Direct vendors respond to non-Intel chip demands

A number of UK direct suppliers are turning their backs on Intel and offering more systems based on AMD and Cyrix in response to customer demand.

Direct suppliers such as Elonex, Carrera, Evesham Micros and the new Compaq Direct UK have all given alternative processors their blessing and, according to Elonex systems marketing manager Demetre Cheras, it's because customers are now demanding a change.

"We provide an entry-level machine with a Cyrix chip," he said. "The entry-level is now a niche market being cornered by Cyrix. Customers are demanding alternatives to Intel and they are becoming more clued-up to the differences between processors. It's our job to offer the users that choice."

Compaq's direct sell limited edition home and office Presario 2212 also uses a Cyrix chip, the MediaGX. "It's equivalent to a 586 and Compaq is confident in the price/performance ratio of the chip," said a Compaq Direct salesperson.

AMD marketing planning manager Rana Mainee denied that vendors are completely changing their strategy to adopt alternatives to Intel.

"I don't think we expect anyone to completely switch their whole chip strategy to AMD," said Mainee. "However, we have been very successful with the K6. The pricing is one of the alternative features to Intel but if it was just about pricing, I'm sure vendors could get a competitive deal elsewhere. I believe that people are seeing additional performance benefits to the K6 and not demanding it on price alone."

Cheras added that the K6 is seen as a strong price/performance alternative to Intel and that users, from SoHo to large corporates, now understand what role the chip plays in the design and pricing of a system.

Evesham Micros said that the K6 now accounts for more than half its system sales.