PC Briefs: Earthquake, Pentium, Chip sales

PC Briefs: Earthquake, Pentium, Chip sales

Earthquake disrupts wafer manufacturing

The earthquake that rocked Taiwan last week also disrupted semiconductor manufacturing. In Hsinchu, some operations were temporarily shut down although no serious damage was reported. "Fortunately we know that there is no severe damage to the entire Hsinchu area," said JH Tzeng, a spokesman for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. "We lost between one half day and one day of wafer movement," Tzeng said, saying the halt in production would affect the company's second-quarter earnings. An earthquake in June last year disrupted operations at the numerous semiconductor plants in the area and in September 1999 significant damage was caused to plants when a major earthquake hit Taiwan.

New P4 debuts early

A new Pentium 4 processor running at 2.4GHz, which was already being sold in the component shops of Tokyo's Akihabara district, was launched last week by Intel. Intel announced the 2.4GHz processor, with 512KB level-two cache, is available now and priced at $562 in 1,000-unit quantities. The chipmaker is also shipping boxed Intel Pentium 4 processors up to 2.4GHz to Intel-authorised distributors for systems integrators worldwide. Intel is now building the Pentium 4 processor on 300mm wafers and has begun production with a 10 per cent smaller die area, a combination which will lower costs and raise output.

Feb chip sales positive

Although worldwide semiconductor sales in February were almost the same as in January at $US10.01 billion, signs are pointing towards a recovery in the second half of the year, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported last month. SIA president George Scalise said that consumer spending rather than business investment was the driver behind semiconductor sales in February. SIA reported strong sales of mobile phones, DVDs, and digital cameras. Replenishing of inventory by electronics distributors also picked up.

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