Supplies of Intel, AMD chips improving
But smaller guys still getting rough deal
Shortages of both Athlon and Coppermine Pentium III processors are decreasing, according to PC vendors close to the companies' plans. But there is still lack of supply on some parts, while smaller system integrators are likely to suffer the most across all processor speed ranges. Supplies of Intel Celerons at 500MHz and 600MHz processors are still constrained, according to one major PC vendor, but Pentium III 600MHz and 733MHz Coppermines are now widely available, the firm said. It is a different situation for AMD's Athlon microprocessor. At speeds below 750MHz, there is a shortage and this is caused both by large tier one PC vendors selling more machines using this chip, and also the current move by the firm to the Duron and Thunderbird platforms. However, there is plentiful supply for Athlons at clock speeds of between 800MHz and 950MHz. The lion's share of 1GHz Athlons is still being shipped to Gateway, according to the source. Smaller system builders are having a tougher time. One Canadian reseller told The Register today that his distributor is unable to get adequate supplies of either Pentium IIIs or AMD Athlons. He said: "I am stocking up on Athlons with all my extra cash so I can sell a few computers in the next two months." He added that another distributor had told him that both Intel and AMD were short of raw materials to make chips. He presumed that didn't mean sand. "If I put all this together, I predict CPU's will be rare and expensive until at least July and memory prices will fall because of this." A look at our UK barometer components site, SMC Direct, reveals that the situation on Coppermines has eased a little, with 800MHz and 850MHz now available, while lead times for other parts are now as short as two days, or are in stock. No 1GHz Coppermine is listed. The same site shows availability is still good for Athlon parts, apart from the 1GHz chip. Supplies of boxed processors, however, is a different story. As we reported last week, Intel has told its resellers that widespread availability of these parts is not expected until the third quarter of this year.