Even though it will be six months since the last time the chip giant cut processor prices, PC buyers won't be getting many bargain-bin offers when Intel details new pricing early in February, according to sources. The changes should begin to kick in from the end of February or early in March.
At the low end, the changes will be hardly noticeable with 100MHz, 120MHz and 133MHz Pentiums pegged only slightly below their current levels. Further up the scale, however, the news is better for savvy buyers with 166MHz chips chiselled by £60-70, making systems based on the devices attractive contenders for corporates looking for a new entry-level system. MMX-optimised chips will stay virtually the same.
Some PC vendors said the price points could let in rivals such as AMD and Cyrix at the low-end. "There is a lot of scope for people at the network box replacement or even workgroup server end," said a spokesman for one PC vendor who requested anonymity.
"The reason they skipped a cut last time was there was no competition," said a spokesman for another leading UK PC vendor. "This time they had to do something but they're still obviously confident that they're ahead of the game. When AMD's K6 arrives I wouldn't be surprised if there is a mid-term price rise when they feel threatened."