The highly anticipated release of Intel’s Pentium 4 Extreme Edition gaming chip has yet to translate into mass consumer sales. Many PC hardware stockists have reported the CPU is a dud on the shelves.
Business development manager and Web sales manager of Victorian reseller Centre Com, Ramon Costello, said the chip’s high price tag – upwards of $1400 - was seemingly prohibitive to consumers looking at buying the high-end processor.
“It's a fantastic unit but for the extra money compared to a stock 3.0Ghz or 3.2GHz (Intel CPU) consumers particularly, cannot justify the additional cost,” he said. “It does not sell at all”.
“Bear in mind we are one of the biggest sellers in Victoria, so for us to have sold not one unit of this chip is a fairly solid market indication since we are advertising it both in the Green Guide and on our Internet site.”
Other resellers agreed the price of the P4 HT EE was contributing to its poor sales figures.
Infocom account manager, Aaron Arblaster, said that from a sales point of view “the Intel Extreme processor has not been going well at all”.
“It’s quite a powerful processor," he said, "but it seems people just aren't willing to spend that kind of money on a processor. They are looking at other peripherals: maybe spending the extra money on a larger LCD screen and adding a DVD Recorder."
Altech Computers marketing manager, Scott Emerton, said Altech was currently only stocking the P4 HT EE on a per order basis.
“We have not had much of a demand as of yet," he said. "I do believe the demand will increase slightly as soon as an update is released, making the 3.2GHz more affordable [my current RRP is $1567].”
The 3.2GHz P4 with Hyper-Threading Extreme Edition (HT EE), which features a 2MB Level 3 cache, was originally unveiled at last year’s Intel Developer Forum and released in the US market in November 2003.
The P4 HT EE has been available to Australian consumers since the first week of December.
Intel public relations manager, Daniel Anderson, said he was surprised at the reaction of resellers to sales of the P4 HT EE, and suggested resellers focus on product sales relative to the processor’s niche target market: high-end gaming users.
“We've actually been very pleased with the uptake of the Pentium 4 processor Extreme Edition,” he said.
“The product meets specific market segment needs by delivering high performance for high-end gamers and computing power users - as such it was never intended to be a high volume product.”
Anderson said that although Intel would not pre-announce price cuts or performance gains, it was “likely” that the vendor would increase the processor’s speed frequency over time.
While sales of Intel’s gaming chip were low, Centre Com’s Costello said that sales of AMD’s 64-bit processor, which currently represented the high-end of the vendor’s CPU series, were also falling short of Centre Com’s expectations.
The only movements of stock had been “due to amazingly aggressive Christmas stock clearance bundles from the distributors”, he said.