July 16, 2008

Converge CPU Update

The story of Q3 has been the dramatic resurgence of shortages in the desktop market after a sustained period of relative calm. Back in the summer of 2007, the phaseout of an older CPU family led to product shortages, and this theme is set to dominate the market once again over the coming months. Last year, the Pentium D9 series caused box builders headaches, while currently the Pentium E series Conroe family is in great demand.

Meanwhile, cost savings characterize the mobile market, with shortages appearing only on newly launched parts.

Desktop CPUs

  • In our last edition of Market Insights, we reported savings available on the end-of-life Conroe family, E6XXX. The market quickly changed as the parts reached end of life and supply dried up. Requirements far outstrip supply at this point, with a steep rise in prices - particularly on the E6550, E6750, and E6850 modules.
  • Before the end of July, we will see many new parts launched, resulting in a wide range of price drops. For example, this has caused the Wolfdale E8XXX family to edge down in price day by day, as vendors try to clear their stock before the changes take effect.
  • The Q6600 has been a very active open-market part. There are large regional variances in pricing, and these gaps make for very good savings opportunities. Interest in the other Yorkfield CPUs (Q9300, Q9450 and Q9550) has faded.

Mobile CPUs

  • The off-road TJ models (T2330-90, T5450-750) provide consistent cost savings for tier 2 and 3 manufacturers, which in many instances are unable to access supply through direct channels. These models can often be bundled with their equivalent WiFi card (3945 or 4965 models) to create an attractive package, as surplus supply drives prices down.
  • The shortages previously highlighted on the Santa Rosa Celerons continue, with the newly launched CM 560 in tight supply, along with the 550, 540, and 530 models.
  • Small patches of demand still exist for the older Napa models (T2050-T2130 and higher-end T5500-T7200), as production ends and the requirements have yet to fully tail off, and the supply of Montevina is slowly reaching the market.

Server CPUs

  • Cost savings still exist within the Harpertown family (E5XXXs), which is prominent among server CPUs. Given the relatively higher cost of server chips compared to desktops, there is plenty of room for price variance, and worthwhile savings can be found.

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