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Why are CPU prices so tightly controlled and why do they vanish from the market and are never reduced?

post #1 of 3
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Unlike most other hardware that goes on deep discount at one point or another, to clear inventory, CPUs almost never go on sale, in fact they simply "vanish" from the market, maybe hundreds of thousands of CPUs are removed from inventory and never go on clearance. Even video cards go on big discounts when they become obsolete.

Is the simple fact that CPUs improve so gradually that a cpu from 2-3 years ago is still so viable that the market would become too saturated with CPUs and no one would purchase new ones? Or the fact that it is hard to design a CPU with planned obsolescence in mind?

Consider that video cards have something called "directX" which is actually a form of programmed obsolescent into the card, and that games are more GPU based nowadays than CPU based, an older CPU can still run games almost just as good. With game makers releasing games with newer versions of directX when it comes out, video cards have a certain life expectancy. Add to the fact that AMD can simply make any videocard "legacy" at a whim and thus end support for the card, forcing users to upgrade.

Short of putting a self-destruct code in the CPU, there is no way to actually make a CPU obsolete, besides consorting with motherboard manufactures to release new sockets too often that make upgrading impossible and offer almost no real improvement, giving the illusion that an older socketed CPU is obsolete, but in reality it is still relevant for many years afterwords. sure, you have newer instruction sets but most of them are irrelevant.until years after, when software makers decide to use them.
Edited by aweir - 3/10/14 at 10:26pm
post #2 of 3
Not sure of AMD, but Intel informs all of their distributors & resellers (tier1 to teir3) about its future road map and availability of its new CPUs/Socket.

Once in the loop, the push for new CPUs to be honest is done by those resellers.
"When are the new CPUs coming out" is the most common question they ask.

I think only the distributer has a huge stock of CPUs and can't sell directly to consumers.
Pretty sure there is a deal with Intel or Tier1 Distributer on returning them in exchange for the new models.

Resellers don't usually stockpile CPUs. At most, one reseller could have maybe less than a 100 CPUs in storage.

Big shops that sell other merchandise besides PC hardware have the toughest time and they do offer discounts on old CPUs/Mobo combos.
Look at MicroCenter.
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TheSadFlute
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post #3 of 3
Everything is a business and with any business, old stock would most likely interfere with the sales of a new product. My guess is that older chips are sent back to the manufacturer or a 3rd party (which could be turned into pre-built desktops). Like any new "toy", most people could live with what they already have, but obtaining something new and shiny would trigger a sense of excitement and happiness from consumers.

Most large retailers typically only have 50~100 CPUs (of the same model) in stock. The only time I see them on sale are when they are about to be replaced by a new line (like Sandy and Ivy Bridge in Frys).

GPUs aren't exactly made obsolete by DirectX, but rather the performance demand of games just continue to rise (some DX9 games can still bring down top-tier cards). Most people do not even fully utilize their CPU, so it makes sense that they would feel a lack of motivation to upgrade their CPU.
    
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