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Intel shortage of PII/266 heralds victory for Celeron family

Customers screaming for parts

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Intel has said that delays to the lower end members of its Pentium II family have arisen because of a deliberate shift to ramp up its Celeron, low end products. Sources close to Intel have now said that price changes slated for August 24th will now be delayed until 14 September. An Intel representative confirmed today that there was a shortage of PII/266 and PII/300 products but the reasons for the shortfall varied with the processors. He said that PII/266MHz parts used a .35 micron process which will not change, but that Intel was manufacturing a PII/300 using the .25 micron, although he would not be drawn on a date for when that processor will arrive. The 266MHz parts, he acknowledged, would eventually be phased out, with Intel ramping its family of Celeron processors to replace that processor. Next week, Intel will release high end Celeron processors using the Mendocino core. But Intel denied that there was any deliberate attempt to restrict supplies of the Pentium II/266MHz to give a boost to members of the Celeron family. “This is not a deliberate strategy,” he said. “Celeron will ramp to replace demand for the lower end members of the Pentium II family. This is how we see the market moving.” At the same time, Intel revealed that there is also a shortage of MMX parts, caused by problems with its packaging supplier. Although Intel has officially said that there will be no fresh wafer starts for the Pentium MMX processors, the representative said: “There’s an issue with the packaging supplier. We have plenty of wafers in stock.” Prices for PII/266s have risen on the spot market over the last week but the representative said that was due to demand in the market. Intel was maintaining the same OEM and distributor prices. Mark Davison, processor product manager at distributor Datrontech, confirmed there were serious delays at present. “Customers are screaming frantically for products. It’s been going on for a couple of weeks now. We have a demand ten times bigger than our supply. It’s hard to keep customers even moderately happy.” He said the demand was probably caused by colleges and universities spending money on lower end processors in the build up to the start of their Autumn terms. But the introduction of future processors by Intel, he thought, would automatically solve the demand problem.

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