Intel cuts prices as AMD names distributor

PC prices are poised to dip even lower in the wake of latest moves from AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) and Intel. AMD has appointed Datamatic as its New Zealand distributor and Intel has announced price cuts of up to 40%. Datamatic general manager Marcelo Pragier says AMD's K6 processor is comparable in performance to the Pentium II but will be offered in New Zealand at about half the price.

PC prices are poised to dip even lower in the wake of latest moves from AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) and Intel.

AMD has appointed Datamatic as its New Zealand distributor and Intel has announced price cuts of up to 40%.

Datamatic general manager Marcelo Pragier says AMD’s K6 processor is comparable in performance to the Pentium II but will be offered in New Zealand at about half the price.

Pragier says an advantage for users upgrading to a K6 is that they don’t need to upgrade their motherboards, as is the case for those upgrading to a Pentium II. The K6 chips are designed to fit in the same socket 7 motherboards that house the Pentium chips, while the Pentium II chips will need a new board architecture featuring Intel’s proprietary slot one chip-card interface.

Pragier says Datamatic’s appointment as distributor will add stability to the AMD channel. “In the past most AMD processors have come into New Zealand through the grey market. This has meant unreliable supply, and prices that were too high.

“Our appointment as distributor means there will now be proper allocation for New Zealand OEMS and VARs, proper technical support and prices. It will make a big difference in the way customers see AMD.”

Pragier says every PC manufacturer in New Zealand is interested. Datamatic took possession of the first shipment last week and expects to sell 5000 units a month of both 200MHz and 233MHz K6 chips. Pragier says a K6 200MHz will sell for around $290 compared to $600 for an equivalent Pentium.

Intel, in line with the reductions it makes on a quarterly basis, has announced price cuts of 13% to 40% on its Pentium and Pentium II lines of processors.

Intel spokesman Chuck Malloy says a Pentium II running at 266MHz will fall 21%; the 233MHz version will drop 24% and the 300MHz will fall 13%. The bigger price cuts are for older 133MHz Pentium chips. In New Zealand the channel has been informed of the price cuts.

Meanwhile, Intel disputes AMD’s claim that the K6 has comparable performance.

“We don’t make comparisons based purely on megahertz,” says Intel’s regional sales manager, Tony Jansz. “It’s throughput performance and the overall throughput performance of the PC that matters, particularly as we move into multimedia and communications.”

Jansz says Intel doesn’t believe that the socket 7 environment can provide the scala-bility and throughput required by such applications.

Meanwhile, Intel says it is not looking for another distributor to replace NJS, which has closed down after its Australian parent company decided to get out of components distribution.

Jansz says remaining distributors Tech Pacific and Electronic Resources will handle the extra volume.

“If you look at some of the markets we’re in that have significantly larger volume than New Zealand, we only have a maximum of three distributors.

“Take Australia, for example. Electronic Resources and Tech Pacific are very strong, very sound, they know the market well and they’ll be able to absorb the extra volume easily.”

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