June 18, 2008

CPU Update

As we approach the third quarter of 2008, a new generation of Intel chips is set to launch, along with a wide range of scheduled price reductions. In anticipation, many OEMs remain cautious to stock materials, although there are a number of end-of-life savings to be discovered, particularly on the desktop Conroe, Xeon Clover and Harpertown models, as well as the Mobile core 2 Duos (T5600, T7700, etc.).

Shortages are easing on desktops, although the mobile market remains tight, with midrange Napa (T2130, etc.) and Santa Rosa Celerons in tight supply.

Desktop CPUs

  • As expected, demand for the Wolfdale E8XXX desktop processor family has dropped with excess supply offered to the market. Pricing has settled down to Intel-direct levels or slightly below.
  • Demand for the Intel Conroe remains low as they are phased out of mainstream production. The Core 2 Duo E6320, E6550 and E6750 processors are currently trading below direct pricing and are readily available.
  • We are still experiencing frequent requirements on the Yorkfield CPU Q9300/Q9450/Q9550. Customers are looking for more cost-saving opportunities as the severe shortage of early Q2 has ended. This CPU family is still trading above direct, but there has been occasional cost-savings available.
  • Pricing on the Q6600 has been erratic with a very active open market, as Intel provides top-tier players better than direct pricing. Some OEMs are paying as much as $20 less than published, and many have an inventory of parts at the published direct pricing of $199.

Mobile CPUs

  • The most actively traded and sought-after mobile part has been the Celeron 550 Santa Rosa. Lead times have been as long as 3 weeks, and vendors/OEMs are not receiving the product they expect due to limited quantities available. We have observed a price increase by 20% over the last month, which has caused demand to increase for the 540 and 530 models.
  • The end-of-life Napa midrange models are in short supply, with the T2130, T2050 and T2080 affected. This has led to increased demand on the higher-spec 2MB T2350 and T2450 models.
  • There has been much discussion about a delay in the new-generation Montevina platform, first thought to be delayed until August. However, there appears to be supply scheduled to hit the market in July.


  • The main area of growth in cost-saving opportunities has been on Intel server chips, particularly the E5 series, as OEMs transition from Clovertown (53 series) and Woodcrest (51 series) to Harpertown E54xx, L54, X54 and Wolfdale E52xx, L52 and X52.

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