Intel next month will launch a Web site within its reseller portal to provide partners with third-party information about emerging technologies.

The chipmaker is internally calling the site the Channel Alliance Center, but the final

name has not been determined. The topics discussed will not necessarily be Intel technologies but areas that offer opportunities to the channel. It will include technical papers that explain the technologies and why resellers should be working with it, along with vendor information about products on the market that incorporate it on the Intel platform. The first technology discussed in the centre will be universal serial bus (USB) 2.0. The site will be available to all of Intel’s 22,000 worldwide system builder program members and will be accessed through Intel.com/resellers.

Frank Raimondi, strategic channel alliances manager for Intel Americas Inc., was in Toronto Tuesday to speak at an industry conference. He said the Channel Alliance Center was part of an Intel strategy to eliminate roadblocks to sales opportunities between resellers and their customers.

“”When the 2.2 GHz (Pentium 4) was launched, there were new platforms coming out and boards, chipsets, et cetera,”” he said. “”That required new memory technologies, or a new focus on memory, or maybe a new type of disk drive . . . an underlying goal in what I’m doing is to make sure that folks are there with their products when they need to be to drive their sales.””

Last week Intel celebrated an industry milestone when it shipped its 100 millionth boxed microprocessor through its reseller channel. The company introduced boxed processors about seven years ago to allow system builders to build white box PCs with is products. Part of Raimondi’s job is to bring vendors and distributors together to help educate the channel on new business opportunities. The launch of the Pentium 4 last year, for example, was designed to help users boost performance in digital video applications, among other areas.

“”It starts in the consumer market, but it doesn’t take long for businesses to start seeing that requirement as well,”” he said, admitting that this contributed to lack of available product at Intel in the fourth quarter. “”We were hitting our forecasts, but the problem is that the demand was outstripping what we had planned to supply, on the P4s in particular.””

Intel plans to offer more validation and testing of products so that each reseller doesn’t have to do their own, Raimondi said, acknowledging the disputes that have arisen within the industry about the viability of industry standard benchmarks on competing processors.

“”There’s been a lot of confusion added to the marketplace about whether you should benchmark megahertz,”” he said. “”There is a pure raw performance of a CPU, but that’s not all that matters. If you want to compare, you have to compare apples to apples: a full system with full usage of today’s applications.””

Intel will also be hosting its annual Channel Conference next month, which is a travelling road show that makes stop in several North American cities. In Canada, the Channel Conference will have two dates in Toronto as well as one in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.

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