bit-tech.net

Intel Sandy Bridge launch was pointless

Posted on 4th Jan 2011 at 14:12 by James Gorbold with 49 comments

James Gorbold
While the review we published yesterday of Intel's new Sandy Bridge range of CPUs was extremely glowing, the fact remains that launching it at 5am (UK time) on 3 January was pointless.

This is because, more than 33 hours after the so-called 'launch' of Sandy Bridge, you can't still buy one of these new CPUs or an LGA1155 motherboard to put one in.

In short, Sandy Bridge is a paper launch and Intel has joined the ignoble list of companies that 'launches' products you can't buy. There are several reasons why the launch on Monday is such a joke.

First of all, just days before launch, Intel pulled forwards the launch date by a couple of days, throwing the industry into disarray. For example, we had to suddenly get the review prepared earlier than expected; not a whole lot of fun when you're on national holiday and the team is spread around the globe.

Intel Sandy Bridge launch was pointless *Intel Sandy Bridge launch was pointless
You can get your own paper Sandy Bridge CPU by printing out this image

However, while most major review sites managed to scrabble some coverage together, retailers and manufacturers have still yet to catch up. As a result, no major UK or US retailer is listing any Sandy Bridge products as available to ship, let alone pre-order.

It's not just the press and retailers that are confused either - I've yet to receive a single press release from a manufacturer about their Sandy Bridge motherboards, memory or CPU coolers either. Perhaps we'll see some news later on today, when Sandy Bridge was originally meant to launch.

So, even if Sandy Bridge does (on paper) make the whole existing range of LGA1156 CPUs and most LGA1366 processors obselete, in reality it doesn't.

The sad fact is that Intel didn't need to rush out the release of Sandy Bridge in such a slap-dash manner. Its competitor has nothing remotely threatening planned until quite a lot later this year, so it's a baffling decision.

That is, unless you believe its a cynical ploy to drum up demand so that when you finally can buy Sandy Bridge, Intel can mysteriously up the price. In the meantime, don't expect a January Hardware Buyer's Guide anytime soon...

49 Comments

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Zinfandel 4th January 2011, 14:21 Quote
It all seems particularly shoddy eh. You chaps did a fine job mind, so well done.

I think the sensible thing for everyone to do, as much as they might not wish to is just chill out and wait a couple of weeks until everyone's had chance to catch up and get out/read all of the reviews.
AcuraTLSFan 4th January 2011, 14:36 Quote
I agree with you James...

...in the mean time I'll print myself a Sandy Bridge CPU, now I need to find a motherboard
leveller 4th January 2011, 14:39 Quote
Is it possible Intel were 'spooked' into announcing everything early?
Fanatic 4th January 2011, 14:48 Quote
Maybe just Intel reacting and trying to re-ignite the impact of the launch following the NDA failures across the world, although I agree it seems a little pointless. Retailers at the very least should have been made aware so they could have products ready for pre-order - I reckon they would have made a killing on the 'impulse buy' market. I was tempted and went looking thats for sure!
Evildead666 4th January 2011, 14:57 Quote
From what I could gather, the Mobos had been showing up in asia for retail, and some CPU's started to be available as well.

This made the hardware available and testable somewhere in the world.
jrs77 4th January 2011, 15:02 Quote
The fun fact about this is, that most retailers allready have the CPUs in stock and just don't list them yet, as they hold on to the Jan 9th as a release-date.

I know atleast of 4 german retailers that have allready sold CPUs silently starting two weeks ago, but don't list the parts on their webpage. You can call them on the phone and get them to sell you the parts however. Mainboards being freely available for allmost 3 weeks and listed in allmost all big german eStores.
When you ask them about the CPUs, they all give the same answer initially, that they aren't supposed to sell the parts before Jan 9th. After sharing some love they do sell them tho.

UK and US retailers won't sell you anything before Jan 9th tho, as they fear the mighty intel-lawyers and the consequences, something the germans only laugh about with the general anti-american-british attitude they formed during the last 10 years (thanks to Bush and Blair).
Zinfandel 4th January 2011, 15:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77

UK and US retailers won't sell you anything before Jan 9th tho, as they fear the mighty intel-lawyers and the consequences, something the germans only laugh about with the general anti-american-british attitude they formed during the last 10 years (thanks to Bush and Blair).

Pfft come on, lets not go there again.
Xir 4th January 2011, 15:08 Quote
Hmmm, while I can see prices for P67/H67 Mobo's here in Germany, they come with a release date of Jan 9th.
Don't see any pricing of SB processors though.
andrew8200m 4th January 2011, 15:14 Quote
Launch day was put back to the 9th officially so the fact everywhere seemed to launch early was the waste of time. Patience is a virtue.. its a shame so many people lack it.
Instagib 4th January 2011, 15:42 Quote
I wonder if intel saw AMD's Fusion APU release as some sort of threat and pulled Sandy Bridge forward in an attempt to steal all the lime light?

Or are Intel trying to really kill AMD off by overshadowing anything AMD release at any point of the market?
frontline 4th January 2011, 15:51 Quote
Sandy Bridge and the first batch of Fusion products seem to be aimed at different price points (approx £200-£300 for a working Zacate based system?), however it does seem to be a bit about stealing AMD's thunder about it's Atom-killer release.
Redsnake77 4th January 2011, 16:15 Quote
"As a result, no major UK or US retailer is listing any Sandy Bridge products as available to ship, let alone pre-order."

Shouldn't it be - "As a result, no major UK or US retailer is listing any Sandy Bridge products as available to pre-order, let alone ship."?

Sorry to be picky.
javaman 4th January 2011, 16:40 Quote
quicksync and the 3000GPU interests me but only cause I want to replace my netbook with something similar that can handle light gaming. TBH I get the feeling we won't be seeing SB in laptops for under £600 mark with the old i3/5/7 filling the lower end with crappier on board graphics and good old atom still being almost useless.
In all honesty SB was pointless for gamers, that is, SB just improved part of a PC that for many people doesn't actually need much more improvement compared to other areas. Yes quicksync is useful and yes we should see price drops but unless the product actually appears the market stands still. The area I want improvement in is graphics for low end, If quicksync and applications that use the GPU take off, low end graphics will have to catch up ie not be tied to SB but filter right down to atom. Zacate is what I'm really waiting for
oskars666 4th January 2011, 16:45 Quote
It may be possible that intel is scared shitless if not about AMDs Bulldozer capabilities then definitely scared about AMDs Bulldozer and Radeon combined in Fusion (one chip die on the cpu socket). So Intel tries to imprint in our brains that nothing is better than it's current (yet unavailable) offering long ahead.
I hope that i'll have a reason to switch back to AMD after 5 long years.
Tattysnuc 4th January 2011, 16:52 Quote
Sounds like Intel are just jumping on the hype bandwagon that's been accompanying the slow release of motherboards that have been popping up lately, trying to get a bit of the headline themselves. wonder if it was timed ahead of the VAT increase in the UK for Pre-order purposes?
Tom @ CCL 4th January 2011, 16:55 Quote
There are separate NDA releases on press and retailers remember, the two were never set at the same date even before the press NDA was pulled forward.
wuyanxu 4th January 2011, 17:00 Quote
well, it may seem like a pointless paper launch.

but thanks to great websites such as Bit-tech, i was able to look at reviews and not press the buy button to spend unnecessary money. early review and then a few days of thinking time stops impulse buys. :)
Lizard 4th January 2011, 17:01 Quote
I didn't spot this at the time of writing the blog but even Intel hasn't put Sandy Bridge on its own website yet

:(
./^\.Ace./^\. 4th January 2011, 17:15 Quote
I didn't notice any motherboards but my local computer store had over 25 new Sandy Bridge i5's and some i7's on Dec, 27. So I thought that was when they were released.
azrael- 4th January 2011, 17:28 Quote
I could have picked up a Series 6 motherboard here in Denmark (even locally) for a couple of weeks. Alas, what to put in it...
Picarro 4th January 2011, 17:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael-
I could have picked up a Series 6 motherboard here in Denmark (even locally) for a couple of weeks. Alas, what to put in it...

Who stocks them?
SteveU 4th January 2011, 18:05 Quote
Hmm, methinks the Intel PR dept have been meeting in secret with Mr Jobs on how to create marketing hype prior to launch!
frontline 4th January 2011, 18:18 Quote
Maybe the original review should be changed to 'Preview' - like the Zacate Motherboard article. There aren't even any confirmed UK prices....
Fingers66 4th January 2011, 18:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontline
Maybe the original review should be changed to 'Preview' - like the Zacate Motherboard article. There aren't even any confirmed UK prices....

Not confirmed but predicted by a (usually) reliable source. I posted this in another thread here...



PC Pro have posted some predicted UK launch prices, £174 (inc VAT) for the 2500K looks good if true.

Source: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/processors/363982/intel-sandy-bridge

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/images/front_picture_library_PC_Pro/dir_316/it_photo_158161_52.png
frontline 4th January 2011, 18:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingers66
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontline
Maybe the original review should be changed to 'Preview' - like the Zacate Motherboard article. There aren't even any confirmed UK prices....

Not confirmed but predicted by a (usually) reliable source. I posted this in another thread here...



PC Pro have posted some predicted UK launch prices, £174 (inc VAT) for the 2500K looks good if true.

Source: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/processors/363982/intel-sandy-bridge

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/images/front_picture_library_PC_Pro/dir_316/it_photo_158161_52.png

It does make you wonder where PC Pro got their prices from though - or did i miss that in the article?

I'm used to bit-tech's reviews having links to the relevant web-stores when they quote a review price. PC Pro might say £174, but if it appears at £199, would that affect the review scores? (for value at least).

Anyway, looks like a good product (especially the 2500K).
Fingers66 4th January 2011, 18:52 Quote
Maybe the lads @ bit-tech can tell us where PC Pro got the predicted prices from, they are a sister magazine after all.
jrs77 4th January 2011, 19:03 Quote
Calling a german retailer by phone asking for prices resulted in the following:

Core i7 2600K - 309€
Core i5 2500K - 219€
Core i5 2500 - 209€
Core i5 2400 - 189€
Core i5 2300 - 184€
Core i3 2120 - 139€
Core i3 2100 - 119€

All CPUs are in stock and officially ready for shipping January 9th according to the nice person on the phone.

The only thing not available at this point (not in stock atleast) are miniITX-boards other then the intel DH67CF.
Fingers66 4th January 2011, 19:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Calling a german retailer by phone asking for prices resulted in the following:

Core i7 2600K - 309€
Core i5 2500K - 219€
Core i5 2500 - 209€
Core i5 2400 - 189€
Core i5 2300 - 184€
Core i3 2120 - 139€
Core i3 2100 - 119€

All CPUs are in stock and officially ready for shipping January 9th according to the nice person on the phone.

The only thing not available at this point (not in stock atleast) are miniITX-boards other then the intel DH67CF.

Assuming those DE prices include 19% VAT, the 2500K translates to £187 @ 1 EUR = 0.854536 GBP/1 GBP = 1.17023 EUR.
jrs77 4th January 2011, 19:14 Quote
Yes, the prices I got told are including 19% VAT ofc. And thanks to EU-trade-laws I've to pay another 4% VAT ontop of those prices, as I live in Finland where there's 23% VAT.

Nevertheless it's still less expensive for me to order from german shops instead of buying hardware directly in finnish shops.
Phil Rhodes 4th January 2011, 19:28 Quote
Welp, I'm reasonably happy with my i7/950. I've been deliberately buying things just slightly before they're replaced for the last three upgrades or so, which saves paying a 25% price premium for a 10% speed increase.

The Cult of the Latest Thing includes idiocies like personalised numberplates, and I'm not particularly interested in it.
phuzz 4th January 2011, 20:27 Quote
@Fingers66 unfortunately we now have 20% VAT, so I'm expecting to see the 2500K for about £200. Good thing I'm not upgrading for about 6 months.
Of course by then there'll be something else new round the corner, but at least I know I'll be on a fairly stable CPU/Mobo combination for a year or two.
somidiot 4th January 2011, 21:21 Quote
Lame. Good thing I'm not in the market at the moment.

Thanks for the article on sandy bridge anyways. You guys do good work.
bsp 4th January 2011, 22:03 Quote
Could this be an excercise in generating hype? Teasing the crowds just a little before they can buy the product? (well, outside of asia anyway)

----
edit
----

the end result being increased interest in the chips and therefore higher sales?
Snips 4th January 2011, 22:35 Quote
Don't actually see what the problem is. Other sites were publishing their benchtests early anyway so Intel have just said to hell with it, you can all publish them now.

Can't see any threat from AMD against SandyBridge and neither can anyone else.
Ljs 4th January 2011, 23:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by phuzz
@Fingers66 unfortunately we now have 20% VAT, so I'm expecting to see the 2500K for about £200. Good thing I'm not upgrading for about 6 months.
Of course by then there'll be something else new round the corner, but at least I know I'll be on a fairly stable CPU/Mobo combination for a year or two.

I have no idea how you managed to round £174 up to £200 with just a 2.5% VAT increase.
HandMadeAndroid 4th January 2011, 23:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zinfandel
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77

UK and US retailers won't sell you anything before Jan 9th tho, as they fear the mighty intel-lawyers and the consequences, something the germans only laugh about with the general anti-american-british attitude they formed during the last 10 years (thanks to Bush and Blair).
dont mention ze war
Pfft come on, lets not go there again.
Fingers66 4th January 2011, 23:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by phuzz
@Fingers66 unfortunately we now have 20% VAT, so I'm expecting to see the 2500K for about £200. Good thing I'm not upgrading for about 6 months.
Of course by then there'll be something else new round the corner, but at least I know I'll be on a fairly stable CPU/Mobo combination for a year or two.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljs
I have no idea how you managed to round £174 up to £200 with just a 2.5% VAT increase.

£145 * 1.2 = £174

The pic and link was taken from a PC Pro article published yesterday (03/01/11) and shows VAT @ 20% included in the figures in brackets.

My reference to VAT @ 19% is a reference to the VAT payable in Germany.
azrael- 5th January 2011, 00:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Who stocks them?
Sorry for the late reply. PC Lager stocks some boards. Granted, it's only ASRock, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Cool_CR 5th January 2011, 01:18 Quote
These are top processors for decent prices there is never a bad time to bring something like that to market Intel are doing the right thing brining good tec to people it help drive the home market forward and expands the limits of what people at home can do. A paper lanch is again conumer focused due to the fact that anyone in the know will now read review and hold off on buying new CPU and mobos till they can get there hands on these so its a big win win. the LGA1366 his looking like an overly expensive monster in comparision still i will have gotten over two years out of mine before it retires
veato 5th January 2011, 11:59 Quote
Why on any article relating to a new piece of hardware, particularly a GOOD piece of hardware, does someone inevitably comment "well I'm happy with what I've got anyway...."
Xir 5th January 2011, 12:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
In all honesty SB was pointless for gamers, that is, SB just improved part of a PC that for many people doesn't actually need much more improvement compared to other areas.
Well it drops processor pricing by about 30%, that should help. Also uses a lot less power, which is always good.
But yes, a processor without GPU is what would suit most gamers best.
And everyone that upgraded in the last year or so won't be compelled to shift.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Welp, I'm reasonably happy with my i7/950. I've been deliberately buying things just slightly before they're replaced for the last three upgrades or so, which saves paying a 25% price premium for a 10% speed increase.
Normally you'd get a full 100% ACK.
Unless, as in this case, the replacemend "Medium Part" actually beats the former "Performance Part".
The i5-2500K is 30% off the i7-950 while at/above it's performance...don't ask me, I don't understand it either. :D
cjb119 5th January 2011, 12:31 Quote
I guess they wanted some news time to themselves before CES.
Where a chip launch would be lost in all the paper thin tv's and other shiny things. Which makes sense...just a pity they didn't think about it earlier!
ChromeX 5th January 2011, 15:59 Quote
looks like aria has them on pre-order, and the motherboards! MOBO range isnt all that great though tbh

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/CPUs+%2F+Processors/?x=12&p_brand=25&p=cF9zdHlsZT0mcF9wcm9kdWN0c1BlclBhZ2U9Jg==

172.20 quid for the 2500k, I know what im buying on payday :)
Fingers66 5th January 2011, 16:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeX
looks like aria has them on pre-order, and the motherboards! MOBO range isnt all that great though tbh

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/CPUs+%2F+Processors/?x=12&p_brand=25&p=cF9zdHlsZT0mcF9wcm9kdWN0c1BlclBhZ2U9Jg==

172.20 quid for the 2500k, I know what im buying on payday :)

Looks like the PC Pro price "predictions" were right on the money...(pun intended).
Cthippo 5th January 2011, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by veato
Why on any article relating to a new piece of hardware, particularly a GOOD piece of hardware, does someone inevitably comment "well I'm happy with what I've got anyway...."

The underlying comment there is "It's not a big enough jump in performance to justify buying". In other words, whatever the new product is, it's only an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, step.

Or in other words, It's better, but not $300 worth of better.
Empgamer 5th January 2011, 21:52 Quote
I shall be getting my i5 2500K and P8P67 Pro ASAP :)
CowBlazed 5th January 2011, 23:03 Quote
Could it be that Intel is still trying to decide what exactly to call these CPUs?

"The next generation Core i CPUs" doesn't quite cut it. Or maybe, Core i2xxxx i3/i5/i7
sausages 5th January 2011, 23:37 Quote
They should just call it the i9.

Not that I care all that much about processors any more anyway. I'm still going perfectly strong with my old overclocked C2D. While 99.9999% of PC games these days are gimped down to console levels, I have no need to upgrade anyway. Battlefield Bad Company 2, Mafia 2, Fallout New Vegas, and currently playing "Two Worlds 2" - I crank the hell out of all of them and still get good frame rates, even on this old cpu. So I have no need to upgrade. It's the only upside to the horrible situation gaming is in these days.
Alistair Kemp 6th January 2011, 00:49 Quote
I work for Intel in the UK and just wanted to clarify a couple of points. The embargo for the reviews was brought forward to Monday so that the reviews could be made public prior to today's official launch at CES. This was a last minute change, and while it was unfortunate it was also sadly unavoidable. As the person who had to let James know, it was a difficult thing to do - it caused problems and I personally acknowledge that and can say that we are sensitive to the feedback, and while I'm not in a position to give any guarantees, we will try and learn from this experience.

Today's launch confirmed 2nd Generation Core availability as from January 9th – meaning you will be able to buy products with these processors, many of which were announced by our partners today as well, from that day. As such we would argue that this is not a paper launch. We're really proud of our new processors and the work we and our partners have done to ensure they are available at launch, and look forward to your feedback on the products in the coming months.

Alistair Kemp, Intel UK PR Manager
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