Intel has been accused of attempting to force manufacturers into buying Intel-only components for systems based on its next generation processor, generating fears of price rises.
When Klamath ships next year, OEMs will be forced to buy the associated processor card as well as L2 cache SRAMs from Intel, claim sources.
Klamath, the MMX version of the Pentium Pro, sits on a processor card which slots into the motherboard. Processors are usually fitted on the motherboard itself.
The processor card will also house the L2 cache, according to sources.
The cache is also normally mounted on the motherboard. It is claimed that by adopting this design, Intel is effectively preventing OEMS from buying the processor card and L2 cache SRAM from companies other than itself.
Roy Taylor, a partner at Vanguard Micro-electronics, a memory chip manufacturer, said: "For the three or four companies Intel has chosen to supply it with memory, the future will be stronger. But the others will either go out of business or will have to quickly change their strategy to survive."
According to one OEM customer, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution from Intel: "Intel will not be allowing companies like ours to buy cache from any source other than Intel."
Another OEM, who also requested anonymity, criticised the move and called for the industry to "unite and reject Intel's bullying tactics".
Vanguard's Taylor is concerned that Intel is gaining too much control in the PC assembly business. "It started with the chipsets, then the motherboards and now the cache."
Taylor fears the price of SRAM will soar as a result of Intel's actions, with prices starting to rise from late next year. He wants Intel to leave the cache on the motherboard, allowing OEMs to choose their supplier.
He said: "In the interests of the industry, Intel should make the Klamath (implementation) open. I'd like to see the L2 cache go back on the motherboard - that way everyone gets a chance."
If Intel was a gas board or a telecoms operator there would be outrage.
As Taylor has correctly pointed out, Intel began its move into the parts business some years ago when it began making chipsets and motherboards.
The industry is well aware that favoured customers such as Gateway and Compaq are able to get hold of these "Intel designs" before the competition, thus gaining an advantage. But most worrying for users is the prospect of increases in the prices of SRAM.
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