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A report in a Taiwanese news-paper claims short-supply of entry-level Intel Pentium 4 microprocessors amid higher than expected demand for such chips. With the Pentium 4 SSE3 chip supposed to be the fastest ramping processor in Intel’s history, the problem with shortages of lower-end Pentium 4 CPUs may worsen.

According to DigiTimes, there is tight-supply for lower-end Pentium 4 processors featuring 400MHz and 533MHz Quad Pumped Bus in retail market. DigiTimes is based in Taiwan and it is not quite clear, whether there is a shortage only in Asia, or all around the world.

Currently Intel’s least expensive Pentium 4 processor is the chip clocked at 2.40GHz with 533MHz Quad Pumped Bus officially quoted at $163. Even though Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker do not usually offer Pentium products at below $163 point, some clients may receive processors at below the mentioned clock-rate at more affordable price-point to support sales of reasonably priced Pentium systems.

Scarcity of entry-level Pentium 4 chips may be an alarming sign for mainboard makers and distributors, who have substantial stock of SKUs supporting only 400MHz and 533MHz processor system bus. Though, to continue supporting such product lines Intel will continue to offer Intel Celeron processors with 400MHz bus and 533MHz bus as well as Pentium 4 SSE3 processor 2.80GHz with 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz QPB, but without the Hyper-Threading technology.

Intel recently projected in its plans that in the first quarter 2004 there would be about 25% of Prescott in the Pentium 4 product mix, while in the Q2 2004 Intel projected to supply 70% of Pentium processors based on the Prescott core. For Value desktop computers Intel will supply 5% of Prescott-Celeron chips in the first quarter and roughly 40% in the second quarter 2004.

With the introduction of Intel Prescott processors, there will probably be a decrease in pricing of entry-level Pentium 4 SKUs with 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus.

Intel officials did not comment on the report.

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