Last week AMD finally launched their long-awaited AMD FX high-end desktop CPU series based on the Bulldozer microarchitecture. If you have read our take on the FX-8150, you will probably have noticed that it’s performance albeit solid did generally underwhelm people in the industry. But the launch triggered some other reactions as well, such as being sold out on major U.S. etailers and something not quite expected – pricing changes on the Intel side.
Usually following a product launch of the competition you’d generally lower your prices to prevent your sales from being disrupted. What Intel did was exactly the opposite. With the new competition being weaker than originally expected, there is no need for Intel to slash prices further. What could be observed in Europe after AMD’s launch is that prices went up by a considerable amount for the Core i7-2600(k), i5-2500(k) and i5-2400 models. The table below comes from Geizhals.at, which is one of largest, if not the largest price comparison engine in the EU region and one of the largest price engines in the world.
As you can see in our example of the Core i7-2600K CPU, the price rose from ?237.62 to ?258.29, which is almost a 9% increase in price. This change cannot be explained due to USD vs. EUR fluctuations. Given the development of EUR vs. USD, the price should have rather decreased by a few percent. Similar changes could be observed in the prices of i5-2500K, i5-2400 and other models.
At the launch of Sandy Bridge Intel introduced the whole lineup of CPUs at a rather competitive price point. Given the competitive situation, Intel already had a healthy advantage in CPU performance over AMD at this point and the aggressive prices wouldn’t have been necessary. We actually assume that Intel bought into AMDs marketing tactics of concealing the performance of Bulldozer and expected it to be a much stronger competitor than it turned out to be.
With the aggressive Sandy Bridge pricing they wanted to capture sales and saturate the market, so people wouldn’t want to upgrade once Bulldozer hits. With this prospect being a moot point, there is no need to keep up the attractive price point anymore. Of course this is speculation on our part. We asked Intel for comment but didn’t get a reply in time.