Aiming to speed the acceptance of its newly introduced i740 graphics chip, Intel will within the next few months introduce a graphics add-in card based on the chip.
The board will be sold through Intel distributors and Genuine Intel Dealers, and not through the retail channel, according to Intel representatives. Pricing has not yet been set.
The graphics card will compete with products already announced by Asustek, Diamond Multimedia, Leadtek, Number Nine, Real3D, and STB.
The 3-D core of the i740 was designed for Intel by Real3D Inc., a company in which Intel recently purchased a 20 percent stake. The chip's 2-D engine was designed by Chips & Technologies Inc., which Intel recently purchased.
Intel is offering the i740 in card form to speed penetration of the device, said Dean McCarron, principal at Mercury Research, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"It's a way of enabling a market," McCarron said.
Limiting sales to distributors and dealers keeps the card from direct competition with other card vendors' products, McCarron noted. Traditionally, graphics chip vendors that also sell graphics cards, including ATI and Matrox, for example, do not also sell chips to other card makers, he said.
Two reasons Intel might have to enter the card business do not apply, McCarron noted: There already are cards to allow consumers to upgrade, and graphics cards are not highly profitable.
"The i740 already has a substantial number of board vendors," McCarron said. "And it's not a high-margin business."