AMD looks to aid small system builders with new Power Packs

AMD_PowerPack_Athlon_PIB_right 660

One of the new AMD Power Packs

By Mark Cox

AMD is launching a new program aimed at its Select Tier partners, the bottom rung of their new partner program introduced earlier this year. It will make available two different AMD Power Packs, retail boxes of 6 processors and 6 fans at a 6 per cent discount.

“In March we launched our new partner program with the aim of broadening partner reach and providing more growth opportunities for partners, and one of its key cornerstones is Design, enabling our system builder partners,” said Amy McFarland, Worldwide Head, AMD Partner Program..

The Power Packs come in attractive retail boxes for store display, although AMD is stressing that this isn’t just a packaging change, but a strategic move.

“This tries to provide a multi-processor package which could exist on shelf in these shops where components are sold,” said Matt Davis, Product Marketing Manager, AMD. “We have had boxes but only for single units. We have not had retail packs for a multi-processor pack.” Davis said the boxes are attractive, designed to be engaged with physically, and to take up good real estate in small system builder and retail stores

“These small shops don’t have large enough accounts where they get the multipack options available to the larger OEMs,” Davis added. “So this is definitely something for the small guys, who traditionally buy PiBs [Processor in box] from local etailers or retailers 1,2, 3 and 4 at a time. And we are taking 6 per cent off our price going into market.”

A six per cent discount isn’t huge, but it is more significant in a market where margins are already so razor thin that many small system builders have exited the space because they can’t make money.

“This also provides a valuable new financial benefit to our Select tier, which typically does not receive monetary benefits through our program.” McFarland said. It is not on the radar for big box stores.

The two Power Packs initially available are the A8-6600K and the Athlon 760k.

“These are two of our highest volume runners,” Davis said. Neither however, is a brand new processor. Nor is either the kind of chip that would go into a gamer rig, which indicates the market AMD sees for these bundles.

“These are more for the value-conscious consumer, “Davis said. “However, if this is successful, which we really hope and intend it to be, we will have additional packages, with newer versions of our processors.” He indicated he would be delighted if a year from now they have half a dozen processors in the Power Packs.

AMD has over 35,000 in its Select Tier globally, but, and it’s a big but, only 4000-5000 of them are in North America.

“Our projections for this are fairly modest in our more developed markets,” Davis said. He said it will be stronger in developing markets. In Africa for example, both SMB and gamer buyers identify with their local economy and do much of their buying from local mom and pops. Latin America, he added, was another region where the mom and pops are stronger than large retailers.

Still, while on a macro-level for AMD, the program’s success will be measured largely by how well it does outside North America, small system builders in North America will likely be grateful for whatever break they can get.

“This market hasn’t been involved much because it is difficult,” Davis said. “It’s like a school of fish. It’s a large market which has not been involved in depth.”

Because no one else – most specifically Intel – has been doing anything similar to go after this market, Davis thinks this program will get Intel’s attention.

“These two products are pain points for Intel,” he said. “Intel is more controlled than we are, and want to charge a premium for features. These deliver better features than their Intel equivalents. They have more cores — four, while Intel is dual in this range [albeit four-threaded]. They are also faster, and are in unlocked processors.”

Shipment of the AMD Power Packs to distributors has begun, and will be able to solution providers by late August or early September.

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