Sunday, September 19, 2010

Intel Piloting Chip Upgrade Program

Intel is currently running a pilot program for upgrading a new processor chip.  In short, the consumer purchases a computer with a processor that has had it's full capabilities restrained.  The consumer will then have to purchase an upgrade in order to gain the full capabilities of the processor.  The upgrade is only digital.  In other words, the upgrade only tells the processor "OK, you're allowed to work at full speed now".  This would be akin to purchasing a hi-def television that can only run normal definition until you push a bunch of buttons on your remote and fork over some extra cash.

For Intel and retailers, this sounds like a good idea.  They can sell computers cheaper, and then sell an upgrade for those who want the full capabilities.  This also helps retailers and manufacturers keep costs down by reducing the number of models.  The combination of upgrade sales and saved inventory space means they're making and saving money at the same time which equates to greater profits.

For consumers this may, at first, seem like a good idea.  You can buy a computer and quite easily upgrade its processor power later.  The truth is that the consumer is not gaining anything.  What's really happening is that Intel is showing that they can sell a processor for price "A", but you'll have to pay more to make the processor work better.  This just begs the question, "Why not sell the fully capable processor at the low price, without any upgrade offers, which makes your prices more competitive with AMD?".

What do you think about this?


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