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Core i7 question?

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  • CPUs
  • Chipsets
  • Intel i7
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October 27, 2008 2:04:34 PM

Now that Core i7 has an IMC and therefore the Northbridge is integrated on the cpu die shouldn't the cost of Core i7 mobo's decrease?

When the A64 was introduced the price of mobo's went down because they were much cheaper to manufacture. Also a lot less cooling was needed.

The excuse for Intel for years has been that the chipsets have the memory controller on them and therefore the motherboard ends up being more expensive as a result. However thats not the case anymore. Overclockers.co.uk has a few X58 mobo's up for pre order (to be released 31/10/08) and the average price for them is £260 (approx $500) each. Ok they are enthusiast mobo's but seriously there isn't a single AM2+ mobo any where near that kind of price range and surely X58 chipsets can't be that more expensive to produce that AM2+ chipsets.

Is it because we are all so used to paying more for Intel chipset mobo's that the manufacturers have just kept the prices high and are making obscene amounts of profit on each one or is there something I am missing about Core i7 or the chipsets in general.


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October 27, 2008 2:28:01 PM

I suppose in theory the cost of mobos will/should go down as a result of not having a northbridge. However, i would not expect cheap X58 mobos for about another 9-12 months. Anytime any new tech (especially new Intel tech) hits the market, it slways pulls premium price.

I am hoping for significant price cuts on E8xxx and Q9xxx series dual/quads. It'll probably be the next tick-tock cycle after Nehalem that i'll worry about upgrading from Skt775.
October 27, 2008 2:55:08 PM

No, the Cost should not go down because of the integrated IMC.
That is only a small factor.

There are lots of R&D, Retooling costs, initial low ecomony of scale, etc....
Which will all lead to higher mobo costs.
Over time this will adjust.

Furthermore, the initial boards will be the higher end, high feature mobos to match the higher end i7 chips.

Also - Pre-Order Prices tend to be significantly higher. The price range I have heard is closer to $250-$300 to start ............
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October 27, 2008 4:21:51 PM

True pre-order prices to tend to be higher and the initial boards arefor the higher end.

I suppose it is likely that the prices will eventually settle down a bit. But my worry is that after a while when the costs of manufacturing Core i7 boards goes down is it really likely that they will drop the prices. If people are buying them at these high prices there is no incentive to reduce the price for the consumer.

Maybe its just me but I was hoping that the days of these ridiculously expensive boards was coming to an end. Especially when you compare the specs of a high end skt 775 to a high end skt 1366 board and see they are essentially identical with the exception of the memory controller missing. Which should make the damn things cheaper.
October 27, 2008 4:35:35 PM

The Cost will be based upon Supply and Demand in the long run.
Since the boards are built by a large number of different companies, if one vendor tries to bleep folks over, somebody else will come along and undercut them.

i7 will not be the best choice for the cost concious consumer when they are released. The main reason will be Mobo and Memory cost. However, these will level out.

In fact, there will likely be more vendors to choose from than ever.
Example - EVGA is moving over to the Intel Chipsets to complement their NVIDIA chipset, which will slowly beging to die on the Intel side due to a failure to reach a license agreement.
a c 379 à CPUs
October 27, 2008 4:38:59 PM

The X58 motherboards have more layers in them, and more copper, increasing manufacturing costs.
The good thing is that there will be a number of X58 motherboards to pick from. Competition is good, eventually resulting in lower prices.
I expect(hope?) that the boards will be sound because they only have one type of cpu to design for.
October 27, 2008 5:44:49 PM

Zenmaster wrote:

Quote:
Since the boards are built by a large number of different companies, if one vendor tries to bleep folks over, somebody else will come along and undercut them.


Errm, yes, but how many companies are making the chipsets? Doesn't that mean that they have license to work people over until a second chipset manufacturer comes along, and, at the moment it seems that it is only likely to be nvidia that spoils Intel's party. And even then, isn't it possible that the two manufacturers decide that they would rather have a fat profit margin rather than getting a few extra sales?

Quote:
There are lots of R&D, Retooling costs, initial low ecomony of scale, etc....
Which will all lead to higher mobo costs.


Yes, but a lot of that applies to any new mobo introduction.

Quote:
The X58 motherboards have more layers in them, and more copper, increasing manufacturing costs.


Yes, but the extra cost is quite moderate; if it adds £10 to the purchase price of the bare mobo, that would be on the high side. If the price were only going to be £10 more than an economy s775 board, I'd be a lot happier.

Quote:
the initial boards will be the higher end, high feature mobos to match the higher end i7 chips.


That seems to be the main effect; while not all of the initial i7s are really high end chips, all of the boards I have heard of are high end boards. No idea when more basic motherboards are due out, or when Intel intend introducing value-level chipsets.
October 27, 2008 5:59:41 PM

Initial A64 boards were puny by comparison. Single-channel DDR, no SLI or Crossfire at the time, 754 pins. Mainstream, one-size-fits-all.

With i7, the first consumer boards are enthusiast, supporting both Crossfire and SLI at full bandwidth, meaning extra licensing and validation costs. Doing traces for a 1366 pin socket is daunting by comparison; X58 doesn't let up with its own ~36 PCI-e lanes.

Even pricier boards might come out with a second I/O hub (nForce 200 SLI) for another 32 PCI-e lanes to enable full tri-SLI (don't know driver status on quad).
October 27, 2008 6:34:47 PM

Verge,

The x58 chipset is actually cheaper than the x48 chipset by $20
($52 in Quantity)

Intel will be releasing a lower end i7 1H '09 that uses a different socket and should come with a less expensive chipset.

While you will not be finding boards under $100 with this chipset, there is clearly plenty of room for lower end boards.

However, there is likely to be an initual shortage of chips as Intel converts from P35, X38, X45, X48, etc... over to the newer chipsets.

Since manufacturers may be able to make a limited number of boards, they will choose to make the higher end boards with a larger profit margin.

We should see a wider selection of boards in the coming months as supply settles. The initial wave will be for those who can and will pay anything to get their hands on it.

Wave 2 in a couple months will be for those who can afford to play a reasonable premium for premium tech.

I think it will be awhile before we are talking about about the i7 like we are talking aboue e5200 systems.
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