As reported here over the last week, Intel has made sweeping changes to its Pentium 4 pricing structure, slicing as much as 50% from the starting price of the 1.7GHz processor, which now debuts at a cool £350 or so. The move is obviously a way for the company to make its chips more appealing to smaller OEMs, something that they have had difficulties with since AMD started undercutting them so vigorously. Although we're in danger of repeating ourselves, dropping prices by so much so soon is an obvious admission of error. Perhaps it was the "You could have faster, but why pay less?" slogan that those wisecrackers at The Inquirer came up with, which finally lit bulbs atop heads at Intel. Whatever happened, it's an impressive reduction across the P4 line, and it means that the lowly Pentium III 1GHz is now practically within the same price bracket as the cheapest P4, the 1.4GHz model. Does this mean Intel intend to phase out the old warhorse? Almost certainly, especially with its successor Tualatin apparently capable of launching within the not too distant future, in 1.13 and possibly 1.2GHz flavours. Well piffle, says Advanced Micro Devices. How about some Athlon reductions across the line to help improve our standing? Ta very much, says World+Dog. In strict fairness, the Athlon prices were already causing hassle for Intel before the reductions, and now leading UK e-tailer Dabs.com is listing a 1.33GHz Athlon for less than £170, less than 50% of the price of the Pentium 4 it arguably outperforms. If this is any indication of AMD's strategy on dealing with the competition, we like it! And if we're not mistaken, the Duron prices appear to have dropped a bit too. Although AMD weren't available at press time (they've all gone home, bless 'em), we're guessing they could still drop Athlon prices a little bit further if provoked. Considering the ferociousness of the Intel price drops however, this writer isn't convinced we'll see much more of that, at least not until the next P4 release. Related Feature - CPU war intensifies
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