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AMD recomputes desktop chip prices

The chipmaker's new price list contains both good news and bad news for customers.

Advanced Micro Devices has changed the prices of its Athlon desktop PC processors, shifting some chips' prices upward, though the majority of its published desktop chip prices are now lower.

The changes came as the chipmaker reconfigured the way it publishes prices for desktop components. AMD is now listing prices for chip bundles, which are typically sold via distributors to system makers, instead of prices for the chips alone, a company representative said.

Each chip bundle, or processor-in-box (PIB), as AMD calls it, includes a processor, a heat sink and a fan. A heat sink is a component that keeps the processor from overheating. AMD covers each kit with a three-year warranty.

The change, which the representative said isn't the same as a standard price move, reflects upon the importance of AMD's PIB business. Although AMD hasn't broken out the percentage of its chip sales that PIBs represent versus bare processors, PIBs are purchased most often by smaller system builders or PC enthusiasts who construct their own computers, she said.

The AMD price list reflects what system builders who purchase chips via an authorized AMD distributor would pay when purchasing PIBs in 1,000-unit lots. Previously, AMD's desktop processor pricing reflected bare processors sold in 1,000-unit lots, either direct to PC makers or possibly to distributors.

The new list increases prices for a few processors, including AMD's Athlon 64 FX-53 and certain Athlon XP chips, by small amounts. Prices on Athlon 64 chips came out lower.

The Athlon 64 FX-53, for example, jumped from $799 to $827, while the Athlon XP 3000+ rose by $1 to $164. The Athlon XP 2800+ went from $117 to $150, the representative said.

AMD's Athlon 64 pricing went the other way, with several chips' prices falling steeply, the spokesperson said.

The price of its Athlon 64 3800+ changed from $720 to $643. The Athlon 64 3700+ went from $710 to $507; the Athlon 64 3500+ was changed from $500 to $346; and the Athlon 64 3400+ went from $417 to $288.

The Athlon 64 3200+ changed from $278 to $227, and the Athlon 64 3000+ dropped from $218 to $189. Meanwhile, AMD's Athlon 64 2800+ is now $173, $5 less than before, while its Athlon XP 3200+ moved down $9 to 204, she said.

Although this week's price maneuvers are different in that they reflect on how the processors are packaged and whom they're being sold to, AMD and Intel regularly lower their chip prices to allow new chips into the market, respond to competition or motivate PC makers to buy. AMD is expected to release its low-price Sempron processor soon, for example.

AMD's mobile Athlon XP chips, along with its mobile Athlon 64s and Opteron and Athlon MP server chip prices, all continue to be sold in 1,000-unit lots to PC makers. Those prices remained the same this week, the representative said.