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Disaster hits Intel Coppermine supply

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PC manufacturers and distributors have learned from Intel that there will be a massive shortage of Coppermine processors until June. The problem is at its acutest on the Pentium III desktop range, but is particularly bad for chips running at speeds over 700MHz, sources says. However, The Register understands that Dell, a premier customer, will continue to receive ample supplies of microprocessors, while other firms will have to make do with what they get. A combination of yield and packaging issues is to blame for the latest shortfall. One packaging supplier has cut back its commitment to supply Intel to less than 50 per cent than it promised. The yield problem, we understand, is due to technical difficulties with Intel's flip-chip packaging. An Intel spokesperson declined to comment on the problem, saying that the firm did not discuss relationships between it and its customers. However, she added: "The 0.18 micron technology continues to be the fastest ramp we've had." This chip drought is the latest in a long litany of supply problems since Intel announced the Coppermine processors on 25 October 1999. Just one day after the high-profile launch, Intel notified customers of shortage on a number of products. This shortage lasted for several months. Intel then started to move its manufacturing process from Slot One (SECC2) technology to flip chip packaging, meaning a temporary shortage of motherboards to take the products.®

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