On Monday the Intel P4 becomes commercially available
November 17, 2000 1:54 PM   Subscribe

On Monday the Intel P4 becomes commercially available in systems from three vendors. The prices were supposed to be secret but they've been leaked. Wait until you see them. They can't be serious; do they actually think they're going to sell even one of these things, let alone large numbers of them, at those kinds of prices?
posted by Steven Den Beste (11 comments total)
Because most people have given up buying latest-and-greatest systems. Because they're on a three-to-four-month product cycle, and these prices will drop right after Christmas. Because they're still making good profit margins on P3 systems. Because the megahertz freaks are so hot you may as well milk them for every samolean you can.
posted by dhartung at 2:07 PM on November 17, 2000

Well, and the prices quoted were for ultra-top-of-the-line systems totally maxed out with lots of options. Any time you see an 'XL' model from Gateway, it's going to be at least $1000 more than the next lower model. I saw somewhere else that they expected to sell value-point PCs with Pentium 4s for around $2000.
posted by daveadams at 2:09 PM on November 17, 2000

But.... ?

Only 128 megs of RAM?

40 Gig HDD?

Those aren't top of the line...
posted by Ptrin at 2:15 PM on November 17, 2000

"The computer you really want always costs about $5,000." It was true twenty years ago, it's still true today.
posted by kindall at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2000

Here's a nice conspiracy theory which explains it all.

But on Monday all the NDA's lift, and we're going to find out that these systems are about as fast as a 1 GHz PIII and slower than a 1.2 Ghz Athlon, both of which can be had for far less money in comparable configurations. The reviews are going to slaughter these systems.

It looks like Intel has yet another embarassment on its hands. How the heck does a company go from hero to clown so fast? I keep waiting to hear that a lot of senior execs have "decided to pursue other interests"; at some point the board of directors is going to start asking some pointed questions about all this.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:34 PM on November 17, 2000

And, as Slashdot noted today, they don't support SMP -- so no dual processors any time soon.
posted by waxpancake at 2:52 PM on November 17, 2000

How the heck does a company go from hero to clown so fast?

Not taking competition seriously; misjudging the market; market change.

Not taking competition seriously: I'm certain that Intel thought the Athlon, and AMD, would go away. It was really make or break for AMD as a company, because K6s weren't going to right the ship. The Athlon did because it beat Intel on price and performance, in many cases.

Misjudging the market: Yes, for quite a while people were all about the CPU speed. And for many that's still the case, but not always the defining one - look at Macs. Nevertheless, Intel figured that because corporations still sided with P3 chips in their servers, that would always trickle down to desktops. Not when you can save a few hundred bucks by going AMD. Brand loyalty isn't what Intel thought it would be.

Market change: Similarly, there are people who always need the "latest and greatest" (I'm traditionally one of 'em.) But more and more people who are buying PCs are seeing them as appliances - things that don't really need to change anytime soon. By targeting the high-end and server markets, and figuring that speed was the only issue, Intel made an enormous mistake.

They'll recover, I'm sure, but I know I'm happy to see AMD doing so well these days. They've come a long way.
posted by hijinx at 3:59 PM on November 17, 2000

For the next year and possibly beyond, AMD is gonna slaughter Intel. I don't believe for a split second that a P4 1.5 is faster than an Athlon 1.2 T-Bird. And why would anyone currently buy a P4 when they could get a P3 with better performance?
posted by grank at 12:47 AM on November 18, 2000

From what I remember hearing and reading, the P4 is on a new archetecture, that is supposedly going to allow for 64-bit software, which is what Microsoft is wanting to put out. This is the same thing that happened when people were running Windows 3.1 and Win95 came out. However, this is all moot if my memory is not correct.
posted by Arvid at 10:29 AM on November 19, 2000

Arvid, you're thinking of the Itanium, not the P4.

The P4 is definitely a 32-bit computer. The Itanium is a brand new 64-bit architecture.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:48 PM on November 19, 2000

Thanks for the correction. Too many sources of information, not enough power to process them on my part :)
posted by Arvid at 1:09 PM on November 19, 2000

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