Intel Cuts Prices Of Key Chips To Under $200
Interestingly, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant has yet to adjust prices on any of its mobile processors despite launching its latest notebook platform, Centrino 2, to great fanfare a week ago. Intel's Centrino 2 launch included five new Core 2 Duo notebook chips and the belle of the ball, the 3.06GHz Core 2 Extreme X9100 processor that immediately became the chip leader's top mobile device, priced at $851. To date, however, Intel has not changed similar $851 price tags for the three Core 2 Extreme parts listed below the X9100, nor for various older devices under the new Core 2 Duos.
The biggest price adjustment over the weekend was to the Core 2 Duo E8500 desktop processor, a 31 percent cut from $266 to $183. The 3.16GHz E8500 is the fastest dual-core desktop device Intel offers. The chip maker also cut the price of the 3.00GHz Core 2 Duo E8400, the second-fastest dual-core desktop device in Intel's 45nm Penryn class, from $183 to $163, an 11 percent reduction.
Dropping its top two dual-core desktop products to well below the crucial $200 line may be a sign Intel is feeling some pressure from AMD's recent quad-core and triple-core offerings, let alone the AMD Athlon X2 6400+ dual-core, which beats the E8500 on clock speed (3.2GHz to 3.16GHz) and price ($163 to $183 even after the cut), though the AMD part has just a third of the dedicated L2 cache on the Intel chip.
But the price cuts also represent competition within the Intel stable of processors. The chip maker now has four 45nm Core 2 Duo desktop chips of varying speeds priced at $163. History would indicate that Intel means to phase out the slower, older chips in that cluster. The lack of price movement on the mobile side may have similar implications for some of those Core 2 notebook parts.
Other desktop processor price adjustments included a 15 percent cut to the 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo E7200 ($133 to $113) and a 14 percent cut to the 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600 ($224 to $193), Intel's cheapest quad-core desktop CPU.
That last price cut may be the one most directly aimed at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD. The smaller chip maker's 2.4GHz Phenom X4 9750 matches the Q6600 on clock speed and like the older Intel part is a 65nm quad-core processor. But until the weekend price cuts, the 9750's $215 price tag had the Q6600 beat as an entry-level quad-core.
Meanwhile, AMD's 2.3GHz Phenom 9650 and 2.2 GHz 9550 quad-cores have been priced at $195 and $175, respectively, since their late March release, making them attractive alternatives as well to the heavily shipped but aging Q6600. Intel's weekend move makes the Q6600 the first sub-$200 processor in the chip giant's quad-core stable, breaking a barrier downwards into the economy-class space where AMD does its briskest business.
Intel also trimmed prices for two 65nm Xeon server processors and one 45nm Xeon part. The chip maker announced 12 percent cuts to the two 105W older parts, the 2.4GHz X3220 and the 2.13GHz X3210, bringing both down from $224 to $198. Intel also trimmed the price of its 65W, 3.00GHz Xeon E3110 from $188 to $167, an 11 percent cut.