Your next motherboard purchase may be cheaper than you anticipated
The motherboard market has already whittled itself down to just a handful of key players (remember when DFI was an enthusaist brand?). That's made the landscape hyper-competitive, and with new chipsets and processors prompting upgrades and new builds, motheboard makers are reportedly reducing prices. There's speculation that this might be just the beginning of what ends up being a price war.
While Amazon and Barnes & Noble go for each other's jugular by releasing new and lower priced eBook readers, Sony says it's content to sit on the sidelines rather try to chase the lowest price eReader crown.
"Pricing is one consideration in the dedicated reading device marketplace, but Sony won't sacrifice the quality and design we're bringing book lovers to lay claim to the cheapest eReader," said Phil Lubell, Sony's vice president of digital reading. "Our global customers expect to get the best digital book reading experience and we’re concentrated on delivering that by investing in Sony’s award-winning design and original digital reading enhancements, such as eBook library borrowing and the only full touch-screen on the market."
Sony's comments are interesting because they seem to insinuate that the competition is cutting corners in order to lower hardware prices. That might be true with both Amazon and B&N now offering 3G-less Wi-Fi only models, but even their original eReaders recently came down in price.
What do you think is a fair price for a general purpose eBook reader?
DIY builders have it good these days, especially gamers. Never before has the return on your gaming dollar been so high, where budget and mid-range videocards come capable of cranking out respectable framerates without dropping the visual quality settings down to a blocky mess. Could things get even better?
It's too early to tell, but citing un-named sources from graphics cards players, Digitimes says AMD's profits from its GPU segment is set to drop in the third quarter as Nvidia cranks up the competition.
In addition to its high-end Fermi parts, Nvidia recently launched its GeForce GTX 460 videocard, a $200 GPU we described as "a relatively affordable videocard that delivers great performance with a 1080p display" in our recent preview (see here). And Nvidia isn't finished putting on the competitive pressure. The graphics chip maker is readying its GeForce GTS 455 and 450 GPUs for an August launch, followed by an entry-level GF100 GPU in September.
Meanwhile, AMD is also prepping more DX11 parts, but doesn't have any plans to launch new cards in the third quarter. While it's all speculation at this point, we wouldn't be surprised if price cuts were forthcoming, hence why Digitimes' sources feel AMD's 3Q GPU profits are about to take a downward slide.
If you're in the market for an ebook reader, you picked a good time to go shopping. Both Barnes and Noble's Nook and Amazon's Kindle recently received significant price reductions, and it had nothing to do with either company feeling particularly generous. Instead, iSuppli says the price cuts represent a change in business strategy brought on by increased competitive pressure from Apple's iPad.
"With these cuts, ebook readers from Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon now are priced at about the break-even level with their bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing costs, according to iSuppli's Teardown Analysis Service," said William Kidd, director and principal analyst, financial services for iSuppli. "With zero profits on their hardware, both these companies now hope to make their money in this market through the sale of ebooks. This is the same 'razor/razor blade' business model successfully employed in the video game console business, where the hardware is sold at a loss and profits are made on sales of content."
Barnes and Noble kicked things off on Monday when it slashed the price of its Nook by $60 and introduced an even cheaper Wi-Fi only model, and then hours later, Amazon followed suit with a $60 price cut of its own for the Kindle.
What this means in the grand scheme of things remains to be seen. According to iSuppli analyst Jordan Selburn, ebook reader sales are likely to spike in the short term, as they now cost less than half of an entry-level iPad. But looking longer term, Selburn sees ebook readers becoming more of a niche product.
In the market for a new TV? If so, you may want to consider sitting tight to see how the market shakes out in the next month or so. Citing un-named market sources, DigiTimes says LCD TV vendors in China are planning to aggressively slash prices in order to boost demand in the second half of 2010.
It's not entirely clear if this pricing strategy will spill over into the United States, but in China, some vendors have already begun dropping price tags to new lows. Both Sharp and Samsung, for example, reduced their LCD TV prices by 15-20 percent during the Labor Day holiday in May, prompting local competitors to follow suit with 20 percent price cuts of their own.
There is more than one reason why this is happening. With the proliferation of LED-backlit LCD TVs, consumers aren't willing to pay as much for CCFL models. TV makers noted worse-than-expected sales in the first half of 2010, and the only way to reach their shipment goals for the year is to come down in price. And while it wasn't mentioned, one has to believe that the push for 3D models is also playing a part in non-3D TV sets holding less value (and interest) than before.
We've been talking a lot about Acer lately, and that's because Acer has been doing a lot of talking of its own. The OEM's been pounding its chest like Kevin Garnett after an 'and-one' and talking smack to Dell, HP, and anyone else who stands in its way. And now the OEM is saying it's fully prepared to take on HP in a bit of a pricing war, which comes just a day after Acer said it feels confident it will ship 40 million notebooks in 2010.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, HP has already kicked off some pretty fierce price competition in a few designated markets, which includes sub-$300 models in the U.S. Acer's ever talkative chairman JT Wang said his company will not only follow suit, but plans to one-up HP by aggressively marketing its netbook and ultra-thin segments, both of which are areas HP is a little weaker in.
Beyond 2010, Wang said the global netbook market is on track to reach 350 million units, and we're a bit surprised Acer didn't say it plans to capture 349 million of them.
Thanks to fierce competition between two GPU juggernauts and a worldwide economic recession, never has there been a better time for gamers to trade in their scratch for the latest videocard technology from either AMD/ATI or Nvidia. The price to performance ratio is at an all time high, but before we get too spoiled on falling prices for increasingly powerful GPUs, AMD has made it clear that it has no intention of duking it out with Nvidia in a price slashing war.
"Are we interested in winning share by losing money on every GPU we ship? No," said Rick Bergman, AMD's senior vice president. "We're not going to engage in that and we haven't had to."
Bergman's comments came in response to questions about what the chip maker was doing to compete with Nvidia at the low end. But according to Bergman, AMD has been able to entice OEMs with better stability and performance per dollar versus Nvidia's aggressive pricing strategy.
"If you go and look at Dell, HP, or Acer's website, you'll actually see a lot of ATI graphics at the entry level," Bergman added.
Bergman also played off any concerns AMD might have with Intel's upcoming Larrabee, while also adding that in a year from now, AMD will "have something new and exciting," but did not elaborate on what that might be.