System builders' market share of the desktop segment is nearing all-time high levels, with CRN's May Monthly Solution Provider Survey showing that white boxes had almost double the share of the highest-selling name brand, Hewlett-Packard.
In fact, custom-built desktops claimed a 40 percent share among North American solution providers.
According to the monthly survey, which queried more than 200 solution providers, 40 percent of respondents listed white boxes as their best-selling desktop, compared with 22 percent for HP, 25 percent for Dell and 10 percent for IBM. The year-earlier survey showed white boxes with only a 25 percent share among
VARs as their best-selling desktop.
David Chang, CEO of Agama Systems, a Houston-based system builder, said sales so far this year have been steady, a welcome development after several years of soft sales.
"Overall, the economy is much better than it was two years ago," Chang said.
Other solution providers said the uptick in white-box sales is due to customers replacing PCs purchased during the Y2K upgrade cycle.
Perhaps the most surprising finding of the survey is that sales rose in May, despite evidence of significantly growing component shortages. For example, the number of system builders reporting moderate or severe motherboard shortages more than doubled
in May to 27 percent, up from 11 percent in April.
Twenty-seven percent of system builders also reported moderate or severe shortages of memory in May"coinciding with slightly softening pricing"compared with 15 percent that reported similar shortages in April.
Even though processor rivals Advanced Micro Devices and Intel reported strong first quarters, 28 percent of system builders still reported processor shortages in May compared with 18 percent in April.