IT managers may be set up for the temptation of hustling their hardware refresh cycle a bit, as AMD and Intel both seem committed to a price war to hold onto processor market share.
AMD this morning announced price cuts of 50 percent or more on its 64-bit desktop and laptop processors, with one high-end chip dropping to about $300. Last week, Intel fueled talk of a price war by announcing pricing on its new Core 2 Duo 64-bit PC processor line, which also happened to trounce AMD rivals in early benchmarking. Intel had already been hacking away at prices on its Pentium 32-bit chips, but shops should seriously evaluate the urge to go on a 32-bit spending spree with Windows Vista on the horizon.
Most analysts (and our own IT Business Edge subscribers) have agreed that adoption of Vista will likely be driven by OEM installs via routine PC refresh cycles.
Microsoft and its PC channel partners may now be looking to take advantage of the AMD-Intel price war with a Q1 or Q2 2007 marketing push behind new, reasonably priced Vista-loaded machines. Another indication of the impending Vista push is Intel's acquisition of graphics card vendor ATI -- if nothing else, Vista's Aero interface is a serious video card hog.