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Overall market situation shows a general increase of the demand for most popular items. Purchasing activity is a little bit on the conservative side because of the weakness of the Euro against the dollar, and many operators do prefer a day by day purchasing activity, waiting for better times before seriously building up their inventories, writes Marco Fumagalli.

This week also we've seen a sharp increase in prices of Creative Labs OEM items, such as 52x CD-ROMs and SoundBlaster Sound Cards. There are rumours circulating that Creative Labs sacked distribution contracts to two major European distributors, so that quantity available in the channel should be much lower now and spot prices are rising. At press time, this could not be confirmed with the company.

Memory

The week started with a sharp increase of available volumes of second tier/OEM brand DIMM modules, which soon led to a sudden decrease in prices.

We can report that now most of the quotations are $56/57 for 64Mb PC-133 DIMMs and $113/115 for 128Mb PC-133 DIMM. Major brands followed shortly with 64Mb PC-133 falling from $64/65 to $59/60 per unit.

We've heard reports from a couple of memory integrators that traded volumes are much lower now in comparison to the same period last year, when prices were already rocketing.

CPUs

Prices for Intel CPUs are still softening with an increase of surplus options from different sources. The Pentium III 733 is now quoted below the $180 mark and for big volumes many good opportunities are available. There's only a small difference (just one or two dollars per unit) between the PIII-733, the PIII-667 and the PIII-700. There is no sign of Intel's 1GHz Pentium III.

Celerons in the market are in tight supply and spot prices are higher than official Intel prices, as it seems that there is limited availability in the distribution channel.

AMD's transition to the socket A platform is smooth and most of the speeds are available in good quantities. We've also seen offers for Athlon K7 1.1GB, priced around $680, while the K7 1Gb is now quoted at around $450/460.

Marco Fumagalli can be reached here. ®

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