Asus dances around the K7M controversy

Will they or won’t they? Asus has produced what reviewers are calling the best AMD Athlon motherboard around, but they sure aren’t very proud of that fact. Are they going to sell their product like it deserves? K7M info is hard to come by, with Asus keeping mum on its web site and otherwise about the board. Folks around the globe are seeing the board and even ads for it, from what I’ve heard, but availability in the U.S. is limited.

The problem, of course, is Intel putting pressure on its “partners” to avoid the Athlon. Now that AMD has the technology lead, Intel seems content to take the “abuse of monopoly power” approach. Word has it Intel has rattled its saber about BX chipset shortages and the like, at least implicitly threatening to cut back on supply to manufacturers who pursue Athlon mobo production. The tactic has been somewhat effective, so far, giving Intel time to bring its competing Coppermine chips and corresponding chipsets to market.

Kyle at the HardOCP set off a bit of a panic by posting mention of a rumor that Asus would be ceasing production of the K7M soon. The blokes at the Register have investigated further, and Asus is dancing around the issue a bit. Their position seems to be that they will make K7Ms for “OEM customers,” but apparently not for retail customers. Clear as mud?

The Register’s most interesting contribution was digging up this quotation:

A high-ranking Asus executive, who requested anonymity, said: “I have no comment about that [the K7M].”

He continued: “Nobody can talk about the K7. It’s a very sensitive topic, we don’t want any employee to release any K7-related information to anybody.”

Hmmm… What exactly is going on here? Let us know if you know anything. In the meantime, we’ll keep our eyes peeled.

Comments closed
    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[wyrmfoe@icdc.com with your comments. (but post em here, too.)

    PS – which would you rather see – An Athlon system 500->700 review/howto or a BP6 dual Celeron 366->550 one?

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@adsl-216-102-234-243.dsl.lsan03.pacbell.net<]* Fuck Asus. If they don\'t have the balls to release this thing, then I sure as hell won\'t support \'em. No friggin way. And I build a hell of a lot of computers every month. Who are they kidding? If they don\'t release it, then they are pansies. And pansies make pansy-ass mobos... and I ain\'t runnin\' no pansy mobo in MY rig. Nor will I sell a pansy computer to anyone, not even a pansy. Dig?

    • Demon-Xanth
    • 20 years ago

    In response to razer’s comment:

    That is a very important point, the “average” user has no clue why having a system that is 100% proprietary and onboard is NOT great. Asus’s market is largely dominated by people that do a little bit of research before buying a particulkar motherboard. I’ve found that the motherboard market has more brand loyalty than any other componant (once you eliminate everybody that doesn’t know what a motherboard is). If Asus does lose customers because of the Athlon setup to FIC, they may have a hard time getting them back.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[http://www.pricewatch.com/<]§ Search for \"K7M\" and it will pull up about half a dozen dealers selling just the board. There are quite a few more selling the K7M with an Athlon, some as low as $398 for the K7M with an Athlon 500.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@eastquad-169-155.reshall.umich.edu<]* does anyone know where i can get one of the Asus K7 mobos?

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@sdn-ar-001gasavaP205.dialsprint.net<]* What Intel is doing is clever, but hopefully doomed to fail. There\'s nothing on paper anywhere that will absolutely \"nail\" Intel, but there are certainly a lot of supporting public statements by Intel officials that can be fit into a definite pattern--all of the \"We\'d be crazy to ignore any competition from any company, no matter how small in comparison to us,\" as the \"reasoning\" behind all of their threatening and symbolic lawsuits. Intel knows they don\'t dare seek any production restraining orders against VIA or FIC--that\'s far too obvious a strategy. Instead, the lawsuits are meant to signal Intel\'s dislike for the relationships these companies have with AMD--look at the basis for the lawsuits--extremely general patents that could be invoked almost on anybody at any time. The suits themselves are nonsense, but they make a lot of sense in sending the message Intel wants to send to these companies, which is: \"We\'ve invested a lot of money and time on our plans, and we don\'t care too much for your plans because they interfere with ours.\" The bottom line is, though, that Intel needs these chip customers just as much as they \"need\" Intel. Some of these guys place orders for millions of chipsets--they could easily respond in kind and start cutting their orders. This is a risky game Intel is playing, which shows just how desperate they must be with the developing situation. I have a feeling though that most of these players will be very obsequious sounding in their response to Intel, while at the same time continue to do exactly what they want to do--which is to make K7 motherboards. Ironically, the attention Intel is applying to these matters might do more to persuade these motherboard makers to go ahead and make K7 motherboards than anything else! They are going to realize that if the K7 rattles Intel to such a degree that Intel itself feels the K7 is a definite threat that therefore the K7 is worth investing in from their point of view as it will likely be a very big seller. As the old saying goes, \"Actions speak louder than words.\" While Asus isn\'t saying much about the K7M products right now, Asus *is* making them and selling them nonetheless. I think that Asus has a measure of its worth to Intel as a customer, and therefore realizes that Intel can ill afford a bad relationship with Asus, no matter the reason. Last, a lot of these companies try and keep things very polite on the surface, while behind the scenes their plans go forward undiminished. At least this is my thought on the subject thus far. We are seeing more and more companies stepping forward (Tyan and Soyo come to mind) to announce K7 motherboards. I would only think that Intel\'s strategy was succeeding if we started seeing companies publicly announce the cancelling of previous K7 motherboard products. We haven\'t seen any of that yet, so I\'d guess that the reality is that Intel\'s posture won\'t have much of an effect, except to stir up negative feelings about the company here at home, and to, ironically, strengthen the faith of the motherboard makers in the commercial viability of the K7 itself. The motherboard makers aren\'t stupid, and they aren\'t anybody\'s door mats. I think it\'s just compared to our Western way of \"coming out with guns blazing\" their comments to date seem \"weak and willy nilly\"--when they are really nothing more than the traditional politeness these companies typically use when responding to disagreements.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[http://faceintel.com<]§ It seems intel treats them the same way it treats the rest of us. I just hope that via\'s new chipset actually kicks as much ass as it should. Their apollo pro chipset consistently gets it\'s ass kicked vs. the BX chipset in quake testing. It\'s not even their AGP since the same thing happens with PCI video cards. Something in their memory addressing, or their ide, or god knows what is inferior. hopefully whatever help AMD gave them with information from their irongate chipset will help them to overcome that problem with respect to the athlon. With pc266 DDR memory on 1ghz Athlons, AMD could rule 2000.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@dyn-us8b-166.spiritone.com<]* I work for Intel, we are working day and night, 24 hours a day 7 days a week to meet demand for motherboard chipsets and CPU\'s. People ridicule the \"shortage\" of BX chipsets, but when a manufacturer asks for, say, 4,500,000 chips six months ago and then increase it to, say, 7,750,000 and then multiply that times other board makers you then have a \"shortage.\" Were Intel to threaten any mobo makers supply the FTC/DOJ would be all over us like a fly on a trash truck. Anyone who thinks Celerons at sold at a loss is crazy! How on earth could we make a dime giving away Celeron chips? AMD may have to sell their chips under cost to unload them, intel does not. How many chips will AMD sell this year? How many chips will Intel sell this week?

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[

    • Demon-Xanth
    • 20 years ago

    Essentially what it boils down to is that AMD and Via decided that to dethrone intel they need to take a proactive stance to getting good engineers while Intel has taken the “It is an honor to work with us” approach to getting employees. At the same time Intel’s approach to engineering has been “You have 18 months to double our speed or your fired” while AMD took a “Here’s the tools we have, build the best CPU that you can” Which is another reason why a good engineer would perfer to go to AMD in some cases than Intel.

    Now I’m not saying that Intel’s engineers are lazy, it’s just that Intel as a whole needs to have an attitude change. They are currently realizing that they have gotten lazy and trying to use thier marketing department and legal department to hold off AMD and Via.

    When Motherboard manufacturers such as Asus decide to quit putting up with Intel and shoot for an AMD+Via setup (a la FIC) then they will force Intel into an “evolve or die” situation.

    Intel’s decision to abondon the slot type CPU arrangement that they proclaimed was far superior a few years ago and got with a socket type so close to the release of the Athlon makes me think that they are also trying to limit the amount of physical connectors that are being produced.

    The time to have a revolution is either now or never. Time to pick your platform. Asus, this means you.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@dm2c81.bell.ca<]* Are you kidding? The US Government will not get involved as long as Intel puts the pressure on an non-US *cough Taiwan cough* company. If Intel tried anything that would hurt the US economy they would be down on them like flies on a dung heap. You want evidence, Intel is nice and friendly with VIA until Intel messes up (Camino) and then decides to sue VIA and other Taiwanese manufactures for patent violations. If it goes to court in the US, guess who\'s going to win? In the end, if the manufacturer is not US, then Intel can do what it wants and the government will do nothing about it.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[bandit@dixie-net.com<]* I just despise Intel,, more and more everyday I get tiked off at them becuase of there childesh behavor... I would like to lite up a big o\' bag of poop on ther CEOs doorstep.... Bandit::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

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    • Spawn
    • 20 years ago

    Maybe Intel wants to be sliced and diced up just like MS!! 🙂

    Spawn

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@61.8.8.113<]* On the surface, it\'s fairly obvious. Intel is threatening to restrict supply of it\'s Intel chipsets to Asus if they market any solution based on the Athlon. Because AMD have scared the crap out of Intel. Intel\'s strategy has been to undercut AMD as much as possible by selling Celerons below cost, to try and force AMD out of the marketplace, and remove the only current manufacturer who can genuinely compete with Intel. Now that AMD have a solution that significantly outperforms Intel\'s flagship in all areas, Intel can no longer perpetually undercut them, because then they will lose their own margins. Hence, Intel uses rather unprofessional methods (like meaningless brand advertising, and bullying it\'s own partners) to give AMD as little chance as possible to allow the Athlon to compete on fair footing with the Pentium 3.

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