are buying today is not going to be obsolete tomorrow," he said. "This allows us to sell Sandy Bridge systems as a precursor to Ivy Bridge. Processor upgrades are easy and fast. This creates a second selling opportunity for us."
Dallman said Ivy Bridge is a "next generation" product that extends the lead that Intel has already established with Sandy Bridge. It opens the door to "yet another transition" where system builders will be able to bring new "features and capabilities" to customers, he said.
Coffield, who at one time built 10,000 systems a year and will likely build about 2,000 this year, urged Intel to use the three dimensional 3-D transistor breakthrough to revitalize it system builder channel.
Getting system builders to embrace the new 3-D transistor technology out of the gate will assure new innovative products in vertical and specialty markets, said Coffield. "System builders are the guys that are going to test these new 22 nanometer products and and put them into new classes of products," he said. "Intel needs to make sure that system builders get these processors first so we can add value and pioneer new markets."
Unlike other industries, including clothing, where new designs are first offered through boutique retailers and then make their way to discount department stores, the computer industry insists on blasting out new technology to multinational PC makers and Big Box retailers that commoditize the technology instantly, said Coffield.
"You can either establish value you for your product or you can do what is done in a commodity business where manufacturers throw it out there and sell it for whatever the market will bear with no regard for the basic law of supply and demand," he said.
Coffield said he expects to see wide availability of Ivy Bridge processors sometime in the first or second quarter next year. "Just because you announce a product doesn't mean it is really out there yet," he said.