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Are you a system builder? Are you clappy-happy with your supplies of Intel Pentium processors in different flavours? UK firm SMC's direct pages illustrate, rather neatly, how the famine is effecting the marketplace. While the channel may have difficulty getting stock, on the other hand, as several tier two OEMs told us at CeBIT last week, they have never had any problem getting hold of Intel processors, because they're part of the Chip Direct programme. A quick click of the button to this SMC Intel page, reveals that it is hoping to get supplies of all sorts of INTC chips come the 17th of March. But the numbers are far from huge and there are "temporary shortage" figures all over the place. Go, on the other hand, to the equivalent AMD page,and you'll see their supplies are reasonably good, although the 850MHz has yet to appear at all. The 600MHz Athlon, of course, will disappear real soon now. So what does this tell us? First of all, it seems to imply that the channel is no longer as important to Intel as it was, secondly that the channel is far more important to AMD and thirdly, and it's a possibly thirdly, that Intel wished it didn't have a channel at all. After all, dealers and distributors are pretty leaky, aren't they? Meanwhile, the price of SDRAM is beginning to edge up again, suggesting that the famine of CPUs, as Intel insisted at its Forum two weeks ago, is beginning to end. ® Check out this 'song' about Intel's chip shortage (requires RealPlayer)

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