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P4 shortages cause Athlon XP drought

It's hell out there

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The serious shortage of Intel P4s has led system builders to chase extra Athlon XPs to keep assembly lines running.

Every major UK system builder is saying the situation is very serious - for every other PC manufacturer except themselves. We've heard reports that several companies have been on line stop this week - which means they've had to shut down production becasue there's no processors to be had.

Intel has confirmed its 478-pin Pentium 4 shortage problem in a memo to distributors, and printed here on the Inquirer site. It says that while overall supply is healthy, 478-pin P4s would be in short supply during October. It attributed this to heavy demand and recommended system builders to use 423-pin chips instead for now. It also mentions that both 423-pin and 478-pin P4 2GHz chips would be in short supply throughout Q4.

In turn AMD has admitted to very brisk business and the appearance of some major players, who usually concentrate on building Intel boxes, asking for Athlons.

Distributor Avnet has said AMD's Athlon 1500+ XP and Intel's Pentium 4 1.5GHz chips were in high demand. A spokesperson from the company says the market has rebounded tremendously in the past few weeks, leading to the supply issues from both competing vendors.

The drought has seen the laws of supply and demand are kicking in on the grey market. 1.7GHz Pentium 4s have increased in price by £20 to £190 at some places over the last two weeks.

Express Hardware, a components reseller, commented this week that it was completely unable to get hold of any 1.5GHz chips at the moment and was experiencing difficulty with other P4 lines as well. It was able to get the same 1.5GHz chips "a few days ago for about £107 ... now there is absolutely nothing," says a source in the company. Another reseller, Computer Junkies, says it has been told that chips are scarce due to excessive demand.

Conversely, Tiny Computers repeated its message that it was having no issues with supply of the chips. The company's MD, Andrew Walwyn, in an interview this week, said "no red flags had come up regarding supply shortages for getting PCs to customers on time". But Tiny ditched using AMD chips in a high profile coup for Intel, so perhaps Chipzilla wouldn't dare let Tiny down on supply.

Last week, Realtime Distribution added that some of its customers were cutting back on motherboard, graphics card and hard drive orders to bring those items in line with available chip supply.

The official line coming from Intel is that the company recently moved over from producing more Pentium 4s than Pentium IIIs and is ramping up production to meet market demands. ®

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