October 15, 2009

CPU market speeds along with no clear leader

Converge CPU Update.

In this month’s Market Insights, we examine briefly several of the current trends and continue the commentary on the Intel Calpella as its launch approaches.

A busy market, with many different contributors.
The CPU market has picked up speed again, with several sharp shortages and pools of excess inventory, and without any one particular family of processors dominating the market. The market is very fragmented, but the overall picture is of healthy push and pulls on demand.

Old favorites have a last hurrah.
End-of-life cost savings or shortages are a common occurrence in the spot market. As a CPU passes out of mainstream production it can accumulate in excess or dive into constraint. It is rare that a family of CPUs that has been end-of-life for a number of years reappears into the supply chain in volume. During September, the Intel Core Duo Napa, and Santa Rosa E4400, E7200, T7800, T9600, T2390 and T8100 models provided some of the best value in the spot market. The actual current end-of-life models, such as the T3200, T6400 and E7400, quietly sold at stable price points, which suggested that they still have pockets of demand in the market.

This is indicative of the delays in the launch of the Calpella family. Some OEMs are pushing on with October launches of the i7-920, i7-950, i7-975, i7-720qm, i7-820qm and i7-920xm models. An uncertain market keeps the current Intel Montevina family of CPUs in steady demand.

AMD mobiles’ price variances.
The run on AMD’s older Turion TL series of CPUs largely has come to an end, but the newer TK and QL models have replaced them with excellent opportunities for cost savings. The key issue is that volume and regional differences in pricing are quite sharp, driving price variations in the market. Some of the desktop Phenom, X4, 9850 and 9750 parts also carry similar spot market savings.

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