The AMD K7 chip, aka Athlon, looks set to enter the market with a bang this August, but many PC builders fear backlash from Intel if they use it.
Among those launching Athlonian PCs are Compaq and Bolton based reseller Dabs Direct. Dell, Viglen and Tiny Computers all said they will stay 100 per cent loyal to Intel.
Others who are planning to adopt the K7 chip, but asked not to be named for fear of damaging their relationship with Intel, expected Athlon to be a lower cost alternative to the Pentium III.
Athlon is also expected to be around 25 per cent cheaper than the equivalent speed of Intel chip for 500MHz and 550MHz variants, according to Dabs Direct. It has been told its first K7 500/550MHz orders will be delivered mid-to-end August 1999.
Those launching with the K7 will target mid to high end home users. Compaq said it would only aim at home customers - such as gamers.
Others said systems would be aimed at technical users, plus emerging high power consumer markets such as MP3/CD audio and digital moving photography.
"The 'what's new' brigade have placed their back orders already," said David Atherton, Dabs Direct managing director.
Another reseller said: "We will be targeting mid to high end performance customers who have less brand loyalty than Intel think."
Price points varied. One said it would launch systems starting at £999 plus VAT.
Another said it was buying 500MHz at $310, 550MHz at $477 and 600MHz at $714, and would primarily mark up about 20 per cent.
Most said they still recommended AMD chips for the home market, despite AMD wanting a larger chunk of the small business and server sector.
One said AMD did not have enough credibility in this market yet. K7 systems would be too expensive for many small businesses, said another.
Rana Mainee, market planning manager for AMD Europe, refused to comment on availability apart from saying it would be "during Q3", as previously announced.
He maintained the first K7 systems would target, "small businesses as well as high end home consumers."
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