Even though the flow of B3 chipsets is well and truly under way, the channel is creaking terribly under the strain of trying to service customers. Nope, not end-users and enthusiasts. The customers who are suffering are the channel customers. The system builders. KitGuru dusts off the magnifying glass to investigate.
Even though, scientifically, only a handful of customers will ever suffer a real problem, Intel decided that it was good corporate responsibility to recall all of its Sandy Bridge chipsets.
The call went out. Customers put their system orders on pause and everyone with a system in hand wondered if they should go through the effort of swapping out the mainboard.
While a lot of people decided a pair of 6Gbps SATA 2 ports was plenty and that it was not worthwhile to back-up everything while disassembling their PC and waiting a while for a replacement to arrive – a lot of people thought ‘better safe than sorry’ and decided to exercise their consumer rights for a replacement .
With the announcement that the B3 chipsets were available in the market, customers placed their pent up orders and the channel went into supply meltdown. How so? Well, the natural place for the new chipsets to go was to the ‘replacement programme’ – for customers who had already paid and played.
Right now, the channel is choking under the effort of replacing the original chipsets with B3 variants.
Distributors like Ingram Micro are having to tell channel customers to be patient a while longer, as the end of the constriction in supply should end before Computex.
If you’re looking for the odd board, you should be OK. However, system builders that need to buy in larger volume will struggle for a while.
KitGuru says: It makes sense to sort existing customers first, but that does put a financial strain on a group of companies that has already been hit by a stutter in sales due to Sandy Bridge. If the UK channel was a puppy, it would be making the big eyes towards AMD right now, for Bulldozer to be a viable alternative product for the high end.
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