20th > August > 2000 Archive

Compaq furious at Intel server delays

Sales representatives at the Compaq Corporation are livid with Intel for preventing sales of servers using Xeon chips from being as good as CEO Mike Capellas wants them to be. In particular, Compaq is warning its customers that availability of its four way servers has slipped seriously, due to Intel being unable to produce enough parts for the firm. According to the reliable source, there is much gnashing of teeth in Houston because Dell, up in Austin, seems to be receiving ample supplies of the offending Xeon items. Compaq's SMP boxes don't use the bog standard chipsets and components that other vendors flog. Four-way availability from Q has slipped until October, with customers being told that while the problems started with a lack of 700MHz Pentiums other difficulties have now kicked in. While Intel has done its best to turn this picture round, now other component difficulties are rubbing away at the raw wound, we understand. The ProLiant SMP servers that Compaq sells are the cream in Q's coffee, making the situation more embarrassing than otherwise, sources report. But the good old laws of supply and demand, as exemplified in Intel's least favourite PC game, Caesar III, are kicking in, adding to the shortage. The following machines appear to have little or no problem. 550MHz Xeon ProLiant 6400R, 5500s, 8500s, and 8000. However, the follow four way machines are all suffering shortages, with some not being avalable until October, at the earliest. The ProLiant 5500, the ML570, the ProLiant 6400R, and the DL580, are all suffering, but, more seriously, the ProLiant 8500 and the ProLiant 8000 -- both eight way servers, have no delivery date in sight. Other Compaq boxes are also in short supply. Capellas is screaming at Intel. If we hear Intel screaming back, then we know we're in for a great fight. ®
Mike Magee, 20 Aug 2000

Rambus prices drop like pants

Rambus RIMMs are continuing to drop in price as Intel moves closer to the fateful day when its Pentium 4 "Willamette" processor starts edging out of the fabs. Figures from a number of online sources confirm the onward trend of the price cuts downwards, with for example, the lowest end use price for a PC800 128MB RIMM costing $259. Similar RIMMs from 12 other vendors have prices in between $260 and $300. The delta, once of Gangetic proportions, between equivalent PC-133 synchronous memory modules varies from between 24 to 53 per cent, thus raising the real expectation that in a month or two, the choice will begin to depend upon the reality behind the benchmarketing and marchitecture hype everyone has experienced over the last 12 months.. Nevertheless, there still appears to be very little demand from either Taiwanese mobo makers or consumers for machines using the i820 "Caminogate" chipset. At the Computex trade fair in Computex last June, most of the third party motherboard makers seemed to have become dispirited about i820 or i820e solutions. It is still unclear when Willamettes will become generally available, but if they start to appear in vendors' solutions late September, early October, the Pentium 4 will require Rambus RIMMs for around six to nine months. Intel's SDRAM or DDR solution for the Pentium 4 is unlikely to start appearing in volume until the second half of next year. The price in RIMMs is all very well and good, but several sites, including EE Times, are suggesting that there is a shortage of Rambus parts. Caesar III rules mean that if there is a shortage, and there is a demand, prices generally rise. ®
Mike Magee, 20 Aug 2000