The bandwagon will roll once again as PC vendors broaden their product offerings following Intel's introduction of a 450MHz Pentium II CPU and new versions of the Celeron chip.
"Whenever Intel introduces a new CPU, most major OEMs expand their product lines," said Jamelah MacLean, a research associate at Piper Jaffray, in the US.
When new products are introduced, build-to-order vendors have an advantage over PC suppliers that sell through channels, said MacLean. Because they do not carry a large inventory of finished PCs, build-to-order PC makers can change to faster processors more quickly.
"It's easier for a direct vendor to capitalise on these transitions," MacLean said.
Just about every PC supplier - whether direct or channel-oriented - will offer 450MHz versions of their mainstream PCs, along with 300 and 333MHz systems built around the new Mendocino version of the Celeron CPU. The sole holdout is Compaq Computer, which will hold off on new offerings for a couple of weeks.
"We had a lot of customer feedback last April when Intel announced the 350 and 400MHz Pentium II and companies weren't able to ship immediately," said Michael Takemura, a product manager at Compaq, in Houston.
Rather than risk the ire of IT managers this time around, Takemura said the company has a 450MHz Pentium II road map in place but will refrain from announcing part numbers and prices so it can ship on the day of the announcement.