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Pentium IIIs in short supply, Intel confirms

Computer makers have had a hard time getting the new chips for the past few weeks, but Intel says it is still on track to ship "millions" of them this quarter.

Intel confirmed that supplies of new Pentium III chips have been limited, but the chip giant said it is taking steps to meet demand.

As first reported by CNET News.com, computer makers have had a hard time getting Pentium IIIs for the past few weeks, but Intel said today it is still on track to ship "millions" of its newest chips this quarter.

"PC demand is very strong, and what we are doing is working to ramp up production to meet orders over and above what we've already committed to for the quarter," said Michael Sullivan, an Intel spokesman.

Supplies remain tight across all PC processor lines--not just the newest Pentium IIIs launched in October--and supplies of chipsets are tight, too, Sullivan said.

PC demand has exceeded expectations, he said, leading to an inability to fill all the orders beyond what the company's original commitments were.

That demand is better than hoped for may not appease PC makers, which have been waiting longer than expected for new chipsets from Intel that would allow them to ship expensive--and more profitable--workstations based on next-generation Rambus memory.

New Pentium III systems with Rambus memory were finally introduced this week at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas after a number of technical glitches delayed their introduction.

IBM was among those offering new systems with processors running as fast as 733 MHz

"The 733s are delivering, and they are very tight," said IBM workstation worldwide product brand manager Doug Oathout in an interview earlier this week, though he expects the supply to loosen soon.

Sullivan said there were no issues with the production of the new chips that are being made on the advanced .18 micron process, which were formerly known by the code name Coppermine. Intel will ship "millions" of the new chips built with this technology during the quarter, and a fifth fabrication facility is scheduled to start producing Coppermine chips during the first calendar quarter of 2000, he said.

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