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Chip choices confusing customers

Consumers shopping for PCs can still be pretty confused about brands and the choices in front of them, according to a new survey.

Buying a PC is always confusing, and chip companies aren't doing as good a job with some important customers as they might like, according to a new survey from In-Stat.

The Pentium brand is still the most well-known chip brand, even though it's a Core world, according to In-Stat. Intel

Even early adopters of technology are having trouble associating the right brand with the right company, said Ian Lao, an analyst with In-Stat and author of the report. Some brands, like Via's Eden, are only recognized by half of early adopters, he said. (I'd actually say that's pretty good for a company as tiny as Via).

The most well-recognized brand is still Intel's Pentium brand, which has been in place for over a decade. But while Intel can take pride in that result, it creates a problem when the company is trying to sell its latest Core 2 Duo chips, which are far more powerful than the Pentium-era chips. Intel has backed off a bit from the so-called "platform" marketing espoused by CEO Paul Otellini in favor of more specific advertisements around the Core processors over the past six to eight months.

Graphics chip companies are actually doing a pretty good job reaching the public, even if the raw numbers don't suggest it, Lao said. Both Nvidia's GeForce and AMD's Radeon brand were recognized by just over 40 percent of early adopters surveyed by the market research firm, even though the majority of the PC market uses integrated graphics. Still, aren't the early adopters generally the ones who want souped-up PCs capable of running anything and everything?