Shortages of Pentium processors in the market indicate the end of the chip?s life as Intel moves major manufacturers to the Pro in 1997. But the gap left by the disappearance of the Pentium will be exploited by clone makers.
The rush by manufacturers to switch from the Pentium platform has created a shortage of the 200MHz Pro at Intel fabrication plants around the world, an Intel US official confirmed last week. A representative at Intel UK said: "The Pentium Pro is on the desktop. We are committed to the Pentium with our MMX extensions and the Klamath architecture."
Intel?s plans to phase out the Pentium and position the Pro as the entry level chip are likely to coincide with the introduction of its proprietary Klamath card design in the first quarter of 1997, while the company is also set to introduce a 32-processor card, codenamed Deschutes, in the next six months.
Hans Sparkes, product marketing manager at Mitsubishi Electric PC Division, said his company will move its entire product range to the Pro platform in 1997.
"From the server point of view we?ve had Pro on our midrange machines and at the high end for a little while," he said. "I can foresee we?ll have Pro across the whole range next year. We?re pushing very hard down the Pro route and run stable operating systems. As soon as they?re available in quality and quantity, we?ll move to them."
Intel?s move away from Pentium processors is part of AMD?s strategy, said Richard Baker, European marketing director, who confirmed that his company was mopping up shortages. He said AMD will produce its version of a 166MHz chip before schedule. Major OEMs for the products include Acer, Digital and Tulip, he said.
The long-delayed K6 was on schedule with samples already out, said Baker. The company is now designing the processor to include Klamath-like features. But the proprietary board design of Klamath will cause a problem for major corporations next year, he claimed.
Meanwhile, IBM Microelectronics is set to drop the price of its clone processors on 1 November, further undermining its partner Cyrix? bid to capture the market in the last quarter.
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