Computex Anxiety: Taipei Retailers Jump Ahead On Athlon 64

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Computex Anxiety: Taipei Retailers Jump Ahead On Athlon 64

Computex starts this Monday and the THG team has either already arrived or is enroute to Taipei. As if you didn’t know, the SARS epidemic in Asia had caused the organizers to postpone Computex from June of this year to this coming week. And yes, we are looking forward to covering all the action at this year’s Computex; there seems to be a lot of pent-up marketing frustration waiting to be released so, we expect to have plenty of news for you in our week-long coverage.

But a trip to Taipei would not be complete without a trip to the world famous “Taipei Computer Market?” After all, what techie could pass up a chance like this to drown in real life technology nirvana?

The Taipei Computer Marketplace is difficult to describe with the limited vocabulary of the English language. There is so much to see that it is nearly visual and sensory overload: shop after retail shop, selling everything that you could possibility need to build a computer, and even better yet, most of these retailers will build the system of your dreams with your purchased components while you wait. To say that I felt like a kid in a candy store is a huge understatement!

As luck would have it, my visit to the Marketplace was not only fascinating, but timely, as well: it appears that retailers in Taipei already have the jump on the AMD Athlon 64, as they currently are featuring Athlon 64 motherboards on the shelf for purchase. What was even a bigger surprise is that we found not only one, but two, different motherboards that were available for purchase! As you can see, we were able to snap a couple of photos of both the Asus and MSI boards prior to launch.

Even more interesting is the fact that the MSI board comes standard with an Athlon 64 CPU and heatsink bundled with the board; this confirms the speculation that at least some of the motherboard vendors may be concerned about AMD’s ability to deliver enough Athlon 64 CPUs for their motherboards. They can’t sell motherboards if they don’t have CPUs for them.

In a discussion I had with some Taipei retailers in the Marketplace, it appeared to me that these retailers seem cautious, yet excited about the launch of the Athlon 64. While retailers here admit that the numbers of inquiries about Athlon 64 have been less than they hoped, they still believe that the Athlon 64 should generate sufficient excitement to get people into the shopping mood and into the stores, even before the holiday buying season begins. At the current time, the initial cost for the Athlon 64 may keep some buyers in the “just looking, thank you,” mindset, since purchasers can expect to pay premium retail price at the onset of this product launch. But if you want to be one of the first to have the Athlon 64 at launch you can ride that wave; it will just cost you a little more.

While it is not a huge surprise that these boards were already released for retail sale (as they have been ready for release for some time, according to various sources), it was surprising to see these boards being so widely displayed and available for retail purchase prior to AMD’s public launch of the Athlon 64. At least at their Computex launch AMD will indeed be able to say that their product is available for immediate purchase from local retailers. This indicates that retailers in the Taipei Computer Market are always ahead of the curve when it comes to being the first retailers to offer new technology products for sale.

We have lots of exciting coverage planned from Computex, and you can expect to see more during the next several days, LIVE from Taipei. In the meantime, we’re going to keep browsing the Taipei markets and seeing what else the future has in store for us.