Rivalry from AMD
To be sure, the executives agreed that they face a highly competitive rival in Advanced Micro Devices. AMD, which delivered an upbeat first-quarter report on April 12, has been taking market share from its larger rival, nipping it for almost four points of share during the fourth quarter.Intel will attempt to stem the tide by bringing its new Core Architecture chips in on top of its existing price points, meaning top-of-the-line models will cost somewhat more than existing chips like the Pentium D, but will be priced about the same as existing models.Intel often does so to stimulate demand for the newer chips. It will apply price cuts as well at some point. Such moves will still be necessary to win back some of Intels lost share, Bryant said. "Were not anticipating anything crazy, but it is a competition environment," he said. "Even though were bringing out new products with new capabilities, you still have to gain back business that you lost." AMD, for its part, is preparing upgraded PC and server chips that offer capabilities such as virtualization as well as the ability to tap DDR2 (double data rate 2 DRAM). The first such chips, for PCs, will arrive this quarter. Opterons sporting the upgrades are scheduled to arrive in the third quarter. It has indicated it will charge about the same for its new chips. Given its high hopes for Core Architecture chips, Intel is expected to deliver them as soon as it can. "We are particularly pleased with the production readiness of processors based on our new Core Microarchitecture," Otellini said during the call. "We plan to ship Woodcrest, Conroe and Merom in volume during Q3." The chips will be widely available during the third quarter. Although, given its zeal, Woodcrest and Conroe are likely to come out early in the period, some observers said. Conroe will also get some extra attention on April 24 in a conference call with reporters. The call, which will be hosted by Otellini, according to an e-mail invitation received by eWEEK, is expected to unveil the new business brand, for which the chip will be a centerpiece. Still, the exact timing of chips such as Conroe isnt as important as the weight that Intel is expecting the new architecture chips to bring. "I think the important element of [the chips] is it will restore Intel as far as having a strongly competitive product line without any problematic design aspectswith Pentium 4, power consumption and design thermals were becoming pretty demanding," for one, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research in Cave Creek, Ariz. For its part, "Conroe is very closely aligned with what the market is demanding at the moment and it makes them more competitive," he said. "Obviously, its going to have a have a lot of focus on [the chips] helping it maintain or regain market share." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.