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October 1996

WHAT’S NEW

This page displays an up-to-date listing of changes in the industry, at ESC, and to our sites. We’ll place notices here regarding new product releases, product updates, schedule changes, or problems and work-arounds that may affect all customers. When problems reported by our customers get fixed, we’ll place a notice here.

Monday October 28, 1996

  • Pentium Pro 200 Mhz and Pentium Pro 180’s arrive.

Friday October 25, 1996

  • ESC representatives met with Microsoft. Microsoft re-confirmed what Intel said that the USB driver will be for the exisiting camera only.

Thursday October 24, 1996

  • Pentium Pro 180’s availability is tightening, and price is starting to increase. (4pm PST). If you’re a reseller, this is a product you’d better watch closely in the next few days. We expect all CPUs to dry up.
  • ASUS XP55T2P4 rev 1.4 delayed. ASUS says that the revision is only going to address difficulties with a particular power supply (not one that ESC carries). They are no longer estimating time of release. ASUS says their policy remains that they "support, but do not guarantee" use with respect to the IBM/Cyrix 6×86 processors. The current shipping revision 1.3C works with the P166+ rev 2.7 or more recent.
  • Layne is working on the on-line ordering form. The format is there, but not all the products are listed.
  • The ESC technical discussion group is thriving. Keep asking and answering questions!

Wednesday October 23, 1996

  • Availability of the Intel 133 and the 166 is extrememly tight.
  • Intel told an ESC representative that they are going to honor their CPU price drop date of November 1, despite availability problems.

Monday October 22, 1996

  • IBM and Cyrix CPU’s on allocation. Few are available.
  • ESC adds AT form factor cases as per your request.

Thursday October 17, 1996

  • We’re still working on the web sites. Please, let us know what you’d like to see on the sites. We added the ASUS TVP4 to the specification sheets, as you requested.
  • ASUS P/I – XP55T2P4 rev 1.4 still not released from ASUS.

    We were notified this morning that ASUS has not shipped the rev 1.4 of the XP55T2P4 yet. We were told we would receive them late next week. We apologise for any inconvience to those who are waiting.
  • Most frequent topic of the day: USB support

    The HX, VX, and Natoma chipset boards are all in the lineage of USB. However, this does not mean that the USB is enabled in these boards. USB is an emerging technology and as with any developing idea, it’s difficult to know what the end product is going to be until we actually have it in our hands. There may be further revisions to chipsets and headers while the drivers and supporting devices are being developed.

    Some boards are shipping with USB headers. We will not know if these headers will function properly until the final product is available. Other boards are marketed by manufacturers as USB supported because they have the SU093 spec on part of the B0 chipset. Intel says that these boards support the current projections for USB. An aftermarket add on card are expected to enable USB on these boards.

  • For Your Information: Between 9 and 11pm there were over 6,000 unique hosts on our einsteinscomputer.com site. (65,000 requests on our text only file!) 70.5 % of the people were using Netscape; 26.6 % Microsoft Explorer; 1.5 % Lynx; 1 % IBM; and the remaining were Netsurfer, OmniWeb, Slurp, Mosaic, and GNN. Interestingly, 62.6% were using NT (10.3%), Win 95 (40%) or Windows (12.3%), while the remaining 37.4% were using Linux, AIX, SunOS, OS/2, and System 7.

Wednesday October 16, 1996

  • Both web sites are no longer mirrored. www-esc-ca.com is now designed with the support site. http://web.archive.org/web/19961104072901/http://www.einsteinscomputer.com/ will house the marketing materials, specification sheets, and pricing. It will house the on line ordering when we have determined the best encryption for the site.

    If you were caught during the changes we were making, you may have ended up in a loop between the two sites. We apologize for the inconvenience. We started Tuesday evening on the upload and by Wednesday morning we had to change the sites due to incompatibilities between the operating system and Frontpage. We will be adding and deleting pages for a couple of more days. Any bookmarks should be updated and re-verified after Saturday October 26,1996.

  • Discussion area, suggestions and feedback forms were corrected.

Inside Intel Update – October 16, 1996

Boxed Intel Pentium Classic 166MHz CPUs are soon to be part of the Intel Black hole. In fact watch for continued shortages on all Boxed CPUs. The Pentium Classic 133MHz is first in line to enter the Intel Black hole.

Which reminds me of a joke the dealers played on Intel at yesterday’s dealer meeting.

Intel asked this question:

What are you NOT going to do after leaving the meeting. Almost half the dealer’s replied Answer C. That answer stated "go out and upgrade workstations to the Pentium 133". Cute. I don’t think Intel was looking for that answer.

Tuesday October 15, 1996

  • Met with Intel. Received updates on benchmarks, MMXTM, and Providence motherboards. We also did our best to pull information from them about the Klamath. Because of non-disclosure agreements we were very cautious. We can confirm that the L2 cache will not be on the CPU package (therefore no socket 8) and a special "daughter" card will be used. They are also struggling with the amounts of cache and the upgradability.

Inside Intel Update – October 15, 1996

Lora and I went to an Intel satellite training program. During the program dealers were asked to fax in questions. Right on cue, one of the dealers sent in the question on everyones’ mind : "Where are all the Pentium Pros?" The Intel Representative read the question and without batting an eye said "The Pentium Pro 200s are available" … The Sacramento theater of dealers reacted emotionally with a loud boo. Within two minutes of that statement a different Intel Representative said "We seem to be receiving faxes about the availability of Pentium Pro 200s. It is a question we get asked a lot. We suggest that you consider the Pentium Pro 180s". What a laugh.

It does get better though. The Pentium Classic 200 MHz is suppose to be introduced in the Boxed Program on November 1, 1996.

On our exit, we talked with a very nice gentleman within the program. I said directly to him: "Don’t lie." and he said "Ok" and he threw up his hands and replied "There aren’t any!" Actually at that point another Intel representative said "What do you mean there aren’t any?" Soon there were several Intel Reps around. These guys are engineers, they aren’t the sales people. And they didn’t know there was an availability problem ! Apparently the joke at Intel is "If you want to know what’s going on at Intel, read PC Magazine." Now we know that isn’t exactly true, but hey it’s a funny joke.

Ok… so for clarification on "There aren’t any!" Let’s continue. According to a different representative – Intel has approximately 50,000 units per month requested. The demand increased to 75,000 units. From the time Intel has to fill the channel that back order status takes them approximately 12 weeks. Therefore if they are just discovering there is a problem, oops (ie. the Corporate Commit Program kicks in and tada .. all the dealers in the retail channel are on the B list – or is that F list , where F stands for Fat Chance. I can’t use John Dvorak’s B-list joke of B list means "Back of the line Buddy" Oops… I just did).

Now are there problems with the Pentium Pro? Yes. Of course. These errata though are publicly known and statistically insignificant. Therefore that isn’t the reason for the problems on availability. In fact, Intel has a BIOS update utility which loads a 2K "patch" on the pentium pros. So if you do discover a problem, you can get this patch. No big deal. Certainly not enough to pull the plug on the project.

Lora and I continued to talked to several of the Intel engineers that work for the Intel Processor Dealer program. These guys were honest and straight forward. Considering they are under intense pressure from Intel to word things carefully (ie. wordcraft), and considering the Intel Non-Disclosure Agreements, these guys did a marvelous job. Two of the gentlemen who were very knowledgable about the Klamath, MMXTM, and the difficulties with shrinking CPUs were direct about heating issues and the amount of current required. Absolutely no specifics entered into the discussion. We did ask, though, about how the daughter card was going to work with the Klamath CPU, the amount of cache on the daughter card, and the upgradability of units (ie 256K version versus a 512K version or greater .. because don’t forget that a 1 Mb Cache can fill up quickly under NT 4.0). The use of a CELP design is definitely out. There will be no "sockets". And by the way if you didn’t have it figured out, no socket 8 for the Klamath either. That’s about all that can be said with certainty.

Monday, October 14th

  • This customer support web site was created.
  • Lora is back from Vacation
  • E-mail was corrected. We are answering the newest messages first. We will be answering the old messages throughout the week. Hopefully no one will be forgotten. We know we lost 85 messages from the hard drive crash.

Tuesday October 8, 1996

The web site www.esc-ca.com was down for 9 hours from just prior to midnight until 9 am PST.

Continued Pentium Pro nightmare! We certainly appreciate everyone who has maintained a great attitude about a terrible situation. If you’d like more information, please visit our story titled Inside Intel.

Inside Intel Update – October 8,1996

Intel is still not shipping Pentium Pro 200 MHz CPUs to the retail channel.

Despite countless attempts we are not receiving product. Everyone is asking that we supply them with a time frame. Unfortunately this is not possible. Every date we have been given for a time-frame has come and gone.

Consumer frustration is directed toward the resellers and not Intel. This is an interesting twist. One of our customers cancelled his order placed at $650 so that he could buy it elsewhere at $790. He then wanted us to pay the difference. He said he couldn’t wait and we said we were not interested in overpaying for a product. We accepted the cancellation but we do not understand why he chose to allow Intel to spend his money. Intel is definitely withholding product in order to drive the market. It is your choice as to how you react. In our opinioin staying calm and level headed is the best strategy.

Distributor frustration has continued to build. According to one supplier, 2000 orders (some with several hundred units of CPUs on one order) were in line. The supplier was only given 40 units for the month of September. That hardly satisfies anyone.

Some distributors are starting to bundle the Tray CPUs ( aka brokered) and the Intel motherboards. They have increased the bundled price beyond reason.

Intel is suggesting that resellers start to market Pentium Pro 180s to the end users. Considering that the demand is for the Pentium Pro 200, this should be a neat trick.

So here is our attempt (smile).

  1. The performance difference between the 180 and 200 is approximately 10 percent.
  2. There is about a 20 percent increase in performance between the Pentium Classic 200 and the Pentium Pro 180. Therefore, the price/performance ratio favors the Pentium Pro 180.
  3. To add to the incentive, a price drop is expected. Look for about a $50 decrease sometime this week.
  4. One more added benefit is that they have plenty of stock (for now).

Please take a "convincing" look at this table supplied by Intel (for more information please see Intel’s web site):

Processor *Price SPECint95 BAPCo’s SYSmark NT
Pentium Classic 166 $392 4.5 380
Pentium Classic 200 $610 5 420
Pentium Pro 180 $510 7 600
Pentium Pro 200 Highest Bidder 8 650

*Price is for the Intel Brokered processors from October 8, 1996. Price does not include the fan.

If that didn’t convince you, try this one: You can purchase a Pentium Pro 180 plus an ASUS motherboard for approximately the same price as buying just the Pentium Pro 200 MHz CPU.

Conclusion

  1. You can get much more power by purchasing the Pentium Pro 180 and motherboard than the Pentium Classic and matching motherboard (duh).
  2. You can get approximately the same power from a Pentium Pro 180 system relative to the Pentium Pro 200 and spend less money.

Monday October 7, 1996

Lora called in to say that she doesn’t miss all the phones ringing. Hey now!

Greater price fluctuations for memory. Some suppliers are still trying to hold prices higher than others. We’ve tried to hold prices on EDO memory through our purchasing power.

Configuration of more workstations to attach to the new Notes database. Changed several machines to Windows 95 and 32-bit Netware client software .

Correction of some of the links and images on the web site. Removed several "dead" files that were no longer useful. Started to build the technical bulletin files.

Saturday and Sunday October 5-6, 1996

Two Microsoft NT 3.51 servers were added to the intranet. One houses the Lotus Notes database to help track product literature and technical issues. The second is an extension of the web site.

Lotus Notes Server Configuration (notes12.esc-ca.com)

Intel TC430HX Motherboard

Intel Pentium Classic 150 MHz

128 Mb True Parity Dynamic RAM

1.6 Gb Hard Drive

PCI video card

4x CD-ROM

Web Server 01 Configuration (www.esc-ca.com)

ASUS P/I-P55T2P4 Motherboard

Intel Pentium Classic 166 MHz

64 Mb Non-parity Dynamic RAM

1.6 Gb Hard Drive

PCI video card

4x CD-ROM

IP addresses assigned and changed for 20 different computers. This should help our sales team bring up the internet web site while talking to you on the telephone.

Friday October 4, 1996

Microsoft FrontPage editor

Since I had to start from "scratch" on the web site (due to the crash) I changed the editor to frontpage, added the new logo and fixed most of the pricing to be what we were really selling things for ! Good thing most of our site was backed up. Email is still not functioning properly.

Thursday October 3, 1996

Lora goes on vacation

And if that isn’t bad enough, one hour after she is gone the WD 1.6 Gb drive that holds the email decides to leave on vacation too. All messages from Sept 23 forward were lost.

Monday October 1, 1996

ASUS P55T2P4 Rev 3.0 arrive

That says it all!

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