Intel’s New Approach to Selling Chips

Microprocessors are old news – they’re now so mainstream that it’s no longer a surprise to see them advertised on television or on billboards, as it was ten or fifteen years ago. Intel know that it’s just them and AMD in the consumer processor market – and now that you can’t win on clock speed, cache size or bus width any more, they need to make their products appear different and sexy to make those billboards interesting again. Let’s face it all those claims about clock speed were dubious anyway – there are too many factors involved and now that AMD don’t even bother publicising processor speeds, it makes a nonsense out of comparisons (that’s right – your Athlon 2800 doesn’t run at anything like 2.8gHz. That’s just a marketing number to make you think it does).

Cue a new shift in Intel’s product emphasis – it’s not the processor, it’s the chip set. Intel now want you to see the benefits of having a motherboard built round their platform. Now that chip sets are working harder for their money, being the gateway to your PC’s multimedia and communications features, Intel want you to know about it.

Grantsdale is heading your way in June, and is pitched to lead a new generation of entertainment PCs. Just the sort of thing that Intel want to see sitting in your living room.

Marketing a processor just wouldn’t give Intel the clout they need to displace other pieces of consumer electronics in the living room – they need to show the full range of functions that a chip set can perform to show that you’re going to be getting the DVD playback, encoding, games and internet performance that will merit a space under your television.

Grantsdale integrates a lot of features that would previously require more electronics to pull off – including Dolby audio and 3D graphics, allowing PC manufacturers to build smaller, cheaper, quieter boxes.

Intel will be spending a huge amount of money to make sure you know why chipsets are important and why you would want one of theirs. As AMD have no visibility in this area, they’re going to have to come up with something fast.

Oh, and apparently, Intel are making a special effort to train retail salespeople in Grantsdale’s benefits. I look forward to some amusing conversations with the staff in Dixons in the summer then.

More news on Grantsdale as it appears.

Intel’s Chipsets

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?