Athlon 64 supply to be limited until 2004 – report

Not turning on the tap until 64-bit WinXP ships?

AMD Athlon 64 processors are going to be hard to come by in the months following the chips launch on 23 September.

So claim unnamed Taiwanese mobo-maker sources cited by a DigiTimes story on chipsets today. Said sources claim the chip will be made available in limited quantities but should enter volume production early next year.

The report contradicts earlier claims that some Athlon 64 parts would start rolling off AMD production lines this month. If the sources' allegations are accurate, then it would seem that AMD has been forced to put back volume output. Samples of the chip have been available for some time.

We have to say, the news sounds worse than it is. It all depends on just how limited those limited quantities will be. Enough to supply the AMD fanboys, we'd reckon, but more mainstream buyers will prefer to wait until Q1 2004 to buy an Athlon 64-based box because the final version of Microsoft's AMD64-compatible 64-bit Windows XP won't ship until then.

Privately, AMD has always said that it can't release Athlon 64 until Windows support is in place. The September release marks the earliest it can do so and is timed to tie in broadly with the official 64-bit WinXP beta release. Microsoft is offering pre-beta versions already.

AMD internal roadmaps and other sources have confirmed an end of 2003/early 2004 release for the 64-bit Windows XP golden master. Until then, Athlon 64 users wanting to run Windows have only the beta (if they can lay their hands on it) or the 32-bit edition. ®