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Intel to cut up to 60 per cent off P4 prices

April to host massive Spring sale

Intel will release the 1.7GHz Pentium 4 in two weeks' time at way below the processor's expected price, Taiwanese Web site C-Tech has claimed. Instead of coming in at $637, the site says, the part will ship for $352 - a cut of just over 44 per cent.

Initially, we were a little sceptical. Our Intel roadmap suggests a launch price of $776, not $637 and there's no indication that the part was ever scheduled to ship on 27 May, as C-Tech claims. The 1.5GHz part is currently priced at $637, and is due to fall to $562 next Sunday and then down to $455 on 27 May. Has C-Tech got its chips crossed?

It has, sort of. Pentium 4 demand has clearly not reached the levels Intel anticipated when it wrote the roadmap, and so the company has changed its plans.

Our sources suggest that the roadmap's price reductions have been accelerated to improve demand with the addition of an extra round of P4 price cuts on 29 April.

Next Sunday, sources say, Intel will cut the price of the 1.5GHz P4 to $519 and the 1.4GHz part to $375. The latter is as anticipated (see yesterday's report, Price cuts pave way for 23 April 1.7GHz P4 launch), but the P4 price is lower than the expected $562.

On 23 April, the 1.7GHz P4 will launch at $701, down from the $776 we expected from the roadmap.

Less than a week later, on 29 April, its price will be cut to $361, just above the C-Tech price, and a wee bit after the site reckoned the cut would come. At the same time, the 1.5GHz part will fall to $256 and the 1.4GHz P4 to $193.

In other words, P4s will enter May between 60 per cent and 42 per cent cheaper than they are now.

We haven't seen Pentium III prices, but with the new P4 prices now below expected PIII levels, expect cuts there too.

Oh, and since the P4 currently only supports Rambus memory - P133 and DDR support isn't expected until Q3, from Intel and third-parties, respectively - it will be interesting to see what the price cuts do for RDRAM prices. With DDR prices already a gnat's cock above regular SDRAM, RDRAM is looking very expensive. Could the massive P4 price cuts be just what the technology needs to start competing with DDR on price? ®

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