Intel is having trouble meeting orders for its 266MHz and 300MHz Pentium II processors, which are used to power commercial and business desktop PCs, a company spokesman confirmed last week.
A spokesperson for Intel said it expects to catch up with the demand by late September or early October, and an industry analyst said the shortage is likely to have little or no impact on the price and availability of PCs for end users.
The company is in the process of winding down an older manufacturing technology that it uses to make the 266MHz and 300MHz chips, which are at the slower end of the Pentium II speed range. It is said to be "transitioning to a new manufacturing technology while at the same time trying to hit the moving target of OEM demand". This is a delicate process, and the company underestimated how many of the chips it would need to meet the additional orders, the spokesperson said.
And in what has been described as a "critical shortage" of Socket 7 compatible CPUs could mean a mini-bonanza for anyone able to supply the so-called dead market.
Kerry Hudson, who handles CPU sales for authorised AMD distributor Avnet Pacific, told ARN that she is currently holding back orders for 6000 units for Australian assemblers. "Many of them are assemblers that were formerly using Intel, and are unwilling to use low-end slot 1," she said.
One component trader described the shortage of CPUs like AMD K6 233 and 266MHz as desperate.